When I am feeling anxious I

  • plan out knitting projects. I sort through my bins or bags until I come up with yarn I want to use for something, then I scroll through Ravelry for a couple of hours looking at patterns, projects, and notes, hoping for the right combination of fit and enjoyable process. I don’t normally knit right after this.
  • budget my next check(s). I have extensive post-it notes with all the dates of my incoming paychecks and my debts/bills and when I am anxious about money I will often do some sums and project when something will be paid off or when I might be able to afford the next major project.
  • spend money on things I don’t need. Diametrically opposed to the item above, if I have just had a budget blow of some kind (lost a gig or some of a gig, had to …say… buy a REFRIGERATOR or STOVE out of the blue) then I tend to go on comparatively small, but still bullshit, spending sprees. I will buy a pair of those shoes I’ve had my eye on but can’t wear until summer but they’re on sale right now. I will decide that if I have to buy driveway gravel, by god I’m getting teal blue velvet curtains, too. This is a stress response that is as genetic as my nearsightedness.
  • eat everything. Not everything. But everything chocolatey or cheese flavored. Everything that carby and pillowy like brioche or soft pretzel.
  • cry. Oh, boy do I cry. I have cried so much over so many days that I’ve ended up with inflamed tear ducts. I’ve howled at plains and mountains and bedbugs and adcomms and the untouchable injustices of the long-gone past. I’ve cried on the phone to customer service representatives who are very sorry but that’s just the policy. I’ve cried to my mother and a very few close friends who I trust with my illogical fears.
  • clean things. Especially if I am supposed to be writing or grading freshman papers, it will suddenly occur to me that my moral turpitude is writ large by the heft of the laundry pile or the texture of the unswept floor.
  • knit. my unfinished sweaters are sometimes nothing but potential creativity, just waiting patiently for my attention, and other times, they are a dog whistle singing my failures to budget, prioritize, and reduce consumption to all my enemies.

What I’d like to do when I’m anxious:

  • walk or run somewhere and then back.
  • write.
  • stretch and then nap, preferably with a cat.
  • make a to-do list of three things I can do besides worry for the next 60 mins. And then do them.
  • read some poetry.

Today I learned that snakes and fish can continue to twitch long, long, long after “death,” and that scientists have found microbes on mice skin that help promote healing.