So you found a job that you love. It’s exhilarating, fast-paced, trendy, and an atmosphere you are ecstatic to be a part of. You’ve worked so hard to get there and as you look around, absorbing the office, the people, and the energy that fills the halls, you think to yourself, “I could get used to this.”
And then your anxiety kicks in.
Even in our best moments, this small spectacle of evil can come creeping up on you. It’s something you’ve dealt with for a long time now. However, it seems to bother you a little more now that you are in a professional atmosphere. There is more stress, pressure, and factors that trigger anxiety to be heightened due to the circumstances and expectations.
For those who deal with anxiety on a daily basis know that a simple “take a deep breath” or “clear your mind,” will never be good advice. Everyone receives waves of anxiety which is natural. There are others, however, who tend to get less of a break from their brain sending these signals to the nervous system. This is when anxiety plays more of a role in their everyday lives and is something they actually battle with, otherwise known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD.) These people feel anxious more often, have fears that arise from small situations, and can often show physical symptoms, as well.
According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA,) the following are symptoms of GAD:
- Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep)
From a working girl in NYC, surrounded by brilliant minds and endless work to be done, I’m here to tell you that you can fight this. Anxiety is only a part of you, not all of you.
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Here is how to handle anxiety in a fast-paced career:
Own Up To It
Yes, this is the classic admitting you have a problem step, but it is crucially important. I used to tell myself that I didn’t suffer from anxiety, that I was just overreacting and preferred to ignore it. I believed that if I handled it this way, it would go away. That just wasn’t the case.
Own your anxiety and know it probably isn’t going anywhere. You can always gradually step away from feeling anxious but you have to accept that it is a part of your life and you have to address it, not ignore it.
When things are hectic at work, make an extra effort to stay on top of things. Write as much down as you need to in order to fully understand an assignment. Ask as many questions as possible for you to understand what your boss wants you to do. Talk it out with them, or just with yourself, to fully grasp what it is that you are responsible for.
When you study your tasks and fully understand the expectations, your anxiety will naturally be submissive. An anxiety-induced mind will tend to have mini panic attacks and jumble together all the information when it thinks it’s been given too much at once. Organize everything mentally and transcribe that to your post-its, agendas, Google Docs and anywhere else helpful.
This is important. I used to think breaks were overrated because I would rather just get the work done instead of pushing it off longer. When it comes to a serious work atmosphere where you want to produce the best results possible, breaks are a a must.
If you want to stay refreshed and on your game, breaking away from the desk every once in a while, will allow you to do so. Take a walk, grab a sandwich or a smoothie, or call your best friend for five minutes. Take these small breaks and you’ll find that you are more awake, less stressed, and re-energized to tackle the rest of the day’s work.
This is my best advice for a combination of mental and physical release. I used to think that yoga was boring, pointless, and not engaging at all. That was only because I hadn’t tried it, but I was so wrong.
Yoga is now something I try to do once or twice a week. Not only is it a fantastic workout for your entire body between a toning and stretching standpoint, but it relaxes your mind like you wouldn’t believe. Yoga focuses so much on energy, being in-tune with your body, and concentrating on happy thoughts. No room for anxiety here.
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Be honest if you have been given too much to handle. We all want to be headstrong career-focused professionals, but there is such thing as having too much on your plate. Take on only what you can handle and maybe a little more to challenge yourself, but don’t let your work suffer because you’re afraid of what people will think. Your boss will admire your insight, concerns and dire need to be the very best at what you do.
You are so capable of anything you put your brilliant mind to. Anxiety who?
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Do you struggle with anxiety at work? How do you cope?