"Worry Time": A simple practice to help with constant anxiety.
Updated: Feb 20, 2022
Try out this simple practice to deal with dread and feelings of impending doom.
Anxiety can really steal away a lot of our precious times.
I recently spoke to a very capable and once-joyful person. This post is really dedicated to her. Unfortunately, this young person's joy was all but stripped away as she's found herself presently in a job with a toxic and abusive boss.
The core of what's happening is this - every Thursday and Friday, there is a zoom team meeting where her team would update each other about what's happening in the week.
Her boss might appear sometimes or not appear on the meeting at all.
When he does appear, he would take turns interrogating each of the team members to "prove" that they've done work this week. When he isn't satisfied with their "testimonies", he would verbally scold or decry that team member.
It goes up to the level of shouting at the person in front of everyone else. Swear words included.
It's horrendous - I know.
She plans to quit soon and is currently trying to find a new job. Yet, for the moment, she's stuck.
And being stuck with anxiety is not a great place to be in.
This feelings of constant anxiety was a new phenomenon for her.
She shared that prior to this job, she was a blissful soul who enjoyed her work and life outside of her work.
Suddenly, she's now find herself nearly constantly worrying in the days leading up to the team meeting described above.
Her anxiety-induced thoughts include:
"Would I be next to be yelled at in front of everything?"
"Did I do enough this week to not be scolded?"
"I wish the meeting would be cancelled this week."
I hope you and I can agree - it's not her fault she's dealing with this anxiety. It's the presence of a very toxic boss that is causing feelings of impending doom.
On that note, her teammates are all equally anxious. Even her seniors in the meeting don't dare speak up to the boss. Yikes, what a toxic workplace.
Anyway, for this wonderful soul, she's lost all sense of peace and tranquility she used to enjoy. Her days are now marked by:
Feelings of dread before the meeting.
Kept awake by spiraling thoughts.
Experiences of panic attacks at times.
Being unable to enjoy her weekends.
A serious sense of Monday Blues.
And that's what anxiety is like folks.
If that's you too, try designating specific "worry times" in your day.
It's a rather simple mental trick, but highly effective in dealing with anxiety. It's help me plenty in my anxiety too.
Here's how it works:
1) Schedule the same time each day for "worry time"
Rather than spending all your time worrying, schedule a time each day to let your mind go into "worry mode". Preferably, it should be a time when you're relatively free of any demands, as well as it being not so close to bedtime.
It can be however long or short you like, and most people find that around 6pm to 7pm works best.
2) During that time, worry all you want.
During that half an hour to an hour, allow yourself to just think about all the things you're worried about.
Find somewhere calm and quiet to do this, where you won't be interrupted and are free to be with your thoughts.
Do have a nice activity to transition yourself out of this designated worry time. It could be as simple as:
Going for a walk or run.
Making yourself some tea and reading a book.
Having dinner etc.
These activities will help give you something to look forward to and move you out of that worrying mindset again.
3) At all other times, remind yourself that you have a designated time to worry.
You probably know this all too well, but anxious thoughts are bloody automatic. They pop up in your head in all manners of ways and times. It's seems like it's nearly impossible to stop them.
Yet, having designated "worry times" help because it gives you the peace that whenever this anxious thoughts pop up, it's not like you're trying to ignore the anxiety.
It's telling yourself that, yes, you do recognise their importance, but will save it for thinking about it later at the appointed time.
In some ways, it's like setting time boundaries for your anxiety.
"Hey, yes I know that's something I should be worried about, but that's for 6pm."
If it helps, you can also keep an anxiety journal to note down your thoughts during the day, and simply remind yourself to think about it only during your "worry time".
Anxiety is a very time-consuming thing. It takes away your best times, and stops you from doing the things you love most.
I hope you get to try out this little mental trick. Do let me know how it goes for you!
Likewise, I'll let you know to if the person's situation in the above gets better! Let's hope she finds a much better job soon.
For now, say no to toxic bosses.
Thanks for reading Kaya Toast for the Soul. You take care of yourself now. Letting go of your worries can be really difficult, try this technique to segment your worries out of most of your day.