CALM THE FUX DOWN
5 Lessons I’ve Learned to Calm the Fux Down
2015 was the year I went through my quarter-life crisis. I'm talking tear-stained pillows, night terrors and panic-inducing type shit. It's unhealthy for me to get into the details of what caused this despair, but I'll take a line from DJ Khaled and tell you that I changed… a lot. I smiled so seldomly that my colleagues started to notice. I cried so much that my best friend commuted from Harlem to Crown Heights on a Saturday just to eat pizza on my couch with me. It may sound like I'm hyperbolizing these moments, but I'm not. It's not me; it's my anxiety disorder.
Moments of distress and uncertainty hit me 10x harder than most people, which means that I have to try 10x harder to keep calm and carry on. Meditation and lavender candles help, but the keys lie within me. So in effort to share more info and get us WOC to be more mindful about our well being, here are 5 lessons that I've learned to keep my mental health in check:
Get to Know Your Triggers.
For me, anxiety is a culmination of irrational fear and distress that hits me so hard that it paralyzes me. My panic attacks feel like all of my fears and worries are ganging up on me, and I'm too choked up to run or fight back. From cats to crowded trains, I've learned that knowing and avoiding my triggers is key. Think about the day you learned that fire was hot. Would you put your hand in the flame again? Probably not. Know your triggers, and leave them alone. You will only react when there's a stimulus to react to.
Use “Do Not Disturb” to Your Advantage.
Some people take pride in multitasking, but I've learned that constantly shifting focus is unproductive and unhealthy for my mental state. My phone is on Do Not Disturb all day. I don't do it to be petty; I do it to keep my flow state great. Too many texts and notifications make me feel like the whole world needs me, and that makes me feel uneasy. It's true that certain people need to tell me they're proud of me (there really is a Drake line for everything), but it is impossible to please everyone all the time. Shit is stressful, and I don't need that. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb and go live your best life. Your problems and real friends aren’t going anywhere.
Trust Your Gut.
Dodge Those Bullets. Indecision and self-doubt are my kryptonite. Am I into him or are we just talking to pass time? Am I doing this for me or for someone else? When my mind teeters, my spirit feels unsettled, and I start to hyper fixate on past moments. As a woman, I’ve been groomed to appease people, but I had to curve that habit, because my intuition and sanity wouldn’t let me live. Intuition is one hell of a thing. It’s purely instinctive and rooted in a lack of reasoning, yet it has saved me time and time again. Trust your gut, and dodge those bullets.
An Hour a Day Keeps the Mood Swings Away.
Running a business and holding down a full-time job in Advertising means that even on my worst nights, I gotta work work work work work work. My time gets depleted with phone calls, networking events, decisions, emails, classes, spreadsheets, etc. Having too much to do has overwhelmed me to the point where I couldn’t ride the subway with a friend, because I needed to sit in solitude and reset. Fact: I can’t be around people all the time. Whether it’s watching afro funk videos on Youtube or hitting the gym, I give myself one hour per day to do whatever I want to do, and you should too. How you gonna win when you ain’t right within? 60 minutes a day will change your life.
Say What You Need to Say.
One of the four agreements is “don’t make assumptions.” Miscommunication seems to be the root of every broken relationship and trashy Vh1 reality show. Now that I’ve gotten the hang of adulting, I know that my patience wanes and my irritability kicks in when my intentions are misunderstood. So, to avoid all of those paragraphs with me in my feelings, I’ve come to grips with saying what I need to say. No more texting. It’s easy to get lost in a paper trail of harbored thoughts. Pick up the phone and call your friends. Unless the world is full of telekinetic people, no one will ever know how you feel until you tell them.
May the peace remain within in you.
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