For most of my adult life, I tried my best to ignore my anxiety.
Hoping it would magically go away.
I was usually able to keep my symptoms manageable, even if they never felt completely under control.
I’ve alway shoved my emotions deep down to ‘be strong’ and push forward, but my anxiety was a slowly rising tide. Day to day, I’d do my very best to keep my head above water.
Then the pandemic hit.
As the world transformed around me, I was confronted with my worst nightmare.
My anxious thoughts were overwhelming me. The constant worry about my sister and her family in California. The constant worry about my son in Colorado. The constant worry about my daughter, son-in-law and their new baby in North Carolina. The constant worry about my little humans who I coach at the office where I could no longer coach. The constant worry about my friends.
The stress about my own health because I wasn’t able to cycle with my cycling pals (cycling is my therapy for anxiety and depression), the doubt about the state of our world – my worst-case scenarios were playing out before my eyes causing me to spiral into more anxious thinking.
And worst of all? I was faced with what felt like endless time alone (my hubby was fortunate to keep working), without the distractions that used to help me through the day.
I self-medicated with a can or two of White Claw Hard Seltzer at night alongside doing my very best with self-care from time in the hot tub to long walks.
I no longer felt in control.
I couldn’t avoid the problem any longer. I needed to tackle my anxiety head one.
That’s when I discovered (okay, rediscovered) meditation. And completely changed my relationship with my anxiety.
I’d tried meditation before, but it was never a practice I was able to stick with.
My previous attempts at meditation had been frustrating. I’d find my thoughts wandering about the cancellation of many cycling races and get upset at myself.
It was difficult to know if I was doing well or if was having any impact.
With no way to tell if I was really improving, and no one to guide me through my practice, I thought meditation was just another dead end.
So I grabbed my favorite book on meditation buried underneath cycling books.
I started with a one-minute meditation of building awareness, fostering resilience, and lowering my stress.
I gently lifted my gaze with open eyes and took a moment to notice any sounds in the environment. I noticed how my body was feeling in the moment. I noticed my thoughts and my emotions.
I noticed my breath as it went it and as it went out.
Inevitably, my attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When I got around to noticing that my mind had wandered—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—I simply returned my attention to the breath.
I went away. I came back. I did my meditation as kindly as possible.
A longer practice of meditation explores posture, breathing techniques, and working with my thoughts and my emotions as they surface during mindfulness practice.
I live in Michigan, and am looking forward to attending meditation classes in person when it is safe to do so.
Until that time, I’ve really enjoyed rediscovering meditation.
If you’re ready to revolutionize your life, Bella Coaching Services offers two coaching programs, Renew You! A Life Coaching Program and Finding Calm in a Chaotic World, an anxiety coaching program for moms who want to defeat their inner critic.
Loretta Holmes, MA is the founder of Bella Coaching Services and is a certified life coach and NLP practitioner where she coaches little humans and moms who are affected my anxiety live the life they once envisioned for themselves. Loretta enjoys competing in cycling races, walking along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, and hiking with her doodles – Riley and Sweet Stella.