Through therapy, reframing, meditation and a lot of self-care, I can confidently say that I am down to 0-1 panic attacks a year. What I have yet to completely overcome is my time anxiety — the feeling that there is not enough time and/or that I am not doing enough.
This very thorough article on Fast Company did a great job of explaining the different types of time anxiety and strategies for coping. Here are my own — seemingly effective — strategies that get me through the days panic attack free:
Daily time anxiety: This is the feeling of never having enough time in your day. You feel rushed. Stressed. Overwhelmed.
Strategy: I've completely abandoned the concept of "maximizing" my day. I use a pen-and-paper task list and I ask myself "What is the one task that will make tomorrow easier for me?" and I mark that one task a priority with a ^ or an exclamation point. Everything else is low priority — most tasks usually get crossed off — but I act as if there is no urgency and therefore less stress.
Future time anxiety: These are the "What ifs?" that ravage your brain. You feel paralyzed thinking through everything that may or may not happen in the future depending on your actions today.
Strategy: I keep a digital "Worry About it Later" list in my phone where I add whatever I am worried or anxious about in the moment and then I forget it. Anytime I add something new I reread my past worries and if they no longer matter (which is always) I apply the
strikethrough style. I am growing a beautifully long list of crossed-out things that don't matter. (I previously shared this tip in Recomendo)
Existential time anxiety: This is the overall anxiety of only having a limited time to live your life. No matter how much you race ahead or push forward, there's only one finish line.
Strategy: Normalize death and dying. I lost someone I love very much last year and was able to spend his last few days and hours with him bedside. Some people say nothing can prepare you for that moment, but that's not true. I google searched the crap out of the "hospice experience" and read articles and books about death and grief, like the The Five Invitations. But my favorite tool is WeCroak, which is an app inspired by Bhutanese culture who believe you can attain more happiness by contemplating death five times a day.