Time Block Your Worries
If you find yourself overwhelmed by all the things that might go wrong and all the things that already have, I have an idea for you: time block your worries.
Yep, you heard me. Give yourself time to go down the rabbit whole and explore the worst case scenarios. Take time to explore your plan B and C options that are bombarding your head.
I recently had a whole week with all my three little munchkins feeling under the weather (and thus no sleep for me…) After almost a week with my two year old coughing really badly, it seemed to be getting worse, and I began to worry. Lying with her in my bed all night, listening to her moan and groan, I've decided to take her to the doctor in the morning. Little did I know what was to come the next morning…
We woke up to heavy rain and a river flowing down our driveway… It didn’t seem like we’d be able to get the car out. My dear hubby went on an exploration mission and came back with crazy stories and videos of our road. It was completely blocked by a massive slip from the side of the mountain. With huge trees literally sitting on the road as if it was their natural place.
We live in a very rural place, they call it the ‘wop wops’ here in New Zealand. And the road to get here is super windy and narrow to begin with. Our access road and many other roads around us were severely damaged by the rain and some huge mud slips. The government called a state of emergency as many people needed to be evacuated due to flooding, and others got barricaded in their homes and were completely cut off.
There was a lot to worry about: how am I going to take my baby to the doctor? What if it’s going to take a long time to fix? I don’t like worrying. It makes me feel anxious and powerless.
So we decided to call the nurse and discuss our options with her. We agreed to keep monitoring her symptoms and in a case of emergency we will call the helicopter ambulance. Ok good. Now we had a plan. We know what symptoms to keep an eye for and we know what to do if needed.
Now Ben, my husband, had to go and put his spade to good use out in the pouring rain, clearing drains and building dams, while I stayed inside with the snotty kids. I had no time to worry. I had decided to let it go for an hour and then reassess. That hour gave me a chance to gather my energy, have a bite to eat, and drink all the coffee (told you, it’s been a whole WEEK of not sleeping for this mumma). And you know what? That was the day that the little one started getting better. When Ben came back from his spading mission, he updated me again on the bad state of the roads. We checked our local community Facebook page and learned about all the damage that had happened in this crazy weather event (aka back into worrying).
So I came up with this brilliant plan: Worry when I worry – and then don’t.
When I’m reading the news, I can consider all the emergency prep we need to do and all the plans we have to put into action – and then, when there’s no action to take at that moment in time, it’s time to let go. I can go play with my kids, dance to some music, and when a worrisome thought creeps into my head – I can tell it to come back later when it’s worry time. I told myself: “I hear you, I’m not gonna ignore you. I’m gonna consider you later when I’m doing my worrying”.
Worrying is useful because it helps us put in place plans for the ‘what if’s’. I find it very reassuring to know that in the very low chance that shit will hit the fan, we have a plan and know what to do. It makes me feel safe and it allows me to relax into the pretty good here and now.
Over-worrying is the problem… when the same thoughts come back in a loop over and over and over again. It’s exhausting. It sucks away all your energy leaving you feeling drained. I don’t want to feel like that, do you? So I time block my worries. I give myself time to work it through in my head, so that I don’t need to keep doing it, and I can go back to focusing on what IS working. When I do that, I can be more present with my kids, I can nourish myself with gratitude and positive thinking, and overall I spend very minimal time in the worry club.