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Anxiety Amidst Covid19 – LJ’s Story 

 April 30, 2020

By  Deborah Lee Smith

Anxiety Amidst Covid19 – LJ’s Story

Hi, my name is LJ.

I’m someone who has lived with anxiety most of my life. So if this is your first experience with a prolonged heightened stress level or anxiety due to our current world situation. I feel you. I see you and you are not alone. Hopefully, my daily practices and tools can help you navigate these new and turbulent sky’s.

My job as a flight attendant has its fair share of unpredictability; schedules changes, delays, cancelations, getting rerouted etc. Keeping my personal life in order without losing that sense whimsy and adventure is important to me. When it all seems a little to much I focus on my game plan listed below.

1. FACE: Feel your feelings, DON’T LET THEM PAY RENT!!! Embrace the suck, let it visit, and wish it well on its way out the door. Sometimes it will visit for a day, two, a week or even a little more. Just like any visitor thank them for coming by and wish them well as they head out the door. ALL feelings (beautiful or messy)are fleeting and will pass.

2. REFECT: what is this moment bringing up for me. Check-in and ask yourself, Is this a FACT, FEELING or FABRICATED? Once I identify the origin & root of the anxiety it has less power over me and then I can address how to self soothe and how to strengthen my own personal boundaries for the next visit.

3. ACTION: Get to it! Action cures fear and silences anxiety, inaction creates terror and a false narrative. Help someone else. Deliver food, drop off lemons from your lemon tree, write a thank you card, walk your dog…walk your neighbor’s dog! BONUS; If you see someone else who is frozen due to fear or anxiety ask THEM for help. Feeling needed and having a purpose is important. Give them that gift of helping someone else. You matter. You are needed.

4. GRATITUDE. I love a good list! Write it all down. The physical act of writing down all the things we feel lucky and grateful to have is so empowering. Being able to see it, makes it real and tangible.

***

When I am home from flying, I find that having a routine and completing small accomplishments through the day is incredibly important to keep my anxiety at bay.

I get up, make my coffee, and always make my bed. I take a few minutes to meditate on my acupressure mat. I follow that up with my “three & three” practice. This is a practice that helps me keep my promises to myself. I don’t go longer than three days without working out/physical activity and I don’t go longer than three days without putting on makeup/getting fully dressed. (aka no yoga pants and a girl’s gotta put on some highlighter & mascara.) For me, these are both practices that make ME feel beautiful in my own skin and body.

Whatever your “three & three” practice is I encourage you to keep your promise to yourself. Whether that is making art, music, reading a book, journaling, cooking etc.

Lastly, I focus on “can I surrender and can I serve” excepting the circumstances with as much grace and gratitude as I can and remember what we tell our passengers on the airplane. You have to put your own mask on first before helping others. PUT YOUR OWN MASK ON FIRST LOVES!!

You are no good to your partner, kids, neighbors, and friends unless you put your own mask on first. That is true strength and love. 💛🤘

You are doing just fine & we will get through this!! The world is experiencing a giant act of self-discipline. Putting off what we want now for what we want in the long run. In a culture/ society that is conditioned for instant gratification, this is a giant communal act of LOVE!! I’m so dang proud of you!

 

Deborah Lee Smith

Hi there! I'm an actor, producer, and writer who is devoted to storytelling and mental health awareness. After struggling through my own mental health, I found that non-traditional resources, like the ones we explore on More Than You See, helped me immensely get through my dark times. Thus, this website and podcast were born! I look forward to helping you gain agency over your mental health journey as you build your own toolkit of resources, tips, and ideas. Because you never know what might help pull you out of the darkness, and we are all More Than You See.   


Deborah Lee Smith

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