A Lesson for the Anxious from Schitt’s Creek: What People Might Think

by: Danielle Ternyila

“Trust me, people aren’t thinking about you the way that you’re thinking about you,” Alexis Rose said in the award-winning Netflix series Schitt’s Creek.

As someone suffering anxiety constantly, this motivating quote hit home in a real way. Her adult brother David is a nervous wreck over taking his driving test, and she explains it this simply: no one is thinking about you the way you’re thinking about you.

Anxiety has this terrible way of convincing us of the worst and overthinking everything. I often spend more time stressing over every detail of my life; I can get so caught up in “they’re going to think this about me” and “this is not what they want me to do,” but the truth is no one cares more about myself than me. I am my biggest critic, just like you your own and David his.

David’s driving test was causing him so much stress and anxiety because he was worried about passing, failing, letting the driving instructor down, or just doing it all wrong. Alexis reminds him he is the toughest on himself, which feels matter-of-fact to her, someone who does not often second-guess herself or question her worth. David fires back that she doesn’t know what it’s like to be him, and he rattles off reasons things are “easier” for Alexis. These are all excuses in David’s mind, though, that he uses as a coping mechanism when things feel hard for him.

It’s easy to be on the outside looking in, and we see this when David tells Alexis her life is so easy. Our anxious minds aren’t going to tell you everyone struggles and it’s hard for us all; we don’t know what battles others are going through, so it’s just easier and more common to assume they just don’t have any.

David puts this new knowledge to the test when he gets in the car with the driving instructor, and he asks how much the guy really cares about David’s driving. Turns out, he was hardly paying attention, he was really longing to make his DJ side gig his career, and no, he didn’t care how well or bad David did and how David presented himself.

We are so afraid to be judged, yet here David realizes that that he was so nervous to impress someone who didn’t even look at him during his test, let alone judge him. From my anxiety-ridden perspective, it’s important to see this dialogue we often hear internally and see how it really plays out.

Moral of the story: don’t be so afraid you start holding yourself back. Your anxiety is only mirroring your biggest fears, not reality, and if you still can’t gain control over your mindset in the most stressful moments, then at least binge Schitt’s Creek for a chuckle (advice from a fan.)

Grounding Method: Count Down to Stress Less

by: Danielle Ternyila

Experiencing anxiety is not new, and you’re not the only one feeling like a bundle of stress ready to explode nowadays. No matter what it is you are going through, the best thing you can do is to take care of yourself. Instead of “accepting defeat” against the anxiety and whirlwind of emotions consuming you, focus your attention on things you can do that will help instead of hurt.

Make a conscious decision to do what you can to control yourself and these emotions; ground yourself. Trust me, it sounds so impossible and hard. If you’re thinking “No, I can’t turn it off, the anxiety will never go away,” then take another step back. You can’t think that way or things will never change. Negativity follows negative vibes. To take control of your stress, you first need to accept that you do control this. You have the power to make things better in your life, no one else; they’ve got their own lives to take care of after all.

To gain control in a stressful situation, you can count down with these simple steps, a tried and true coping mechanism for panic attacks and anxiety. Use your 5 senses, counting down from 5, to calm your mind. Your mind may be racing, thinking and worrying over so many things, and I feel you! Now, you can’t turn your brain off, but why not shift gears? Give your mind a new task to clear your thoughts.

Grounding Technique for Stress and Anxiety

5. See – In your head (or out loud if you’re alone and can!), find five things you see. My hands, blinds on the window, a desk plant, blue walls, and a yellow pencil, for example.

4. Touch – Now find four things you can touch. The cotton drawstring on my hoodie, the wooden desk, rubber keyboard protector, and condensation on my water bottle, perhaps.

3. Hear – Name three things you can hear: the air conditioner, birds outside the window, and the neighbor’s car just started

2. Smell – What are two things you can smell? Coconut candle and lemon tea

1. Touch – Finally, think of one thing around you that you could taste (not saying you have to actually taste it). An apple?

It’s that easy! When you go through these simple 5 steps and count down through your senses, you will be able to clear your mind. Whether you’re just a little worried or under stress in a tough situation, this anxiety grounding technique will help you come back to the present and focus on what really matters.

Achieve Your Health Goals Like a Pro

by: Danielle Ternyila

I wish I was the kind of person that meal prepped. I wish I liked salads and healthy foods. I wish I could afford organic ingredients. I wish I had time to cook better meals. I wish there was enough time to go to the gym.

No, you’re not the only one thinking these things and struggling to take back your health for reasons like these. These wishes sound so hopeless, but telling your self any of this is NOT going to make things happen for you. Your health should be your number one priority, above anything else you do, and there is no reason you can’t.

No one is born to meal prep or cook specialty meals. Those people who do, though, actively choose to live that life. They don’t wish for things to happen, they make them happen. And if you have been struggling to get past the wishing and daydreaming, start acting.

We’ve all heard it in so many ways: actions speak louder than words. This is true even in achieving your goals. Telling yourself you can’t do it with these petty wishes and “Debbie Downer” thoughts will never will it to life. You set yourself up for failure every time you talk down about yourself, whether it is in the privacy of your mind, your car, or in a rant to a friend.

The only thing standing in the way of achieving your goals is the excuses you allow yourself to believe. At the end of the day, it is all just that. You don’t like salad is an excuse to eat bad instead. You don’t have time is an excuse to get out of 30 minutes at the gym. You can’t meal prep “right” so you stick to your old unhealthy habits.

Make the decision to follow your dreams. Do what you need to do make them a reality. Go the extra mile, put in the time even when you think you can’t, and tell your mind to “shut up” every time it tells you another excuse.

You can’t just wish for it. You have to work for it. And it never gets easier, you just get stronger!

Conquer the Stress of Back to School

September for most of us is a reminder: back to school!  With that brings a lot of stress for parents. All the extra expenses of school supplies, new clothes and backpacks, getting the kids up early and out the door while still getting to work on time. Add into that the daily fights for homework, showers and bedtimes… Here are some tips for conquering the “Back to School Stress” from a mom who has survived it, 20 years in a row.

The one part of back to school that I enjoyed was the organizing. I am a nut for organizing, and although my kids were not all as enthusiastic about it, I know it made their lives a little easier.  

  • Calendar – One trick I learned was hanging a dry erase calendar in the kitchen. Each family member had a different color marker so we could track activities and appointments, then later as they grew: all the work schedules. There are apps that also will do this and share electronically to all members if that works better for you, but having everyone on board to see what is going on is great.  Often with after school activities, one parent is running around with the kids, so it’s good to be able to look to see where others may be at and when you will get home.  You can also plan in advance when you know days are going to be crazy, so plan an easy dinner or set up a carpool schedule to help.
  • School supplies – The schools have at least gotten better about giving you the list before school begins so you can bargain shop before everything is out of stock. Nothing was worse than the night after the first day of school, everyone is in the store fighting for the last 5-subject notebook.  I know when I would see deals on 1 cent notebooks or dollar store composition books I would buy them to keep for the next year. After school starts if you see the sales, pick up some extra supplies and keep a box in a closet. You will always need extra. 
  • Color coordinate – I would try to color coordinate notebooks & folders for the same subjects for each kid…green would be science, math would be blue, etc. It made it easier for them to grab in their lockers. 
  • Inbox – Have one spot in your home for all papers that you need to see and complete. If you have more than one child, perhaps a wall box with folders for each kid that they can put papers for you to sign and you can put back for them to put back into their bags.
  • Routine – Setting a routine is key to sanity. Setting the expectation with kids is also important. Each kid was different when it came to needs. Some needed more hand holding and some were very independent. So not all routines and expectations are the same. Have a time that homework needs to be done by. My oldest liked to get it done and not think about it about it but my youngest needed down time after school and was better if she did her homework later. A slower schedule, especially if you have more children, will help keep the peace. My youngest, since she was slower in getting ready in the mornings and prefered to sleep as late as possible, would be on a night shower schedule. Right after dinner she needed to get in and get it done, as she also did not like going to bed early so she would drag it out.   Finding what each child needs and how to build a structure for it will make everyone’s lives a little easier.
  • Lunches – One of my least favorite things was the lunches, so everyone knew I would make their lunch with resentment. And it showed.  Since I did not like to prepare lunches, my husband would take that role over for me. He enjoyed making their lunches special by cutting their sandwiches funny or leaving notes for them with a joke or an “I love you”.  This task did not bother him so it worked out better that he would handle that. The key here is to prep the night before instead of waiting for the morning, or delegate.
  • Communication is key – Talk about what is overwhelming you and find a solution. You don’t have to just keep feeling that way. It’s good to talk with the kids on what they can do to help you. It’s also good to talk to them to see if they are feeling overwhelmed and if there are things you can do to help them out too.  Some routines just need adjusting until everyone is in a good place. When something isn’t working, change it up.  Work as a team. There were days when I did not have the patience for the homework sit-down and my husband would take over.  Some tasks were more stressful for me than him so we would work that out.
  • Life/work balance – Set aside some time for yourself, walking with a girlfriend or going out for coffee to just have some “me” time is crucial to the life/work balance. Because let’s face it, being a mom is a full time job so you have to make sure you give yourself time to yourself.

I don’t miss the days of the busy school mornings, shooting like a drill sergeant every morning, get up, get dress, get your shoes on, get your lunch, grab your backpack…lets go out the door. 

September, as I see it, is a time to get back to a schedule. Even though my kids are all adults, I still look forward to getting organized and back on a routine again. We are more than half way through the year, we just made it through the summer. Time to regroup and focus.

Why Not Every One Loves Working Out

by: Danielle Ternyila

If you don’t enjoy working out, you’re doing it wrong. And yes, it IS that easy. If you’re not enjoying working out, you’re just doing it wrong!

Getting into exercising is not as hard as it seems once you find something you love. When you love what you’re doing, you’re going to enjoy it. That’s just fact, but you have to find what you love in the gym; you can’t just call it a day after forcing out an hour on the treadmill.

For me, my fitness journey really started by trying everything available in my gym, which was the best decision I ever made. They had a lot of different classes, so I was able to go and pop in to these weekly and try them out, whether it was yoga, cycling, Zumba, or HIIT (high-intensity interval training), even boxing and trainers who always had great advice when asked. I really didn’t have any experience working out since I never even went to a gym before, so it wasn’t until I started trying all these different workouts that I was able to love working out.

It really did take a while though, and it took a lot of trial and error. It was essential to be open to new experiences, even though I was definitely nervous stepping into a Zumba or CrossFit class, but in the end I ended up finding what I loved. While CrossFit was something that I really enjoyed doing, especially the competitive part of it and how everyday was something new, I also learned that my body was not able to do such intense workouts. I need to keep my heart rate down, so slower workouts are for me. I wouldn’t have learned that if I didn’t try it first, though!

Finding what I actually enjoyed doing in the gym made it my happy place, and now I am able to find the right gyms that best accommodate my routines (like having the right hours because I more often go at night or having multiple locations because I’m always on the go!) I rely on it not only to workout for my health but when I’m stressed or could use a pick-me-up.

I challenge you to try new things and dare to fall in love with the process. Get out of your comfort zone. There are so many programs available for you to try right from your home even! Beach body, for example, offers a number of online programs you can try from home, or you can always check out classes on your nearby gym’s schedule. Try to visit a friend’s gym and try their routine, or drop into a fitness fundraising event! I fell in love with barre classes after stopping in one that a charity was hosting to raise money.

My First Barre Class in 2018

Don’t forget, no one in the gym is watching you! Read more about why the gym may be the safest place from judgement!