I’ve made no secret of my issues with anxiety. While I may not write about it as much when I’m having good swings versus when I’m in the doldrums it is still always present. Lurking under the surface of a good day/week/month just waiting to pop its ugly head out and wreak havoc on everything.
<– That photo? It’s an actual Post-It Note I have on my cubicle wall (and now on my home office wall.) It’s a reminder to stop putting things off in order to avoid dealing with them. When I “rip the band-aid off,” metaphorically speaking of course, I am telling myself to deal with whatever is in front of me right away.
I was the Queen of Procrastination. I held that title for the longest time ever and for as long as I can remember. I use this note as a reminder to JUST DO IT (to quote Nike.) Honestly my days go so much better if I just tackle the task, project, email or phone call in front of me and not put it off. The more I put it off the more I stress about it. Putting things off actually don’t help me any by not dealing with whatever it is, it makes things worse for me.
I also recently applied this Post-It Note reminder to social situations. For someone who has been in social jobs for over a decade (working in a hotel, event planning) I am NOT good when it comes to putting myself out there. Especially if I am supposed to go to something alone where I don’t know anyone I have a bad habit of canceling at the last minute to avoid going.
Last week I was invited to a Yelp Elite event at DirtyBurger. I wasn’t allowed to bring a plus one so I headed out on my own. I got to the restaurant, parked my car, got out of the car, walked up to the storefront… and then walked back to my car. I was having so much anxiety about entering this place on my own that I actually got back inside the car and sat there for awhile, contemplating just starting the car and heading home. Finally I just said to myself, “Just GO INSIDE. If you hate it and you don’t talk to anyone you can leave in 30 minutes. Rip the band-aid off!” I forced myself to walk back up to the restaurant and open the door.
And I had a good time. Granted the first 15 minutes or so were totally painful where I just kind of stood around awkwardly but then I started talking to some people, get involved in conversations and had a really good time until the end of the event. My self imposed 30 minute window came and went.
The next time I am geared up to go to an event by myself I know the same thing will happen – my anxiety will get the best of me and I will hem and haw before heading inside. But by reminding myself to rip off the band-aid, I also remind myself of all the other times where I was dreading doing something, putting it off or being completely anxious about it and pushed through and did it anyway. And so I came away with these takeaways:
Do you struggle in social situations or stress yourself out by putting things off? I’d love to hear about your experiences and how you cope.
Some other posts about my journey with anxiety: