An eventful morning: Short Fic Friday

As Marley walked through the parking garage someone locked their car with a beep that made her jump and pin her purse tighter against her ribs. She bounced in her step to hide her nerves. There were footsteps behind her, brisker and longer than hers so she sped up. She could see a man’s reflection in the glass door. He was handsome and searching his suit pockets with fervor.

Marley held the first door open for him. It was the polite thing to do.

“Thank you,” the man said, smiling directly at her.

“Yeah,” Marley replied under her breath. And then the second door, God. She quickened her step, swung it open.

“Thanks.”

Marley didn’t say anything this time, just shrugged under her purse strap. Now the stairs. She hustled up one flight and turned left, thankfully he turned right. She sighed and slowed her pace, let her shoulders down.

Coffee, light roast. Perfect. A bagel, no, someone’s waiting at the toaster…a corn muffin is fine. She paid for her handfuls of Styrofoam and headed down the hallway to the right, to the office.

The man appeared from the office. He smiled, but they were too far away from each other to say hello, so Marley looked under her arm and into her purse. Her hands were shackled by her breakfast and shook the restraints. Closer, closer.

“Good morning,” he said as he passed her, but a moment too late. Marley turned her head and muttered a syllable in reply, quiet enough that he likely didn’t even hear her. She glanced in a reflective window as she passed it. Her shirt, flowing and far too bright. Her shoes, too cute for her big feet. Her hair was messed and there was a zit on her cheek that wasn’t visible in the dark glass but was red and unsightly in a mirror. Marley could hear her heart beat in her forehead and tinnitus singing in her sinuses.

Ah, her desk, her little cubicle. She thanked the powers that be that her cubicle walls were the tall kind. No one could see her unless they happened to walk behind her. A secret square in the middle of the office. She sipped her coffee. What an eventful morning. Hopefully the rest of the day wouldn’t be so—

The phone rang. Marley flinched, spilling her coffee. It’s one of those days, then.

Top 5 ways of dealing with anxiety

 

As a person who deals with anxiety on a pretty regular basis, I know how hard it can be to deal with it. When there’s no bathroom stall to hide in, or blankets to cover your face with, you can feel trapped, panicky, and like you’re losing control.

I’ve collected here a list of my top 5 helpful things when you feel anxious, whether you suffer from deep anxiety or are merely a little unsettled. I hope it can help!:

5. Becoming mindful of my body and my environment. This is the newest one I’ve found; it’s a type of meditation you can do at any time, no matter where you are. Allow yourself to feel the chair you’re sitting in, to hear every sound in the office, to smell the world around you. Do a mental scan of your body, take note of every ache, itch, and sensation. Becoming aware of how you fit in the world helps you feel more connected to it. This site is great for guided meditations like this: http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22

4. A calmer task. When I have homework piling, I often like to take a break to freshen up my makeup. Obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone, but doing my makeup is a calming task that allows me to let my mind take a break. It’s also a great way to get my eyes off a computer screen and let my hands do some work. Doing a task that is still productive (ie, not watching television. Something like knitting or playing a sport) for a few minutes but isn’t the stressor can help you reset. These two websites are less productive than knitting or so, but are still calming and may help if you just need to turn your brain off for awhile: Silk: http://weavesilk.com/

Line 3D: http://www.barcinski-jeanjean.com/entries/line3d/

3. Talking it through. Whether a long rant to my mom over the phone or a brief pep talk to my mirror, talking out loud can help relieve the stress. Someone who will listen without telling you you’re being unreasonable or too worrisome would be best. Even just listing to yourself what is stressful can help you put your thoughts in order. If you have no one to talk to, try this site: http://www.7cups.com/talk-to-someone-about-anxiety/

If you really need someone professional to talk to, try this:  https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/

2. Staying organized. When tasks keep getting put on my desk one after another, it makes me want to crawl under said desk and hide for days. Having a to do list helps a million—I like to put a star next to the items I have to get done today, and then number them in order of importance. It helps me realize how much I really have to do, and how much can wait until later. I use an app for this: Productive. It allows you to check off events throughout the day, even things you might not think of, like eating fruit or checking your posture.

1. Deep breathing and meditation. The best part about deep breathing is that you can do it all the time, without anyone noticing. Stressed during a meeting? Stressed in the subway? Deep breathing is your friend. If you have a bit of time, meditation is like deep breathing to the max, helping to relax you from the inside out. I have this amazing, free app on my phone called Pacifica that uses guided meditation and pleasant sound-scapes to help you relax. There is also a deep breathing activity that simply helps your breathing stay constant. You can plug it into your headphones wherever you are to help you calm down.

Of course, sometimes none of these work, and anxiety takes over. Whatever you do when anxious, even if nothing helps, know that you are not alone. There are millions of people dealing with anxiety all over the world. If you have extended period of anxiety or feel anxious often, and want to learn more, go to http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml