A Work in Progress: Giving Yourself Space for Anxiety

This week I decided to try working with my anxiety, instead of against it. Whenever something in my day went wrong, I let myself feel whatever emotional reaction I was having rather than getting angry with myself for not just “being okay”.

I tried understanding that things won’t always go the way that I want them to and I tried to roll with the punches and go with the flow. So after my food processor exploded and threw frozen banana bits and soy milk all over my kitchen, I took a breath, and laughed. When the locker room at my gym was closed due to “an incident” after I had just finished an hour long, sweaty workout, I found myself imaging what could possibly have happened for them to have to spray cleaner inside every locker and close the entire space (I was confused and didn’t know it was closed so I was awkwardly standing in there watching them). Then I spent the entire day in sweaty gym clothes because I couldn’t change or shower, and I felt extremely uncomfortable, awkward, and icky with myself. This all happened in one day. Yesterday. And now it’s 7:50am and I’m getting ready to go take another another day of small inconveniences with a deep breath and a smile. Obviously I can’t always react this way to the small things that upset me and accumulate into severe anxiety, but I can work on giving myself space to be anxious, upset, or whatever else my natural response is. I am a work in progress and I can’t keep expecting myself to be perfect and then feeling disappointed with myself when I’m not.

Katharine Hannah

Chicago, IL

Katharine’s work has graced the walls of institutions such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Harold Washington Library of Chicago, and local galleries such as Dreambox Gallery, Siragus Gallery and Blick Art Materials. She has also been featured on websites such as the Huffington Post, Phlearn, Fstoppers, Tigress Magazine for Girls, Bitchtopia, and Golden Boy Press.

In addition to photography, Katharine has been a mentor and educator in the arts since 2013. She has worked with students in various organizations and projects over the last two years, including Hive Chicago’s PROjectUS initiative and Digital Youth Network’s Digital Diva’s and Chicago City of Learning programs.