Thursday, December 4, 2008

25 Things to Do Instead of Panic About the Recession

If you, like me, like to have a list of things to do to feel more in control, try this one. It is guaranteed to calm your panic. You have enormous resources inside of you; these tips will free up your natural resilience. Work with the list until your panic abates and your resilient self kicks in.


1. Take a deep breath. Then another.

2. Walk outside. Without a coat, just go out and walk around. Smell the air, feel the weather.

3. Make a list of 5 favorite things that you currently have.

4. Make a list of 5 thing you have done that you enjoyed doing; does remembering them make you smile?

5. Write down your favorite color. Wherever you are, find 5 things that are that color and write them down. Describe the actual shade or tint they are in.

6. Look around your house and rearrange one room or nook by bringing in something different or just rearranging what is there - 10 minute time limit.

7. Make a list of 5 people you haven't seen in at least a year. Find their current contact information and send each an e-mail.

8. Who is someone in your profession or area of study that you always wanted to meet? Find their website or blog, get their contact information, and tell them the thing you most admire or appreciate about their work and how it has helped you.

9. Make a list of 5 things you always wanted to do that you keep putting off.

10. Write down one small thing you do exceptionally well with little strain, either at home, in your personal life, or at work. Answer these questions in one sentence each: 1. How did you get the activity rolling? What did you do to keep it rolling? What did you do to overcome obstacles you encountered? How did you bring it to a successful conclusion?

10a. If you liked that, do it a few more times. Look over your answers. What do they tell you about how you are most effective in getting things done?

11. Clean out your car. Wash and wax it yourself. Polish the seats if leather. Vaccuum it out. Treat the wheels and rims. Get rid of all the junk in the trunk.

12. Get a library card.

13. Take out a book that is on a subject related to #3, #4 or #8 above.

14. While you are there, take out a book on feng shui, the art of alignment and placement. Open it at random and implement something from those pages when you go home.

15. Get a small notebook you can carry with you and a pen. Also get a voice recorder (Sansa is a good one). Start blurting out those random thoughts that we all have. Get them out into the fresh air so they can develop.

16. Buy 2 each of three different kinds of apples. Find a simple apple pie recipe on Cut up the apples and put them into a premade crust and bake. While you are enjoying the smell, retain a few slices of each kind of apple and write a review of them as if you were a wine critic. Now come up with a name for your unique apple pie.

17. Make a list 3 things you like to do at work. Not jobs, but activities. What is really fun for you? When do you feel like you are really using what you are all about?

18. Find a wooded area where you can take a walk. Take your voice recorder and your notebook and pen. No agenda. Take a 30 minute walk. Write down anything that you think about.

19. Write down your ideal day. From waking up to having breakfast, to getting into the swing of the day, to eating dinner and activities after dinner, what would be a great day for you?

20. Call up an old friend just for the heck of it to see how he or she is doing.

21. Take that apple pie (or something else) to a neighbor or friend as a surprise. Thank them for something they have done for you.

22. Plan at least 30 minutes to yourself, where you will sit quietly. If you feel the urge to get up and check e-mail or twitter, just sit back down. Have your notebook and recorder at hand.

23. Put up a bulletin board somewhere where you can stick up things that strike you as pretty or meaningful.

24. Make three bins to put your notes in from your notebook and (transcribed from) your recorder: rants/ravings, ideas for work life, ideas for personal life.

25. Make a promise to yourself to keep a copy of this list with you and to PULL IT OUT and do something on it whenever you start to panic. .

If you start to panic again, rinse and repeat. You always have this list to keep your feet on the ground.


Henry Bierce said...

Great advice! I'm adding a link to this article on my blog, Thanks!

Tamar said...

I love the spirit of this article-- don't stop living just because there is a recession!

As an anxiety therapist, I advise my patients to compartmentalize-- spend 5 minutes "worrying" or more adaptively "planning" what to do about the recession, but the rest of the time focus your energies on what you can control.

Tamar Chansky

Susan Kuhn Frost said...

Thanks, Henry and Tamar. I snuck in my personal favorite anti-anxiety strategies: keeping connected to sensory activities, keeping connected with your favorite things, deepening your connection to your social network, and remembering your own pattern of excellence. I think when you do those kinds of things, you spend more time in the moment and less time in "anticipatory anxiety," and you can make it through times like these with your sense of self (if not your wallet!) intact.

Susan Kuhn Frost said...

I just did #8! I e-mailed George Gilder, the architect of supply side economics and told him I'd help him promote a new book on twitter. W00t! It really lifted my spirits.