Let’s talk about it.

Let’s talk about it.

Hi there

Thanks for popping in.

What do you do if the smoke alarm goes off in your home? It’s alerting you to the risk of a fire, right? If you’re in our kitchen when it starts beeping, you open all the doors and windows and start waving tea towels around vigorously to expel the smoke! But that’s usually because the smoke in question is a direct result of my culinary skills!

I think that anxiety is like an inner smoke alarm. It is activated when there’s something not right. When the toast catches fire and starts billowing smoke, the smoke alarm lets you know to DO SOMETHING – even if it’s open the window and pull the plug out!

Same with Anxiety. Let’s just say that we all have an inner toaster, and Anxiety is the alarm sensor…

When I get anxious, smoke doesn’t start pouring out of my ears, (well not visibly!) but I do get headaches, chest pains, tearfulness and other symptoms. So there are clear indicators – like a smokey toaster! I just need to start paying more attention to WHAT has set the anxiety-alarm off.

Sometimes, the smoke alarm at home is set too sensitively, and even the steam off the bath will trigger it. Have you ever stayed in a hotel where that happens? What a fiasco! That’s where I am at with my anxiety now. I have to watch the triggers, because some are real – and some are not.

Thing is, there’s been so much slung at us human beings over the last couple of years – on top of normal life – that the inner toaster seems to catch fire every time I even THINK about a piece of toast nowadays!! Does any of this make sense? I seem to panic about stuff that really doesn’t warrant it, or isn’t worthy of worry at all!

We can’t switch the alarm sensor right off – it does protect us from danger. But I need to react more quickly when the inner toaster starts smoking, and not expect the smoke to clear by itself. it seems to build up. Anxiety is the body’s way of telling us something’s not right. But I have to bring my anxiety down to a reasonable level – a level which is congruous with what is actually going on, what is real.

Here are some of the ways I have started handling my anxiety levels, my inner smoking toaster!

  • Lay off the caffeine – it makes me jittery
  • Go for a walk – concentrate on the trees and birds and flowers
  • Have a nap – a cat nap to switch off
  • Throw a pot (on the wheel, not at Dave!)
  • Make a card – Art is THERAPY!!
  • Concentrate on Breathing – that reduces the tension every time.
  • Look at WHAT is making me panic, and question it. Am I exaggerating? Am I being rational?
  • Reframe my negative thinking. Sometimes I get on the Gloom & Doom Express train to Misery. Total waste of energy.
  • Keep it all in Today. Today’s crisis is tomorrow’s memory.

That’s all for today. Writing to you about Anxiety has really helped. I think I’ll pass on toast for lunch though!

Can I make a suggestion? If you, like me, are feeling uneasy and anxious about stuff which you can’t control, write out a list of things you could do which might help you. Then pin it to your fridge, so you remember it! Then peep inside the fridge and find something nice to eat!

Stay safe

Love and BIG Hugs
Barb xxx

25 thoughts on “Let’s talk about it.

  1. I understand you completely.
    I used to get very stressed at times when I was teaching usually around critical times in the school calendar and that’s one of the reasons I craft.
    When I retired from teaching my stress levels almost went completely. Not fully though…. There were a few things I’d get stressed about but nothing like I used to be. My eczema hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as it used to be so that proves it was mostly stress related.
    The last year I replaced stress with proper anxiety about so much that I really could do little about. I stopped watching the news and that does help a lot. But something that has really helped me is that could still have a hug from Colin when I felt I needed one and that was as important as anything to me. I think without those hugs I may not have got through last year as well as I did.
    I know you like a good hug Barbara so I’m sending you a BIG squashy hug…. The biggest I can give.
    Lots of love xxxxxx

  2. Hi Barbara this is exactly what I needed to read. My anxiety levels are sky high at the moment. There is so much going on with our parents. Thank you for all the tips. I am just off to write my list and have a look in the fridge. Love and hugs xxx

  3. Good advice Barbara, as always. Sometimes anxiety is just there, or at least I find it is but crafting certainly helps (and unfortunately, eating!) Going to spend this afternoon Grooviing (and checking it’s not raining as I don’t want the towels to stop drying!). As you say, today’s crisis is tomorrow’s memory! Take care and snuggle with those little vikings xx

  4. Barbara, you always amaze me by writing exactly what I need to hear. I have been anxious about stuff at work that I had to write a statement about, I am not the only staff member to do this, but it has been playing on my mind for a while and I now realise it has been the cause of lots of wee things that I have struggled with. It (the work stuff) has the support of management so I know it will be OK.
    Our smoke alarm has beeped a couple of times today telling me I need a new one, but with new laws coming in February in Scotland, it now needs to be a heat alarm in the kitchen, plus smoke alarm in hallway and room we spend most time in, and they have to talk to each other. It’s going to be worth it long term. Better get on and go and buy them 😊

  5. Hello Barbara
    I hope you feel better for writing it down. I am trying to sit on my anxiety at the moment. It won’t help me to get stressed. Must keep calm, must keep calm, must keep calm is my mantra of the present. At least I have the Retreat on which to concentrate.
    See you soon,

  6. Just thank you Barbara for being honest and real! I’m going to practice your tips and make my list. Here’s hoping your anxiety evaporates and you can find your inner peace. Hugs 🤗

  7. I think there is a lot going on around us that is out of our control and there is general disquiet around. I have responded by withdrawing a bit and I not sure that approach is sustainable or all that healthy long term. Thank you for sharing and I am sure some of those strategies will be really useful

  8. Would you believe it, I have just fitted TWO smoke/carbon monoxide alarms in the living rooms – and that alone has made me less anxious – 2 boxes ticked! Now just need to sort out my wardrobes, the loft, the kitchen…..
    Hey, I had a dream about you last night after I read your little book (e-bay £2.50, barrgin!!) because it reminded me of when I first found you and the first workshop we did ‘oop norf’. Happy days.
    Maggie (Bendy Yorkite)

  9. Such wise words as usual, words that so many of us could have written. Like so many of us in this crafty group I too suffer with anxiety. Another health scare is not helping and I just wish the world would heal too, So many things happening it’s crazy! Wish I could have come to the retreat I think that will do you lucky ones attending a power of good. I’ve got some mindful movement classes to help with stress and anxiety – hope that helps although I prefer crafting!!! Take care everyone🥰

  10. I know exactly what you mean Barbara, anxiety & stress are a real problem at the moment! I used to think I was fairly calm and logical, able to cope with what life threw at me but the last couple of years have changed that. My anxiety and stress levels are almost overwhelming and usually over things out of my control! Even things that I do have control over have been switching on the “washing machine” in my head! That’s why Moments of Clarity and sessions in the SHAC have been so welcome, being able to link up with the lovely Clarity community. Hopefully a couple of days at the Retreats next week will be a total “stress buster”! No matter what you and the lovely Linda have in store for us! Ha, ha …
    And yes Jane, a big hug from a loved one is so comforting and helps to “blow away the blues”!
    Big virtual hugs all round!

  11. Have you tried some guided mindfulness practice? I’ve found they really help me. I even commissioned a short course for my work colleagues, mindfulness for stress reduction. Now I do a quick 3 minute breathing space if I’m getting worked up and it sorts me out! Once you let the fight or flight hormones loose in your body it takes much longer to restore calm x

  12. A very personal post today, much to think about.
    I don’t get anxious but do get annoyed, for instance the boiler service should have been done yesterday morning but he turned up at 5.10pm. Why was I annoyed? Because I’d cleared all the surrounding area thinking I could have a good clean up and disinfect when he left and It could all be put back quickly but by the time he was finished it was time to put the dinner on and then I was too miffed to bother until this morning. All done now though.
    I decided long ago it was no use getting upset about things which are out of my control. I try to make the best of each day as it comes and having a very laid back husband helps with his great sense of humour and his support in everything I do.
    Stay calm, take one step at a time, things usually come together and then you wonder what all the fuss was about.
    To quote Grace – travel gently.
    Here is a big hug from both of us.

  13. Hi Barb, loving your honesty it helps me when other people.talk about their anxiety meaning I’m not alone.
    I usually walk, and just be I also have an app on my watch 2minutes deep breathing so simple.but it works, I’m glad you have things to help.you hugs and take.care xxxx

  14. I guess I’m very lucky, after reading your post, as I rarely get stressed. it takes a lot to get me going (like idiot customer services people at 2 places I’ve been dealing with in the last few days!) and I soon calm down. Crafting , cooking and playing with my dog all help, as well as watching the birds in the woods behind me or in my garden. In fact I’ve saved myself about £250 a year by getting fed up with BT customer services (and getting different answers each time I rang) – I changed broadband provider!! I do hope all those on here who get easily stressed find a de-stressor that works for them. I think my many years of nursing toughened me up!!

  15. You hit the nail on the head Barbara. I get anxious because I no longer have a second opinion, help with decisions on everyday matters, family matters, company for appointments and most of all a reassuring hug from my wonderful husband and best friend of 58 years. Fortunately my three children and their families are amazingly kind and supportive. I am truly grateful and blessed and have to deal with the anxiety by keeping interested and busy.x

  16. Thank you for sharing Barbara. Anxiety is such an awful condition and so hard to explain to someone who has not experienced it. I’m lucky to have an understanding husband ( as I’m sure you do) who is my rock even though he cannot understand why I feel the way I do. I find concentrating on my breathing helps & crafting definitely does. An hour or two of playing with anything crafty definitely calms me down. Hope your strategies help you find some peace. Xxx

  17. I am finding I have been getting more anxious recently especially when I wake during the night & start mulling over things that I have no control over or over think every niggly ache etc. I end up telling myself off so that I can get back to sleep !! Doesn’t help when you have to wait 2 weeks for a telephone appointment with your GP or be awake at 8am to try & get one of the few appointments for that day to get in any earlier.
    Keeping busy during the day is definitely a help – whether housework or crafting with the latter being the best option !!

  18. What a superb blog. Been one of those stressful weeks so far. Smoke alarm constant. Really though in grand scheme of things not terminally. Craft today stressed me out. I need to dig the allotment but body won’t let me. Another day but no dollar. Keep calm, carry on whatever tomorrow brings xx

  19. Hi Barbara
    Thank you for the post I think most if not everyone can identify with this situation. I for one always walk and would be lost without that ability I am forever grateful that I can still do this easily. Having good friends around also helps and Jackie is always there it has been a tough 18 months for everyone but we have managed to come out the other side relatively ok, we are also all together which a lot of people are unable to say.
    Love Ruth & Jackie xx

  20. I think many of us are suffering from anxiety and panic attacks. I do find the shac shack helps. Even just listening to a calming voice. Wonder if you can get watch with mother on Netflix.
    Unfortunately talking about smoke alarms brings back some wonderful memories for me. The alarm used to go off at least weekly in the nurses home, followed by the arrival of several fire engines filled with firemen who used to run in, looking for which nurse had come in from a night out and burn the toast again. That’s really improved my anxiety levels.

  21. Hi Barbara,
    Thank you for today’s blog and the helpful messages from the Clarity community. Some mornings I have to make myself take our dog out and the walking, waving to other walkers and at times talking with others helps ease my anxiety. I seem to get stressed so easily now.
    Take care. Stay safe. Susan.

  22. Hello Barb, thank you for this Blog Post, it has really helped me this morning, because my stress levels are off the scale at the moment, and things just keep happening which adds to it. Will make a list and see what I can do about things. Take care and stay safe everyone. Bx

  23. Fiona I have just read your reply, I don’t think you need a new alarm 🚨 the beep usually means you need a new battery. My husband has dementia and I get stressed at times. I find if I put both my hands flat on my tummy and feel the motion of my breathing it does relax me. Please take care everyone.🤗

  24. Another thoughtful blog Barbara, thank you.
    I do get anxious occasionally and have suffered from depression in the past but both are usually triggered by specific events, for example I become ridiculously anxious preparing to speak to my GP ( white coat syndrome I suppose) so once the event is over I calm down: although the anxiety might change to frustration/anger/tearfulness at an unsatisfactory outcome and I remain like that until I accept that it is what it is and resolve to look into self or alternative help.
    I’m a real worrier though but, thankfully, this doesn’t normally escalate into anxiety: possibly because I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband, family and friends around to discuss problems.
    I read somewhere to make a list of what makes up a perfect day and act on it to make it happen. When I tried this it was a very positive exercise. It wasn’t too difficult as I realised it’s the simple things that make me happy, I’m also retired so don’t have too many outside influences to put a spanner in the works.
    Take care.

  25. Barbara, I hope it is ok for me to leave you this Thank You note…Its been about 16 months now since you keep me calm at the start of Covid when we all had to stay home. Everyday I tried to watch you show us all to draw my first birds on a wire to the birds on the bird house. I cam across my drawings today, they don’t look too bad! Thank you again for taking the time.

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