Panic attacks, day jobs and effort where it really matters

It’s ironic, or perhaps apt, that the month where I focus on work has been the one where my body finally rebels against doing too much. I’ve been having what I assume to be panic attacks after filling my day to the brim or rushing around. In fact they’ve even been happening when I start thinking about doing too much. I’ve been left feeling faint and tired on many occasions and, yes, I’ve been forced to rest. This month has been hard, but it’s given me real time to evaluate. I’ve learned that less is more, the effort I put into my day-jobs does matter and sometimes effort where it matters is to rest.

Learning from panic attacks

Feeling faint and having to be sent home from work isn’t nice and made me feel like my body was failing me. For a moment I was mad at my body, then I remembered to listen to it. Once I sat down and thought about it I realised that once again I’d been spreading myself too thin trying to keep powering forwards with everything.

This never used to happen, and I started thinking perhaps I’m not as strong as I used to be. But actually I think it’s because of this very process of change I’ve entered into that this has started to happen. I want to change my life for the slower, and happier. I think my body has started tuning into its natural, slower, rhythm and rejecting my old ways.

Effort where it really matters

One of this month’s happiness project resolutions is “effort where it really matters”. I’d been thinking about this as only putting my effort into what is really meaningful to me, and directly furthering my dream career. Stuff like the paid casual work I do wasn’t meaningful because I was just doing it to make some money. This is why I filled my day doing meaningful stuff, rushed to work and had to go home feeling faint. I hadn’t given myself time to rest, and I hadn’t given my paid work the credit it deserves.

What I’ve realised now is that my paid (non-freelance) work is meaningful to me. It’s bringing me a bit of extra money that I need to not totally freak out about my financial situation. This week I’ve been giving my paid work the space it needs. If I’m working in the evening, I make sure to give myself enough time off during the day.

I also have to acknowledge that sometimes effort where it matters is taking time off. Being productive all the time isn’t the way to change, move forward and work towards your goal. We need the time off to re-charge, to think and to avoid having panic attacks.


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