play anxiety away

Improv for The Marilyn Denis Show

What happens when you email your anxiety class students and ask them to be on national TV, playing silly games, in the middle of a workday, on two days’ notice? Well, if they’ve done improv, apparently they say “Yes!” “And… “ they’ll even be interviewed!

I’m always a little nervous about being on TV, but it helps to have a supportive group of friends playing silly games and laughing behind you.

The Work & The Play: Getting Dressed

I was very anxious and depressed, so I did “the work” and it helped. I also joined an improv class and starting doing “the play” and it helped, too. Together they changed my life. Here's the first in a series of ways to work/play in everyday situations.

Getting Dressed. 

Okay, maybe I’m insecure and don’t feel worthy or enough, but if I can dress cool, my hope is that you’ll compliment me and make me feel complete. 


The Work:

Dress wrong. 

Button up your shirt off by one button. Or leave your laces untied. Or wear that shirt with the mustard stain. Practice being imperfect. You’ll spend all day feeling the fear of someone saying something. But they won’t, because they don't want to embarrass you. If they do say something, you can say “How embarrassing, thank you!” and make them feel like a hero. Making others feel like a hero, that’s what heroes do.  


The Play: 

Wear fun socks.

Two different, multi-coloured socks. Wear some with cartoons, or messages on them. For an even more hidden playful side, wear wild underwear. Something to make you feel fun, and it’s just for you, and I guess, anyone that sees your underwear.



The Work & The Play: Getting Out of Bed

I was very anxious and depressed, so I did “the work” and it helped. I also joined an improv class and starting doing “the play” and it helped, too. Together they changed my life. Here are some ways to work/play in everyday situations.

Getting Out of Bed.

If I stay in bed, the day won’t start. Days are so full of potential pain and suffering, and beds are so comfy and warm. Honestly, why would anyone leave here? To pee? I’ll get a bucket. To eat? I’ll order in. To go to work? Pfffft, they’re not paying me enough. Avoidance for the win.

But if you stay in bed long enough, the thoughts will come in about how you’re late for work and you can’t just stay in bed all day and waste your life like a loser with no goals and die a failure all alone, and suddenly the bed is pain, too. Way to ruin beds, brain!


The Work:

Put your alarm out of reach.

You want a practical solution for the struggle to get up? This is it. Force yourself to get up and get that alarm. I’m not saying it’ll put you in a good mood, but you’ll be out of bed. Even just for the amount of time it takes to turn it off and collapse back into bed. Then get annoyed again when you realize you hit snooze instead of turning it off. 


The Play: 

Get up on the wrong side of bed.

When people say, “Someone got out the wrong side of the bed this morning,” they’re referring to grumpy people. But you’ll start your day less grumpy if you get up in a fun way. In fact, get out of the bottom of your bed. Wriggle under the covers until you just fall out the bottom.

Or for bonus points: just stay in bed. 'Cause beds are comfy!




Doing stuff is exhausting.

A lot of people feel like they have to earn their time off. Work hard, then you can have a vacation. I’m not going to argue with that, but I’m going to remind you how much work you do every single day. Let’s take this simple task: You need to get milk.

How I Got Over My Anxiety, Part 5: Improv!

I loved improv the first time I saw it. It never occurred to me that I could ever do it, and if it did occur to me, I was terrified by the idea. But I loved what I saw.