ready to run: how not to panic when everything seems crazy

beachBMW_katespade

photo: Kate Spade

this is me. in my happy place. with my sweet vintage Beemer, a jaunty Kate Spade (i think i actually do have that one) and the freedom of some amazing journey sans any set schedule or responsibility ahead of me. i’ve been going here in my head a lot lately in light of a kind of insane set of circumstances and deadlines at work and a ridiculously full schedule at home, to boot. more and more often, lately i catch myself thinking about how we can sell everything and just move to the beach or wondering how globe-trotting celebrities educate their children, you know, because clearly, we are on the cusp of winning the lottery and will want to follow suit.

obvs, when faced with adversity and the choice of fight or flight, fantasies of flight are my first go-to. after i get through the panic though, i pretty much without fail go ahead and fight the thing head on and everything turns out okay. but whoa. those moments of panic. how do you not let them consume you? how do you not just say “fuck it all,” grab your Kate Spade and hit fifth all the way to the nearest beach? this is what helps me:

have faith

in god or the universe or simply the fact that nothing lasts forever*. believing in something bigger than this completely f-ed up moment you’re in really helps you to know you can get through it.

take a broader view

if you can’t realize that, in the scheme of things, unless someone is dying, it’s probably all gonna be okay, um . . . you probably need more help than i have for you here. we invoke this “broader view” rule in advertising all the time. you know. because when all those advertising emergencies happen, we act like we’re living a freaking episode of ER. and guess what. nobody ever died from a missed deadline or a typo that went to print. so step back, look at how this panic-inducing moment truly, unless someone is dying, is probably not the worst thing that has ever happened to you . . . even that day . . . and you will get through it.

stay in the moment

it’s tough when every bone in your body just wants to escape this moment — by running away, hiding under the covers or jumping into a bottle of wine. but you gotta hang in there and be present so you can gather your strength and your smarts and figure the quickest, most painless solution to your problem. when you can separate the emotions of the situation from the facts about what is actually happening, the steps to the way out tend to appear. take them one by one, staying in each moment, and you’ll suddenly realize you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

tap friends amp; family for help

everybody needs a vent squad. your closest friends and family hate a serial complainer (don’t you, too?). but in my experience, when you really need them, they’re there — because they also love you and don’t want to see you miserable. when you really need an ear, some advice or a hug, hit up the best qualified people you know to give you some peace of mind. for me, my mom is usually the person with the insight into me, my world and the world to tell me if my panic is legit and help me figure out a game plan to get through it.

*nothing lasts forever

this, too, shall pass. this simple mantra is a basic tenet of enlightenment. it sucks, i know. but change is the only truly true thing in life. so whatever the panic-inducing it is, something different is going to happen tomorrow, or maybe even in the next 10 minutes. prepare, power through and chill as best you can ’til whatever is next comes around.

(a response to The Daily Post’s prompt, panic.)

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