Last night, I got caught up in a big worry fest about the future of Catarina. I was questioning everything and drowning myself in thoughts about something completely out of my control. This isn’t the first time but it was the first time in a long time that I’ve been this worried. I was worried about my relationship status, my twenties ending, my visa status, my health, my finances, and everything in between.
Then I took a walk. I won’t say it solved my worries but it eased them and helped me realize a few things. The future is so unpredictable that worrying about it now, especially while I’m enjoying myself in this beautiful country, will do no good. I feel like a broken record sometimes so I’ve come up with a few coping strategies.
1. I write myself an email to the future on a site called FutureMe.org. It’s fun to get emails from myself with simple reminders about life and the lessons I need to keep top of mind. You can send something as far into the future as 15 years, I believe, or as short as a few days. I shoot for 30 or 60 day intervals and I keep the lessons short and sweet. And I use specific examples.
2. I pick a project and I finish it. The sense of accomplishment boosts my confidence and projects keep my mind from wandering. It helps that I have a Pinterest board full of DIY projects awaiting my ambitions. This week, I’m making a lampshade with maps.
3. I practice gratitude. Throughout the month of November I tweet one thing I’m grateful for each day. It could be as simple as my headphones in a crowded place or as significant as family and friends.
4. Speaking of friends, I have two close friends back in the States that I ping often to talk out challenges like this. They are always good people to offer tips and they know me so well that I don’t feel like I’m explaining myself over and over to someone new. And I trust they will tell me like it is.
I’ve recognized that although some worries are ridiculous I’ve learned that worry can be a good thing sometimes too. It helps me pay my bills on time and helps me stay on my toes if I’m caught in an emergency situation. It’s the bad worry, the worry that gives me the shakes and that causes my blood pressure to skyrocket, that needs adjustment sometimes. But not all worry is bad.
Above all, I’m lucky to have a partner who knows just how to calm my worries and bring me back from the universal spin. And I’m happy that my biggest stressors these days are things like having too much sand in my shoes or how annoying parking is in downtown Wellington. It could be far worse.