Mental Health Monday | RachelPoli.com

Anxiety Tip: How to Pick and Choose Your Battles to Remain Calm

When I went to therapy years ago, I remember my therapist telling me that I needed to pick and choose my battles when it came to anxiety.

If I don’t need something in my life or it won’t affect it in any way, then I don’t need to push through the anxiety. I can just give in because we need to do that once in a while. On the other hand, if it’s interfering with my life and stopping me from living it, then I need to fight back the anxiety. Pick and choose your battles, decide what your anxiety can get away with and what it can’t get away with.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: I am not a mental health professional. I speak about my own experiences with mental health but it should not be taken as medical advice. This is just a safe space for all to check in with one another. If you are having a hard time or have medical questions, please seek help through your doctor. Thank you.
Anxiety Tip: How to Pick and Choose Your Battles to Remain Calm | Mental Health Monday | Anxiety | Mental Health Matters | RachelPoli.com I’ve explained this before in a previous blog post a few years ago. I went to the movie theater to see Detective Pikachu. I get bad anxiety going to the theater so I don’t go anymore. I’ll wait for the DVD to come out or go to a streaming service. Going to the movie theater is not essential to live my life, so I decided not to fight that battle. (Detective Pikachu was an exception because I couldn’t wait for that movie. Spoiler alert: I won that battle.) Even though I won that time, going to the movie theater still isn’t worth the stress, so I still don’t go.

What I can’t avoid

Of course, there are times when you need to fight the anxiety. Going to the doctor? That’s kind of essential to living. So, I need to push past my anxiety on that front. I’m petrified about going to the doctor. I’m not entirely sure why or when this started, but as I got older I got more and more anxious to go to the doctor. I think it’s the atmosphere. I never liked getting shots, I don’t like the “hospital” feel to it. I have a weak stomach in general when it comes to medical stuff. I’ve never skipped a physical though (I don’t think) so I just deal with the stress and anxiety of it each year.

How I push through it

First, my mom comes with me. The drive to my doctor’s office is a bit weird with odd parking so that stresses me out. My mom is great and takes me to the doctor every year. She’ll sit in the waiting room for me. I don’t know why, but knowing she’s in the building is calming enough. I also bring my worry stone with me and try making appointments for early in the morning so I’m not waiting around all day, freaking out about it.

This year was different

This particular doctor appointment was different because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. My Mom had to wait in the car, I had to call before they allowed me into the building, everyone’s wearing masks, it was weird. I’ve been having trouble going anywhere without seeing “germs” all over the place. So, imagine what it was like going to a doctor’s office where sick people actually go. Of course, it’s the doctor so they know what they’re doing in terms of keeping everything clean. It still freaks me out though. The appointment went normally otherwise. It always does. Still, I worry about it.

What I did the rest of the day

Even though the appointment went fine and only took about an hour from the time I left my house to the time I got back, I was totally wiped for the rest of the day. I got home and played Animal Crossing for four hours before I had to go get the kids from school. You need to pick and choose your battles and if you win, definitely give yourself some time to cool down afterward. You did it, you deserve it.

How do you pick and choose your battles? Let me know in the comments below.

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3 thoughts on “Anxiety Tip: How to Pick and Choose Your Battles to Remain Calm

  1. I think many people who don’t suffer from anxiety can’t understand the level of exhaustion that hits us after we have fought one of these battles. It’s important to be able to “check out” and just find our balance again. It really can derail your whole day depending on how much energy you had to exert during that anxiety-inducing moment.

    It took me a long time to accept that that was just a fact! I felt like a failure every time I had to sit for hours and rebalance. I would lose a whole day and hate myself.

    Now I add a few things to a day that I know will already be high in anxiety then clock off for the rest of the day (working for yourself really helps!)

    Sounds like you have a good system of how you get through your battles 🙂

    • Exactly. It totally drains you. There are days when I can’t even understand why I’m so tired and then I look back at the day or even the week.

      Working for yourself really does help this situation when you just need a day!

  2. Even with picking your battles, it’s still a lot to deal with. As you said, sometimes you’ve got to fight, and find a way to win. I don’t have anxiety with going to the doctor, but the dentist is another matter. They used to be just another doctor to me, and I was fine – what’s one more among so many? But then one dentist experience was unpleasant enough that it caused me a problem. I switched dentists, which helped some, but the dentist is definitely a source of anxiety for me even so. I agree: it’s very draining, and you need to give yourself time to recover, and maybe also reward yourself too. That’s how I do it: the promise of some kind of reward, either a worry stone or fidget toy (or both) and some rest time afterwards.

Let me know your thoughts!

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