Friday, January 15, 2016

Random thoughts: Managing Anxiety

2 weeks is too short to be called a trend, but I thought keeping anxiety at bay for 2 weeks is no mean feat.

1) Mindset - Fatigue for anxiety
I realized while there are certain areas in my job that I do not like, what really stressed me is not able to meet deadlines and rushing like a mad dog.

For these 2 weeks, I spent more nights handling work matters than I usually would. I no longer insisted that I have proper rest (Wondered why I do that at the first place) at night. I slept slightly later at night (1 hour or more) but cleared more work and prepared my lessons better which gave me joy. That joy countered the guilt of not delivering and reduced stress too.

I no longer think working long hours is "pie mia" (tough life), in fact I am happy that I hold a stable job and have no worry over income even in the long term. Some of my pupils apparently slept later than me, talk about having it tough.

2) Mental exercises
Every morning, I tried to wish everyone well in my mind. It wasn't really easy as I feel that it is not just a verbal/mental exercise but I need to feel the sincerity when I do that. I realize I do that better after I get past the grouchy and tiring initial 30 minutes of the morning, and when I just take a walk and observe the people around me. The school auntie that opens the school gate at 5.30 a.m. (I know because I was in school that early before), the people at the hawker center when I go for breakfast, the bus manager etc. Then I realized "hey, my life is not that bad, just maybe fatigue is the only negative; I draw a good pay, is doing something meaningful in my work. Then I felt I come really wish people good health and wisdom better, having blissful families etc.

I also did mindfulness exercises. One by counting and taking note of breathing, and following the instructions of a follow blogger on breathing tips. The other is when I am eating. I wanted to feel the food at the front of my mouth, being chewed unless thrice before going to the left and right and then repeating the process. I know the food is really thoroughly chewed when I do that. I am losing this mindfulness as the work start flowing in, I noticed I will break quite often and think about this project and that. But I will keep reminding myself.

3) Physical exercises
Beside a jog once a week, I go to the school's chin up bar almost daily, sometime twice a week. In just 2 weeks, it went from once to 5 chin ups. I am not particular about the number, sometimes it dropped back to 2, but I just like the exertion of some muscle strength. Feeling the stretch in the muscle is also mindfulness exercise.

I also hit the stairs and avoid the lift as much as I could, even when carrying pupils' work to level 4.

4) Creating systems
Thanks to Kyith, after chatting with him over at his blog, I realized I am a very disorganized person.
I brought more baskets for storage of different documents and purposes so that I can retrieve that easily. I separate to-do-list post it board with "important information". After making a list of to do list, I would ask myself which 2 are most valuing adding? I will also bring back one "post it" slip home to finish and crush by the end of the night.

I delegate more responsibilities to my staff. Think they need to reduce anxiety soon. I felt that they are really adding value to the whole system now. However I realized that trust is still lacking between me and them. I have been more accepting of my own flaws and I accept that I am a B or C grade leader, in fact, F grade made no difference because because it is about progress. I just want to do my best in earnest and have no regrets. I ready to "move on" when the younger ones are ready.

5) Dietary exercises
I am really losing this one. But I will fight back. I cut down on fried food, drink decaf coffee, eat cereals in the morning and avoid dipping into soya sauce. I cut down also on sweet food. I slim down in 2 weeks, my jeans suddenly felt loose and my belt and be buckled further by 1 notch. I tried my old jeans and it now fit.

Hope my sharing is beneficial to others who might have anxiety issues.


  1. You might want to skip the cereal for bfast; too much hidden sugar even for the "healthier" versions. Oats will be a better option or even better, have some eggs.

    1. Hmm Philip,

      Although 2g for 100 g serving is reasonable ... I tried oats but have up because if really taste terrible. I mixed it with 3 in 1 coffee which I really think defeat the purpose since 3-in1 coffee have even more sugar

  2. Hi SI,

    Happy you made some change in your mental state. Hopefully you'll see results in your gastric problems. I am eating much lesser these days. Every alternate days I'll just eat fruits for lunch. No more packaged soya bean drink for me for breakfast for me now, it's now grapefruits or other fruits. I think I'm more alert and better able to handle myself. Definitely more alert and less tired. More importantly, no more bloated feeling.

    Just the other day, I had a craving for wanton mee, which I had it for lunch most of the time in the past. Regretted immediately after. First, too much carbo in the form of noodles. Afterwards, the feeling of fullness and the exertion just to digest makes me very tired.

    I doubt I'll go back to my pre 'fruit-bat' days again. Wishing you good health, good relationship and good wealth.

    1. Hi LP,

      Wow, didn't know u are into fruit bat diet. When did u start ?? How long already?

      Is it some kind of programme (dietary) ... U quite skinny lei, better make sure you have enough nutrition

      For me, I work the other way. I allowed myself to give in to craving, but I always say, since I cannot eat as often now, I will eat the one I like most and crave most. So sometime I will just give it a miss

      Thank you for your well wishes, I wish the same for u too! Huat!

  3. Hi SI,

    I think it's wonderful that you're learning to manage your mindset, your attitude towards your work and life! Too often when we get into the grind, we simply go through the motion and it can be very tiring. But it is only when we take a step back and look at the bigger picture like what you are doing, that we see the areas that we are adding value into!

    Also, I believe that exercising has a lot of health benefits which you should look into despite the hectic work! Think efficiency! I found this article which may convince you on the benefits of exercising:

    1. Hi Aloysius,

      Thanks for dropping by. It quite tough to find time for a game like basketball or even short jogging, so I thought the jogging up the stairs and chin up is fine for me

      Although I set 15min for once a week jogging goal ... I sometime only ran 10
      Min, dun want to stress myself

    2. Do give a read up on 'Runner's High', where endorphins are released! That's when I feel exercising is worth doing!

    3. Thanks Aloysius
      I will go check it out ...


  4. Hi Si

    Actually I don't advocate running long distance for exercise unless u are a long distance competitive runner or 2nd, running for your life haha ( quoting Smol : why run when you can walk , why walk when u can seat , why seat when u can lye )

    Running for pro longed periods actually is no good for our knee caps especially one is getting older. No doubt it's still a good cardiovascular exercise though. Other alternatives exercise could be cycling, swimming which is less impactful to our knees. You could also try high intensive training like doing 30 seconds burpees then rest for 1 min and continue this for 6 mins, less than 10 mins work out and it's doable at home .

    1. Yeah STI,

      I heard a lot t about the bad effects running bring, but given my distance ran and frequency, I won't be that at risk.

      You are siao on exercise right ?


  5. Sillyinvestor,

    See? With a little change in mindset, things start to look sunnier!

    Even the commenters to your post are bright and positive :)

    Just do.

    Then listen to your body and soul.

    Positive feedback - repeat!

    Negative feedback - crash got sound; stop and desist!

  6. SMOL,

    Having going through the low period, I understand it is a self healing process which takes time.

    No point telling someone feeling low to look on the bright side and change your mindset.

    Think my sister as a main caregiver is going bonkers too. But I listened ...

    Sigh... Just like we can only give assurance to ourselves in insurance ... We can only heal and toughen up with time

    What is the worst?

    Seriously ?

    The more we desist ... The more we reframe it is just a Siagnal all is not well. We are all unwell at sometime

    Live let live

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