Join Our Community of Dog Lovers

Champion of My Heart is an award-winning dog blog. We've created many important resources that people from all over the world continue to access. Like this post? Get an email alert when new content goes live by subscribing. Plus, look for info on sales and bonus discounts from our affiliates.


Subscribe !

Insights on Panic

A revelation sprouted from the non-stop stress here at Chez Champion of My Heart. An insight into panic and frustration and fearful dogs poked me square in the noggin when I unexpectedly flipped out recently and saw the parallels to what life is often like for dear, sensitive Lilly. You know how I sometimes gripe about how Lilly’s behavior flashes and catches me off guard? Well, these days, I feel something similar come over me, and I never see it coming. Maybe that’s how it is for Lilly, too.

My generous, sympathetic friends keep asking me what they can do to help as I navigate some crazy-crazy stress. Since A) I’m not good at asking for help, and B ) I can never think of anything in the moment, I have taken up very few offers (so far).

Because here is the thing: I often don’t know what I need until the very moment I flip out and need it. And, since every single person in my life who typically fills any void on a moment’s notice is in crisis themselves (hence my own tangential crises), it leaves a girl feeling really quite alone.

Granted, I don’t fling myself to the ground and refuse to move, as Lilly is known to do. But, I do find myself being a bit short tempered, a bit impatient, and a tad moody. Perhaps our darling black-and-white girl comes to her snarkiness naturally.

And, perhaps, the same basic methods I use to keep Lilly calm and happy and functioning will work for me as well. That includes:

  • Resetting my stress level as often as necessary
  • Cutting myself some serious slack
  • Anticipating scenarios likely to set me off and adjusting accordingly
  • Giving myself space (be it from noise, people, places, etc.)
  • Taking real breaks, outside daily norms, to regenerate coping stores

Since I don’t suppose anyone wants to follow me around and feed me chocolate as a reward, I’ll have to plan some breaks in advance so that I can avoid (we hope) a full-on shutdown.

This week such strategies include absolutely making time for long walks with Lilly no matter the weather or my looming work deadlines, doing some restorative yoga first thing in the morning or before dinner to realign ye old bod and sagging spirit, and scheduling little events with friends to combat this lonely girl thing I’ve got going.

I figure those things are a bit more constructive the my new urge to shop (a lot) and my usual vice … to eat (more than I should).

Friday, Lilly and I have a date with a neighbor to walk around lunchtime. We may even see if we can take Toby (the new doodle puppy in the valley) with us. I called over the other day to see if he could come along, but his family was headed out.

There is also a new spa at one of the mountain town casinos over the hill. The prices are a bit silly, but the hotel has a really good buffet, so I’m hoping to schedule massages and maybe a lunch out since both of the two-legged peeps here could use a friggin break.

When faced with prolonged and numerous caretaking responsibilities, what have you done to cope? Do tell.

***

Sincere thanks to loyal readers, online friends, and face-to-face pals alike for your concern over my absence in recent weeks after so many years of such regular blogging. Indeed, you can assume that gaps in my usual posting schedule mean any number of things: too busy, too stressed, too tired, etc. Each day, I think I’ll catch up. Many days, I’m just so fried that I call it quits before I manage to bleat out a post.

BUT, today is a better day, after two somewhat “normal” workdays. I have indeed made both my magazine deadlines for the month. I’ve drafted the first two posts of a new (paid) blog that’s set to launch soon, and I’ve sent a new article idea over to my editor at Bankrate.com.

So, I’m going to rough out some posts for the rest of the week, while I have time and energy. Stay tuned.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

MarthaandMe - January 29, 2010

I try to take time for myself, but I also try to keep things in perspective. I remind myself of what I have to be happy about. And I force myself to do fun things sometimes. And I find that laughing is really, really important. Here’s hoping things let up for you very soon

Roxanne Hawn - January 29, 2010

Good point. I know the Myers-Briggs test, but not the Birkman one.

I know for sure that unnecessary noise really sets me off when I’m stressed. And, I come from a big noisy family.

I also know that I’m VERY task oriented, so when things drag on or people make them more complicated than they need to be, I get crabby.

And, even though I’m a screaming extrovert, I find in these stressful times that there are days where any human contact (calls, conversations, etc.) feel like WAY too much effort.

Lately, we can field as many as 30+ phone calls a day. Try getting ANYTHING done when the phone will not stop ringing. (smirk)

KB - January 28, 2010

I went through an absolutely awful time in my life about 15 years ago when I needed both meds and counseling to dig myself out of depression. You’ve hit upon one of the most important things I learned in counseling. My counselor had me write down a list of my favorite things to do and make sure, no matter what, that I found a way to do at least one of them each day. For me, it’s outdoor activity (best with a dog), and I’ll even set my alarm at O’dark hundred and wear a headlamp to fit that into my day. It’s truly the greatest thing that I learned from that crisis.

It sounds like you’re learning a similar type of strategy. It really works. Of course, it doesn’t fix the bad things in your life but it does help you to cope. To help yourself with it, you could write your “one fun thing” that you did that day on the calender each evening.

Keep your chin up. You know – you can even just pick up the phone and rant to me when you feel like it. I’m lonely sometimes now too so we’d be a good pair 🙂

DK Wall & The Thundering Herd - January 28, 2010

The hardest person to read is usually yourself. But we all have certain things that are stress points for ourselves and we all have release valves. Personality tests like Birkman can help pinpoint those.

My biggest stress point is that I hate lack of movement. Thus, a planning meeting – i.e., sitting in a room discussing a strategy – is very stressful for me. I intellectually understand its value, but tough for me to do so. But knowing that means I can go into the room prepared to watch my stress levels.

My biggest need – i.e., stress reliever – is outdoor activity. So on a day of meetings, I take the time to get outside and walk – even if for only 15 minutes.

The key is that everyone is different about their needs and stresses.

DK Wall & The Thundering Herd - January 28, 2010

The hardest person to read is usually yourself. But we all have certain things that are stress points for ourselves and we all have release valves. Personality tests like Birkman can help pinpoint those.

My biggest stress point is that I hate lack of movement. Thus, a planning meeting – i.e., sitting in a room discussing a strategy – is very stressful for me. I intellectually understand its value, but tough for me to do so. But knowing that means I can go into the room prepared to watch my stress levels.

My biggest need – i.e., stress reliever – is outdoor activity. So on a day of meetings, I take the time to get outside and walk – even if for only 15 minutes.

The key is that everyone is different about their needs and stresses.

DK Wall & The Thundering Herd - January 28, 2010

The hardest person to read is usually yourself. But we all have certain things that are stress points for ourselves and we all have release valves. Personality tests like Birkman can help pinpoint those.

My biggest stress point is that I hate lack of movement. Thus, a planning meeting – i.e., sitting in a room discussing a strategy – is very stressful for me. I intellectually understand its value, but tough for me to do so. But knowing that means I can go into the room prepared to watch my stress levels.

My biggest need – i.e., stress reliever – is outdoor activity. So on a day of meetings, I take the time to get outside and walk – even if for only 15 minutes.

The key is that everyone is different about their needs and stresses.

DK Wall & The Thundering Herd - January 28, 2010

The hardest person to read is usually yourself. But we all have certain things that are stress points for ourselves and we all have release valves. Personality tests like Birkman can help pinpoint those.

My biggest stress point is that I hate lack of movement. Thus, a planning meeting – i.e., sitting in a room discussing a strategy – is very stressful for me. I intellectually understand its value, but tough for me to do so. But knowing that means I can go into the room prepared to watch my stress levels.

My biggest need – i.e., stress reliever – is outdoor activity. So on a day of meetings, I take the time to get outside and walk – even if for only 15 minutes.

The key is that everyone is different about their needs and stresses.

Maery - January 28, 2010

Sounds like you have a good plan and that some things at least are working out. The caretaking thing is tough.

Comments are closed