We All Need to Be Cared For

https://unsplash.com/@priscilladupreez

No matter how old we are or how independent and capable we may be, we all need someone to be there for us. Sure, there are people who protest and say they don’t need anyone and that they’re “OK” on their own, but the reality is none of us is an island.

We all crave human touch, companionship, love, passion and connection. Without it, let’s admit it: we would be pretty boring people. It’s why people take so much time and effort to pursue love, romance, sex and friendship. If it wasn’t so intoxicating, amazing and transformative, nobody would be running after it, writing songs about it, or discussing it in detail with their friends.

When we don’t feel cared for, we are often at our worst. We feel anxious, unsure and misunderstood. We feel alone, powerless and intimidated. These feelings stem into depression or general anxiety. It bleeds into our everyday lives. Not having that connection can feel like you’re on an island or swimming in a turbulent ocean with the undertow taking you further and further away from the rest of the world. This isn’t to say that we need someone else’s care and love in order to be successful and happy, but that with love and available people in our lives, we become the best versions of ourselves. Because when we have people who do not care for us or treat us well, it does dim our light. This is why it is so crucial that we care for others and that we allow ourselves to be cared for and in return, that we give love back.
Having that love is like having a homebase: without a homebase, you will feel adrift, anxious and uncertain. This is the place where we feel our least “best.” It affects our mental health and wellness. But when we have that homebase— that love and care in our lives, we grow long, strong roots and reach out towards the sky with all the potential that is in us. This is what helps us grow and shapes our self-view and stability for the days to come.

Love Others and Yourself,

Laura

6 Tips to Help You—and Your Family—Sleep Better During the Pandemic

Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

If your family’s sleep habits have been out of whack since the COVID-19 pandemic began, you’re not alone. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the stress brought on by an infectious disease outbreak can lead to changes in sleep patterns, difficulty sleeping, and worsening of mental health conditions.

As a single mom, I can tell you first-hand that getting a good night’s sleep has been a real challenge for me these last seven months. There were many times I’d wake up in the middle of the night with worry and then struggle to get back to sleep. (Thankfully, my daughter’s sleep has remained mostly stable, with a few nights here and there of tossing and turning due to anxiety.)

Read More: 6 Tips to Help You—and Your Family—Sleep Better During the Pandemic

Peaceful Slumber,

Laura

Under the Knife: Dealing With Medical Anxiety

https://unsplash.com/@hush52

As a kid, I had no fear of doctors or dentists. I had Lymes Disease as a teen, and I barely fussed when they came to my house to put in a PICC line. My dad on the other hand, almost fainted.
When I had to go for an MRI to check for a potential brain tumor, I thought it was too enclosed, but I dealt with it and wasn’t nervous about the tests.
Boy, have times changed me!

i’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I would say my anxiety towards medicine, doctors and being sick really started when I was pregnant and had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Things started happening to me that I had never experienced. I’ve never been in a hospital so much in my life until that time. A few years prior, someone in my family had gotten really sick. A few years prior to even that, another family member had quite a few major surgeries and Cancer. I think as we get older, it’s more likely that we will deal with illness and health issues. My experience with Lymes taught me that I had some drug allergies, but I rarely complained. I got blood work constantly and I wasn’t anxious, but did want to get better.

Now as an adult and single mom, I’ve learned I have many allergies to medications and I really get anxious when it comes to medical situations. I think getting a divorce and becoming a single parent through the years also heightened my level of anxiety: I must be ok so I can be here for my daughter.

I’ve learned a few things though to help manage these fears, and it’s a work in progress always:

1. Don’t Google Your Symptoms.

2. Meditation Helps You Manage Anxiety.


3. Taking Charge of Your Health Through Diet and Exercise Helps.

4. Find a Friend Who Understands Your Anxiety as a Support.

5. Don’t Google Your Symptoms.

Those five things definitely help me! Not to mention realizing I can only control so much. Diet, exercise, fresh air, supplements, and rest are also key tools to keep me in as control of my health as possible.

So, today when I learned I might need to have something cut open on me— nothing major— I felt anxious. But not like I normally would. Sure, my stomach is grumbly. Sure, I’m worrying about it a bit more than I’d like, but it’s not overtaking me. I am doing what I can to avoid having to do that, and in the meantime, I have as much of a plan as I can. I called a supportive person and that helped also.

The moral of this anxious story? When it comes to anxiety, it’s important to understand what may have triggered your anxiety or reasons for having it. For me, a rough pregnancy and becoming a single parent definitely contributed to my anxious feelings over medical situations. Knowing this and realizing that I tend to worry over these things has allowed me to help take control over my fears and refocus in a more positive way.

Breathe in and Breathe Out,

Laura

8 Ways Type A and Type B Personalities Express Anxiety Differently

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Type A, overachieving organizer or a Type B, laid back slacker — many people have to learn how to deal with anxiety. Even people you see as outgoing and “King or Queen of the World,” or those who are so laid back they couldn’t possibly stress a thing, can struggle when it comes to dealing with anxiety.

Sometimes, it’s easier to tell who’s anxious from who’s not, but an individual’s personality type can play into how anxiety presents itself to the outside world. Here are 8 unique ways in which a Type A personality and a Type B personality express anxiety differently.

Read More: 8 Ways Type A and Type B Personalities Express Anxiety Differently

Breathe Deep,

Laura

Your Anxiety Is Lying to You — Here Are Helpful Ways to Overcome It

Anxiety is a nasty devil. Anxiety will have you believing things that in no way are true and will unravel you to your last wit’s ends. Anxiety will ruin your belief in yourself and in others. Hands down, anxiety is an evil joker that will fool you and your sane brain and heart into believing myths that are just not true. Knowing that anxiety can trick you into believing falsehoods is powerful. Why? Because it then allows you to tell yourself that you cannot believe the “junk” that anxiety feeds you. And when you recognize that your anxiety is just “talking smack again,” you’ll begin to take back your life and loosen anxiety’s grip on your mind, heart, and life. Here are five things your anxiety is fooling you into believing.

1. People Don’t Like You

Your anxiety will have you believing people are talking about you, thinking poorly about you, or in general don’t like you. This is not the same as paranoia. Anxiety is different. Your anxiety will misinterpret things people say or do and have you thinking that, perhaps, a person doesn’t like you or is disappointed in you. Sure, sometimes someone might not like you . . . or your anxiety could have you misinterpreting social cues or panicking for no reason.

When this happens, breathe deeply and ask yourself these questions:

Read More: Your Anxiety Is Lying to You — Here Are Helpful Ways to Overcome It

Don’t Believe The BS,

Laura

If You’re Stuck in a Cycle of Panic Attacks, Here’s What to Do ASAP

If you have ever had one panic attack, you already know it’s not fun but if you have ever had a cycle of attacks . . . ugh.

It’s absolutely horrifying and debilitating. Going through one attack will leave you fatigued, but if you experience a cycle of attacks that come either within the same day or same week, you know how frightening and upsetting it can be.

A year and a half ago, I experienced a cycle of panic attacks within a week. They came day after day . . . after day. I had never had a panic attack before that instance and since then, have not had any in a year.

The cycle of attacks came while I was driving, of all things. I would begin to get hot shortly after I got in the car and then hotter and hotter until my stomach dropped, chest hurt, heart raced, nondriving leg grew numb, and my throat felt like it was going to close. I couldn’t understand why it was happening when I was driving, until I realized that that’s when my mind went on autopilot and stopped worrying about my stressors (a divorce and finances) and could focus on taking my daily commute.

If you have experienced a cycle of attacks and don’t know how to get it to stop until randomly they disappear on their own, follow my advice to get through and stop the cycle as quickly as you can.

Read More: If You’re Stuck in a Cycle of Panic Attacks, Here’s What to Do ASAP

It Will End,

Laura

How Anxiety Is Actually Like a Real Prison

You may be the boss of you as an adult, but when you have anxiety, it can feel as if you are never in charge. There may seem to always be something hovering over you and stealing the wheel from your hands when you least expect it. In so many ways, anxiety can operate like a prison. It’s a sentence that you didn’t ask to serve or do anything to bring it on — most likely anxiety was handed to you by genetics or a traumatic situation — but it’s one that many people deal with, whether as a short-term sentence or a life-behind-bars type of scenario. It took separating from a former partner for me to understand how it had affected me.

And it wasn’t just my anxiety that reared now and again (an occasional sentence? community service?) that hurt my progress emotionally, but it was being romantically involved with someone who held it against me, hovering over my head, trying to make me feel bad about myself. Using it as a weapon for control.

It made the anxiety worse, not better, and in that case, there were two prison guards and one operated more covertly than the other (the former partner, not the anxiety). As I walked away from the situation, I started to see the writing on the wall.

I realized I was worth something and that while I can be anxious, anxiety does not rule and will NOT rule me.

Read More: How Anxiety Is Actually Like a Real Prison

Set Yourself Free,

Laura

7 Things I Don’t Want You to Say When I’m Feeling Anxious

People mean well and want to help, but when someone is experiencing anxiety or feeling nervous, the last thing we need is more useless cliches that don’t help us one bit. It’s hard to understand anxiety unless you have experienced it. Most people have felt anxious in their lifetimes, but if you’ve ever experienced the glory of a panic attack or been so anxious you felt sick, you know why I see red when people say, “Just relax.”

Newsflash, Einstein: if we could just relax, we would.

This of course doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to manage your anxiety. When I am feeling anxious, exercise, deep breathing, stretching, and time with friends help me feel better. Sometimes it also means shutting down my cell phone and not bothering with anyone, minus my daughter.

But when someone tries to give you unhelpful advice about anxiety for the 50th time, it’s enough to make you want to check out of dodge for the weekend.

1. “Just Relax”

Look, do you have a magic wand to erase this feeling of dread? If you did, you would use it and if Idid, so would I. Telling me to “just relax” is not helpful.

Read More: 7 Things I Don’t Want You to Say When I’m Feeling Anxious

SSH,

Laura

7 Signs You’re WAY Too Freakin’ Hard On Yourself

Be nice to yourself. You’re doing better than you think you are.

We are our own worst critics, but some of us have a literal scoreboard in our head that’s constantly giving us the “thumbs down.” It’s like living with a movie review team in your head. Except, unlike the famed Siskel and Ebert, the critic in your mind doesn’t have a day off or a moment of rest.

On one hand, being hard on yourself has pluses: people who don’t really care about what they say and do aren’t typically out making the world a better place. Someone who’s hard on themselves is someone who cares about their time on this planet, and that’s a good thing! Where it becomes problematic is the intense self-criticism that sucks the joy out of life and the intense “second-guessing.”

Are you too hard on yourself? Here are a few signs you need to ease up the pressure.

  1. Your accomplishments are never enough.

You got published somewhere huge. You landed the big raise. Your master’s thesis was accepted. It’s all just bliss and kittens to everyone … except you. You should have done X. You should have gotten 5K more in that raise. Did they really approve your thesis idea? Sure, but I bet they didn’t love it.

Read More: 7 Signs You’re WAY Too Freakin’ Hard On Yourself

Be Good to Yourself,

Laura

15 Quotes That PERFECTLY Sum Up What Having Anxiety Is Like

Anxiety will never enrich your life or allow you to bloom.

At every turn, anxiety is your enemy and not your friend. Anxiety doesn’t discriminate; no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation or class, anxiety kills our spirits and hearts, and worse — our health.

Make 2016 the year you say “Buh-bye!” to anxiety. You deserve it. How many more moments do you want to waste, thanks to that b*tch anxiety?

  1. Anxiety is your enemy.

Anxiety will not help you succeed, nor does anxiety nurture your spirit or care about how badly you slept or ate that day. Anxiety is a soul-sucking parasite.

Read More: 15 Quotes That PERFECTLY Sum Up What Having Anxiety Is Like

Knows Her Enemy,

Laura