After transitioning from blissed at the beach to stressed to the max in 3.5 seconds, I've turned my new year's intentions into anti-anxiety strategies.
Happy New Year Everyone! I’m sitting at my desk after 2.5 days of catching up on correspondence and getting organized for 2020. I’m going to get into the art studio this afternoon for the first time in about a month and I’m sooooo excited to get my hands dirty!
I have been thinking for a long time now about a series of paintings that focus on horses and ocean waves. In Greek mythology, Poseidon gifted the earth horses. They were born of the sea and when you see waves break, those are horses rearing up from the surf.
In my mind, I’ve been thinking, “2020 is the year for this project. I must find somewhere to volunteer with horses since I don’t know much about them. I must start researching their anatomy and I want to know more about how they are therapeutic for people suffering from PTSD and emotional disorders. I have to do this. I have to that….” and now the hamster in my brain has begun its first 2020 run on the wheel.
As soon as I started thinking seriously about this project, I became completely overwhelmed. To me, that means that it may not be time yet. Maybe in a month or two. Or maybe I just need not to be thinking about big projects while I’m still in the getting organized process of my January. Which leads me to question, how I can already feel crazy when it is only the 9th day of the damn year?
We got back from our vacay this past Friday. The weekend was fine. I organized the house, took down Christmas, and got the studio cleaned up from the holiday madness. I cooked food and watched football. It was nice.
Then, Sunday night, I awoke in the middle of the night, the hamster in full sprint. My brain was going crazy. I found myself worrying about revenue plans, art projects, my family’s needs, if the boy scouts were ever going to come and pick up my Christmas tree from the curb... I didn’t sleep much after that. I practiced my breathing exercises and finally got another hour or so in.
Monday, I was a bit of a mess. I felt completely stressed out. I had an appointment with my therapist and asked how it could be possible that while at the beach the week before, I was fine. I get back home, and within three days, I’m in nervous breakdown land. I mean, WTF for realz?
Just like that, I had slipped right back into worry and overwhelm. Happy new year.
My intention for 2020 is to stay positive, keep moving, and don’t be attached to outcomes.
My intention for 2020 is to stay positive, keep moving, and don’t be attached to outcomes. Since Monday, I have found myself repeating this over and over and practicing my breathing. I began to think about the horses, and frankly, they stress me out.
FYI – I’m terrified of horses. I have always been scared of them and they know it. Every horse I’ve ever ridden, with the exception of one, has taken off with me on it. They know I’m scared and thus, that they are in charge. But I digress… Back to the breath.
Within 48 hours I have made a decision. Yes, I will work towards the horse/wave project this year, but I don’t have to start RIGHT NOW. I mean, jeez girl, calm down already.
In my head, I had to have the project done like next week and of course all the marketing and sales work that go along with introducing a new series should have already been mapped out, and I don’t have my revenue plan for 2020 done yet, nor do I have my social media content thought out, and I already had to abandon a collaboration that I was supposed to have my part completed for and I had to back out, and I feel terrible for that, and I hope that person isn’t mad at me and…now I have entered the tornado…
Just breathe. I am inhaling. I am exhaling. Repeat.
Today, I feel a bit more stable. Maybe because my to do list isn’t two full pages long anymore. Maybe it’s because I have decided to do a few “breathe” paintings instead of diving head first into the horses. Maybe it’s simply because I actually slept last night from 11:00pm straight until 5:30am without waking up.
I will admit that on Monday, I went from “anxious” to “entering the panic zone” because I simply felt like a failure. I thought, “Really? Even merely thinking of getting back to work and life is enough to send me off the cliff?” It doesn’t seem fair, and sometimes I feel shame because I feel like I should be able to hold it together better.
My therapist had to remind me that I am quite a capable person. I had to remind myself that it’s ok to take re-entry slow. So that’s where I’m at today. My new year’s intentions have become strategies to easing in to 2020:
Be positive – This will pass and I will get back into my routine.
Keep going – Today a few more things have been checked off the to do list and I’ll make art this afternoon.
Don’t be attached to outcomes – I wanted to work on horse/wave paintings, but it simply isn’t the time so I’m going to work on something else that doesn’t stress me out.
There. That’s not so bad, is it?
Did you get back to work from the holidays and is having or had trouble settling back in? I’d love to know I’m not alone in this. In the comments below, let me know your post-holiday experience. I mean, does anyone out there actually feel rested after the holidays?
Just in case you need to hear it, it’s ok to take it slow. Put one foot in front of the other until you find the pace that works for you. I’m going to go take a walk before studio time. Time to get outside again and let Mother Nature calm me. Peace.
The photo above is my first 2020 action in the art studio. I'm beginning a "breathe" painting, starting with painting paper in an abstract ocean scape sort of way. From here I'll cut the paper and create a pattern on a darkly painted canvas. I feel more relaxed already.
I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes. To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.