Is It Really Procrastination Or Did Your Anxiety Fail You Again?
© Illustration by INJECTION - Alicia Lupieri
Managing emotions, not just time.
Chapped lips, uneven bitten nails, shaking legs, and a racing heart; welcome to the new normal. The reality is, hardly anyone today relates to the word ‘calm’ or ‘peace’. We live in a constant state of fight or flight! Our minds are active 24/7 glued to screens, absorbing information shared from around the world. Whether it's TikTok or telegram, our FOMO makes sure we are on track with the latest trends.
Though technology today has eased communication, why is it that people still find it difficult to ask for help?
The lost art of communication
It's hard to understand people. You can listen but never relate or speak words you don't believe. So, how do you navigate in an era that tells you something but does another? Trust is an issue many possess and faith is an armour we often dwell in.
People love pulling other people down and that’s a fact. It's sadly become our nature and there is no one to blame for that but us. From struggling to grow to reaching a point where you can't imagine not being competitive, there is an involuntary participation in this race called life.
People struggle to open up and embrace their emotions because the world today expects them to show a perfect picture of who they are. The untamed parts can always be edited.
Everyone has gone through moments in their life that have left an imprint. Emotions from those moments are what we carry to date and regardless of what people may say, it's hard. This feeling of being dragged in time and being forced to relive those moments is what we call PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Disrupting our everyday tasks; anxiety is like a weight that shows its presence in times of distress and makes breathing impossible. According to the office of National Statistics, one in five adults aged over 16 years in the UK have experienced depressive symptoms in early 2021. This is more than double of what was recorded during the pandemic.
Just because you would rather stay home, doesn't mean you are depressed; not everyone has an endless social battery. Our friends often forget that they are asking more of the same person who would never force them to do anything. Why? Because we understand it's never easy being pushed out of one’s comfort zone unprepared. The judgment that comes into play for not having a social life or for just being in bed because you simply can't get out is impossible to explain to someone who hasn't experienced it.
Hence another reason why communication may not always be a solution.
Understanding Solitude and self-healing
We often regard the terms solitude and loneliness under the same negative connotation. But what we forget is, only one of these is a cry for help. Solitude is a choice. A choice to be alone, be secluded from society and its chaos. Whereas, loneliness? It’s something one can feel even when surrounded by their loved ones. In our day-to-day lives, if you are studying alone, going on walks, or even working out in the gym, that’s not being in solitude. This is because your phone is constantly on and you are instantly reachable. The idea is to be separated from the social obligations and expectations of the world. Not caring what your favorite influencer is currently sharing or which cafe your friend is posting about on Instagram. A Lot of anxiety and stress stems from worrying about what the world thinks of us. Solitude provides you a zone for self-reflection, which allows you to expel these thoughts out of your mind. Just listening and magnifying your inner self and enjoying your own company.
It’s surprising how a little time alone from the world around you can make you feel at peace. We are sur- rounded by humans, connected more than ever through technology yet the feeling of loneliness stays stuck within. You can be living alone and not be lonely and be lonely even when around people.
Humans are primate creatures, they crave intimacy and connection. From being born to growing old, we have always been surrounded by humans. Some strangers and some family - but nonetheless always close by and invading our thoughts. Therefore, the only way to experience solitude would be to actively take time out and be in isolation
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we dealt with the struggle of building a sanctuary at home and away from people because of the restrictions. Leaving many to grasp the new reality and letting go of the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. Fast-forward to 2021, and here we are trying to shed off the cocoon and step out again. However, these rollercoasters of emotions are not spent yet and for many, it's a struggle to even complete everyday tasks.
Emotions play a key role in identifying trigger points when planning to work. Not having enough energy or strength to finish a task doesn't always mean you are lazy. Deadlines sometimes trigger anxiety so it's always best to start and plan your work weeks before. Noting things down helps organise your thoughts and makes way for moving towards an end goal. When you plan days before on how to work towards your assignment, you give yourself enough time for taking things slow. People forget that to achieve something you don't have to be in a constant state of struggle. You can work through hard times by simply understanding and managing your anxiety.
The act of getting it together needs to start somewhere and here’s a proposed to-do list to stop anxiety to shadow your growth:
Identify your emotions
You need to make yourself your priority. Just try and understand your emotions and reactions to certain situations. When you are trying to go to a new place, what’s your initial response? If you have a deadline, what do you do?
If you are avoiding things, make a list of your behaviors in such scenarios and the feeling that comes with it. (Anxiety, shame, frustration, fear, anger, numbness)
Hold on to the feeling
Whenever you think of starting on the work you have been procrastinating, what is the feeling that creeps in? Understand that feeling and hold on to it!
Once you have identified the emotion, just run with it! Do whatever task you have been pushing and try to get started on it as soon as possible.
Positive thoughts only
Once you have started working on the task or even finished it, apply positive reinforcements. You need to tell yourself how amazing that was; that you have actually gone and completed it and that you are safe.
Even if you can't complete the work right away, make a plan! Note things down as a reminder and keep a track of your goals. This is an easy way to mark your progress and work towards the end result. Remember to feel your emotions and not run from them. It's scary but it's necessary.
Not having to do something is okay. Sometimes, just being with yourself and your thoughts is okay. It’s important to tell yourself this more and more because our minds have become so perceptive of what other people around us think of us, that we seek validation everywhere. So be your own validation. Let yourself know that it’s okay.