What are we so worried about?
You find yourself up at 2 am, mind racing thinking about all the things you need to do or even
worse all the things that could happen. At work you jump from one thing to another, trying to get it all done, but feel more scattered than ever and find yourself checking email all night long. Let’s not even talk about the wave of panic when you go to balance your checkbook.
You thought you’d have it all together at this point. The turmoil of your teens over, the uncertainty of your 20s and 30s finally settled. And when you chat with your girlfriends, they share similar stories.
It’s not your imagination:
Nearly 60 percent of Gen Xers describe themselves as stressed out.*
57% of Gen Xers say they’re stressed about their jobs compared to 44% of our Millennial friends who say the same.**
We lived through the fear of AIDS, weathered two recessions and watched the horror of 9/11. Now we’re managing kids and older parents, a unrecognizable workforce, financial pressures, family drama and menopause. We just lost Luke Perry.
It is no wonder we’re reaching for the Chardonnay every night, taking more Xanax or hiding a pack of cigarettes from our kids and significant others. If I told you to try to meditate or eat more kale, you’d pummel me. I don’t blame you.
But here’s what we can do:
#1. Give your fear a name
Ok, this may sound out there but give it a try. Recognize how fear and anxiety show up for you. Do you get a flutter in your stomach? Shoulders get tight? Have the need to shut down or overeat? Let these be the cues that anxiety is stopping by.
Now give it a name. (Kinda like how you call may call your period Aunt Flo.) When you give your anxiety a name it becomes less all overwhelming and out there. You can invite your anxiety in, thank it for giving you the heads up that there’s something to be aware of and then send it on its way versus letting it become a permanent house guest.
#2. Listen to music
Did you know that listening to calming music can have the same benefits as meditation? If the thought of sitting down on a meditation cushion or even taking a deep breath sounds out of reach -- give it a try.
#3. Dance it out
Ever notice the energy burst you get after dancing to your favorite song? It’s for real -- while dancing to the beat you’re releasing all those feel-good chemicals in your brain.
Your grandma was right -- it IS the best medicine. A big belly laugh can help release emotion that’s in your body and change change your perspective. Call up a funny friend, watch something silly on YouTube.
#5. Make your worry work for you
Schedule some time to create an action plan. Write down your big problems and then brainstorm ways to solve. Then write down some action steps. Having to dos around your worry can put you in control versus feeling like you’re at it’s mercy.
So the next time you feel the wave of overwhelm and anxiety come crashing over you remember you’re not alone, have been through difficult time and have come out the other side and are a tough-cookie Gen X lady.
*The New Midlife Crisis for Women Why (and How) It's Hitting Gen X Women, Oprah.com
**Generation X--not millennials--is changing the nature of work, CNBC, April 2018