Where does anxiety come from? Does it come from a big event? Does it come from some great existential crisis? Or does it come from an accumulation of little things?
Something occurred to me yesterday. I was looking at my car and noticed the damaged decal that had been on my car since the last devastating winter here in Chicago. It’s supposed to be a silhouette of a person walking a t-rex. I’ve been meaning to have it removed since it was decapitated during one of my many scraping-the-back-window events. But alas, it lasted through spring and summer this year, only to have me staring at it with continued disapproval. It’s a small thing.
Then there’s the fact that I’ve been wanting to iron my shirts. The ironing board and iron have been set up in my room waiting for it for more than a few weeks.
Or the list of small things I have waiting for me at home.
Or the lawn that has needed mowing for more than a week.
Anxiety doesn’t come from the big stuff; it comes from the accumulation of those stupid little things that we neglect as our days move forward. They build up, and then like the huge enormous job that we had to take care of, these small tasks build up to become an unmanageable mass. Oh, where do we begin?!
In taking care of a lot of these “small” tasks, I felt a relief. Granted, these little things weren’t on my mind except when I saw them. In seeing them however, it immediately triggered the anxiety. Now that they are gone? I feel a sense of accomplishment. And it frees up my headspace for more things.
Take care of those small tasks. Don’t put them off if it can be avoided. Do them when you think of them or write them down so that you remember to get them at the earliest chance. It will make a huge difference.
Featured image by Jeremy C Kester.