The Anxious CEO

One woman’s experience in the power of choice

Most days, I snooze my alarm once. I get up. I drag myself into my day. Get dressed. The cobwebs clear by the 5 minute mark… and I’m good to go.

Breakfast, children, empty the dishwasher, make myself look presentable, out the door, into the car (we’re late, can you PLEASE get into the carseat?!), to school, to work, park, walk, into the office, sit.

8 hours of being the CEO boss lady.

Get up, to the car, home, dinner, child-wrangling, brush teeth, read books, no you can’t have a THIRD piece of cheese, goodnight, finish cleaning the kitchen, to bed.

Repeat.

See, most days are pretty much exactly the same.

But every once in a while, on one of those rare days… I snooze the alarm once. I get up. Spend 30 minutes trying to figure out what to wear because my head is spinning. Black pants should go with everything, yet I just can’t figure it out. Thoughts are fuzzy. Deep breaths.

I can feel the tightness in my chest. Can’t wear anything tight around my neck. It feels like I’m choking.

No breakfast, feed the children, skip emptying the dishwasher, make myself look presentable, out the door, into the car (we’re late, can you PLEASE get into the carseat?!), to school, to work, deep breaths as I pull into the parking lot. Park, walk, into the office, sit.

Did I choose the right thing to wear? I’m underdressed. No, I’m overdressed. Shoot, forgot mascara this morning. Wearing too much eyeliner. This isn’t a flattering shirt on me, why would I possibly have picked this one?! Everyone’s looking at me. They’re all thinking that this isn’t a flattering shirt on me.

And right here — right here is where I reach the point of choice.

Option 1: Allow my brain to continue the way it’s going. Down a path of anxiety, of fear, of insecurity. A path of questioning every single decision and every thing I didn’t even know was a thing.

Option 2: Take a step back. BREATHE. Gayatri Mantra. Stretch. Drink water. Progressive muscle relaxation. Essential oils. Sunlight. A walk. A break. Downward dog. A decaf half sweet vanilla latte. Scribbling positive affirmations in my journal. Calming music. A moment (literally, ONE MINUTE) of meditation.

I choose Option 2.

I breathe.

I sit up straight.

I get present in the moment, ground, focus on my senses.

I break down the tasks into manageable chunks. Bite sized pieces.

One at a time… one thing after another. I gain momentum. I check things off my list. I move through my day with accomplishment, one thing after the other.

5 pm.

Get up, to the car, home, dinner, child-wrangling, brush teeth, read books, no you can’t have a THIRD piece of cheese, goodnight, finish cleaning the kitchen, to bed.

See, here’s the thing. We are always at a place of choice.

We CAN control how we respond to our own thoughts.

We CAN control whether we use our coping mechanisms.

We CAN control whether we take the medications that are prescribed to us.

We CAN control how much caffeine and alcohol we drink, how much sleep we get, what we feed our bodies, how much we move in a day.

And with time, with practice, with intention — we CAN control our anxiety.

We may not be able to choose the cards that we are dealt. But we certainly do get to choose how we play them.