It happens every three months. Super high anxiety levels for just one day. It didn’t used to last for one day; it used to last for a few.

The trigger this time…six uni assignments due in four weeks. My day of anxiety happens when I realise all the due dates collide and I’ve booked in a million extra classes and clients.

I used to work madly on that day of anxiety, sucking every minute out of the day, foregoing eating, my own practice, hell even basic hygiene became a luxury. I questioned my sanity while I ordered takeaway.

It’s taken a journalism degree plus half a science degree to work out what to do. Sit with it.

The same way you sit with someone who’s just lost a loved one. Not talking, not trying, just sitting. Work wise it’s a really unproductive day. I don’t make any headway on assignments. It takes all my sitting to move the anxiety on. Not to revisit until next semester.

Then an enlightening conversation with someone made me realise what I’m doing is not actually sitting but defragging.

Defragmentation.  To rearrange the files on a hard disk for faster data access. After the files are removed, the operating system fills the space systematically with the newly arranged files. The process attempts to create space by compaction, in order to reduce the amount of unorganisation.

So now I don’t have a day of anxiety. I have a day of defragging.

At some point the defragging works and the feeling passes. It seems to pass quicker just by acknowledging it’s happening. I’m down to one day from three. Perhaps defragging will only take half an hour by the end of my degree.

This quarterly reminder is also really insightful for how I teach. This is how some people live most of their days, defragging. Trying to create a more ordered, harmonious and efficient way of being.

After my day of defragging, I start to do just one thing at a time. The same thing a computer does. An efficient computer, moving quickly from one thing to the next boasting super fast transition times.

I now welcome my next defrag day, sometime in October by my calculations. A day to clear out the crap, reorganise and carry on. It’s really nice to know anxiety has a purpose, that something useful comes out of it.

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