Monday, March 11, 2013

Anxiety and slowing down


Sam enjoys slowing down a bit by lying in her new bed.

It’s possible to find a lesson in any situation, and the situation with my broken foot is providing plenty of lessons. One of them is the importance of slowing down.

There are 14 steps up the front of my office building. There’s a ramp in back, but it’s a long one, and it takes me seemingly forever to go up it using crutches. I’ve got my protective, giant boot on. So I’m taking the steps.
The steps seem too narrow to properly use the crutches, so I hold on to the railing and start up. My husband comes behind me, carrying my purse, camera bag and crutches.
“Take one step at a time,” he says. “That way, you’re not putting all your weight on your bad foot.”
Oh, one step at a time. One step at a time? That will take forever.
But I do it. Good foot up, bad foot up. Next step: good foot up, bad foot up. All the way to the top.

***

I sit watching TV in the den with Larry. Commercial time. I get up and check something on the computer.
Back to the den. I watch the show. Then I think about a soda.
I get up again and hobble into the kitchen.
Back to the den. Commercial time. I get up and go to the bedroom and put on my sweatpants.
Back to the den.

***

I’m showered, dressed and booted. I sit in the recliner, foot up, to wait for Larry to finish getting ready to go out to lunch.
I lean back. I lean forward, looking for the newspaper.
No, I’ll just sit here.
I lean back.
I lean forward, reaching for the TV remote.
No, I’ll just sit here.
I’ll sit here and breathe. And listen to the tick of the clock.

***

I’m not a high-energy person. But I do tend to walk fast. In fact, I hate moving slowly. I feel like I’m wasting time.
Being in a boot and on crutches has slowed me way down. I can’t run up the steps. I can’t hurry down the hall. It’s a big change.
And one thing I didn’t realize about myself was how much I moved around. I may be at home watching something on TV, but I’m up at every commercial, sometimes before the commercial, going into other parts of the house, doing this, doing that.
Even when I’m sitting reading, I get up often to get something to drink, see what’s going on in the rest of the house, get on the computer or do some other activity.
Just sitting is hard for me. I think anxiety plays into that.
But it’s become more necessary to be still. If I move around, I need to use the crutches. And if I don’t make time for the crutches, I’m putting more pressure on the healing bone.
So I’m staying in one place for longer periods of time. I’m still moving around, but I’m trying to be OK with sitting for a little while without having to get up.

And that sums up what I’m doing: trying to be OK with being slower.

There are good things about being slower:

*I’m relaxing a bit more.
*I’m able to stay in the moment longer.
*My attention feels less scattered.

Do you ever feel the need to slow down your life? What benefits have you experienced from slowing down?

32 comments:

  1. benefits from slowing down... less stress, breathe better, thoughts don't jump around, am able to just.

    drawbacks from slowing down... when I'm running around constantly doing things it's much easier to not hear the negative thoughts of depression, and don't get the "high" from seemingly able to accomplish so much.

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    1. ooops - am able to just relax.

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    2. You make some good points--sometimes NOT slowing down can help us ignore the racing or intrusive thoughts. I think I'd still rather be less stressed and work on mindfulness, but it's not easy!

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  2. "There are good things about being slower" it sounds like we are a lot alike I find it very hard to sit and just do nothing I know my anxiety kicks in at those times. My Hero notices more than I do, Larry sounds like he understands.
    You are doing great and I love that line. Keep up the taking care of your foot thing:) B

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    1. Thank you, Buttons. Larry is very understanding, and he notices, too, when I get too anxious. I really do want to become more comfortable with just being.

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  3. Sam is adorable!! Yes I do often feel the need to slow down. I usually try to have a slow day every once in a while where I can just relax.

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    1. Thank you, Sam is our baby girl! :-) That's a good way to slow down--to schedule some time to do it.

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  4. Oh me too! It's hard for me to sit. I always see something that needs doing and get up. But the good thing is, it makes for a productive life.

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    1. Lisa, I am amazed at how much you accomplish! I am working on finding a balance that works for me.

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  5. You sure do sound incredibly busy, even when you're not "busy". I like what you're trying to do - slow down and be okay with it. I'm sure you'll get there.

    By the way, Sam is absolutely adorable!

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. Being forced to slow down is giving me an opportunity to work on being OK with it.

      Sam is enjoying her new bed that Larry got for her last week! :-)

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  6. Your post is timely as I face another busy week with a long to-do list. Today I am really working on taking my time, focusing on one task at a time, and breathing. I am examining all my commitments to determine if I need to offload something or move some tasks to different days.

    For many years I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and my body simply wouldn't allow me to overdo. These days, I feel great, but I know that at any time, the disease could come back, so it's essential that I pace myself. No easy task!

    Thanks for setting the example for the rest of us!

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    1. Thank you, Nadine. I think you're setting a fine example for us! You are acting with care and wisdom, and you're an inspiration!

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  7. You know Tina, it is so cool that you are taking a setback and turning into a learning experience. Sometimes life forces us to slow down and we don't listen which gets us into further trouble and we wonder why. I am super proud of you.
    I have slowed down a lot in the past few years. Some of it has to do with not working as I feel I have more time to get to get stuff done so why rush to do everything at once. Some of it has to do with a health crisis I suffered that taught me to stop and smell the roses. :) From high school on I always chose responsibility over fun. I was such a perfectionist. I still fall prey to over-responsibility but I choose fun more often now and I realize how important it is to take time out to read, take a nap or relax. I bet Larry would even make you a cup of tea and bring it to you!!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Krystal Lynn. I'm glad that you've been able to choose fun more often. I tend to be hyper responsible, too, and feel guilty if I feel like I'm "slacking off." But I'm working on it.

      If not a cup of tea, I'll ask Larry to bring me a Diet Pepsi! :-)

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  8. Great post, Tina, and I'm glad you are embracing having to slow down instead of fighting it. I'm not good at relaxing either, but it really is so important to just stop every so often. I know it's hard for my son, as he always likes to keep super busy because his OCD is better when he is on the go...I guess everyone has to figure out what works for themselves.

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    1. Thanks, Janet. It's a fine balance, and it's not easy for me to figure it out! It's not always clear to me when it's OK to just be and when I need to do something. It's a work in progress!

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  9. I'm glad for the times you actually get to relax. I hope your anxiety continues to go down.

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    1. Abigail, Thank you. The anxiety is getting better, and I'm grateful for that.

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  10. What a great post, Tina! I am so glad that you are learning to take things more slowly. When I feel stressed and in a rush I think of nature. God made the birds and everything else...yet we never see the animals rushing, but things still get done! One foot at a time, one day at a time. Your cat is really sweet, I love the photo! Take care of yourself and enjoy the time you have. God bless you.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. You are so right. The animals don't rush around, being busy for the sake of being busy. Nature is indeed a comfort.

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  11. Tina,
    Your writing is really good. I have caught up on your latest posts. Guess it makes sense with being an English teacher - it really shows! I hope your foot gets better really soon.

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    1. Thank you, Patty, I appreciate your kind words. :-)

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  12. Poor Tina!

    I also have too much nervous energy to sit without getting up often. I am always up and down when I'm supposed to be "relaxing."

    It must be quite a struggle for you to have to slow down and depend so much on Larry to drive you and help you get all your bits and pieces in to work. I'm glad he helps you as I'm sure you are but I know it must be hard.

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. It's a hard adjustment, but I'm adjusting, bit by bit!

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  13. What a terrific challenge! I wish it happened to all of all. A lesson we all need. Last week I had the flu, I had to cancel everything. My kids never saw me so sick and unable to get out of bed. I think we need these humbling experiences to teach us what is important!
    We have to remind ourselves that rest is productive.

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    1. Thanks, Jodi. You make some great points. Our bodies have to let us know sometimes that it's time to rest. I hope you are feeling better!

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  14. This is a really cool thing to think about. I really need to slow myself down. Thanks for the reminder!

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Gina. I think we all need to slow down sometimes. It's just hard to do sometimes!

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  15. Loved your description of sitting down...and getting up. I wrote last summer about trying to just sit in my back yard and relax without doing anything. My mind could relax about 5 seconds before thinking of something I wanted/needed to get up to do. It's not easy to take it easy!

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    1. Thanks, Galen. Yes, I last about 5 seconds, too!

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  16. Wow. isn't it something that when we really think we might not be the most energetic person on earth, we find out just how busy we are keeping ourselves after all, lol!

    I hope your foot gets better and better with each day!!
    God Bless you:)

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