My family would say that I am a worrier – but they are wrong! I don’t worry – I plan (which is not the same thing at all.)
It’s not like I assume that things will go wrong or fret about things that haven’t even happened yet. That would be worrying, right? It’s more that I have a solution for every scenario JUST IN CASE! That’s definitely not worrying. To me that’s just being prepared.
So, for example, imagine we’re going to the theatre and we intend to go in the car. I will have worked out how long it will take to get there in good traffic, bad traffic and also checked the train times just in case the car won’t start. Well, theatre tickets are expensive – especially for six of us and I’m taking no chances. But that’s not anxiety. That’s good planning! Because I’m not the anxious type.
Or at least, I wasn’t . . .
But suddenly being anxious has become a thing.
I’m not sure when it started. It’s kind of crept up on me over the last year or so. For a while I didn’t even notice that my thought processes had changed but then I heard myself talking and I sounded a bit like my mum ( sorry Mum x). ‘I don’t really like driving in the dark/on the motorway/to somewhere I don’t know.’
What?! I’m a competent, independent woman who has been merrily driving herself to new places on the motorway in the dark for over thirty years. Why then did I suddenly feel like this was asking a little too much of me?
My ability to make a decision took a hit next. I dithered over the final click when I was booking things, hovered about in shops picking things up and putting them down again and please don’t ask me where we should meet for coffee!
Of course, we all know what is going on here. In fact, it appears that every single change that has come over me recently, both physical and emotional, can be attributed to the same thing which is handy. It’s like I have a ready-made excuse for every bad mood or argument for the foreseeable future which is all very well but I don’t want an excuse. I’d rather just not be difficult and tetchy and indecisive and anxious. I was quite happy with the way I was before.
So, I’ve been on a mission to try and improve matters. Here’s what I’m trying:
- Be kind to myself. I’ve stopped saying yes when what I really want to say is no and I’m no longer beating myself up if I don’t get to the end of my To Do list each day.
- Look for the positive. It’s not always easy to find when you feel like this but I’m doing my best because positivity seems be infectious.
- Yoga. At least if I can still touch my toes and get out of a chair without making that little ‘ouf ‘ sound then I don’t feel quite so ancient!
- Meditation. I was a sceptic but I’ve been at it for a while now and it’s growing on me.
- Sleep, diet and exercise. How dull are these but doing them all in appropriate measures seems to help.
I have to say that I’m not that keen on Anxious Imogen. She’s a nuisance and she gets in my way. I’ve been in London doing radio interviews this week and The Thing about Clare launches worldwide on Saturday. I don’t have time to fret. Life is too short to be overthinking the small stuff so Anxious Imogen is not welcome (although no doubt she’ll be popping up to help me with Christmas soon!)
If you have any top tips for combatting midlife anxiety then please comment in the box. I’ll try pretty much anything!