I’ve been dealing with anxiety for a while now, and always struggled with it when I was working. But when looking for support, everything I found was about stress in the office, mothers of two beating 3PM exhaustion, and all assumed I was older and my anxiety was only at work.
Well, none of that helped me much. So here are some tips that did. Unless you’re a mother of two working for Stackswell and Co, this could be a little more useful for you too.
A lot of the time, anxiety at work is because the situation in front of you is super stressful, and you can’t walk away from it. This gets hard when you’re dealing with customers, or if your boss is around, or even just haven't got time for a break.
Tip #1: Breathing
It sounds way too simple to work, but it does. I practiced it a bit outside of work, before bed or first thing in the morning. A lot of people do this right before starting yoga too.
Place your hand over your belly. Inhale for 6 seconds, inflating your stomach, stretching your muscles, exhale for the same amount of time. Feel your stomach deflate, and your muscles relax. Find a rhythm and time that works best for you. I used to practice at work too, during my breaks or on quiet shifts.
It helps to control how quickly and hard I'm breathing, which usually gets out of control when I’m feeling anxious. It also feels kind of cleansing, like it’s distributing the stress around my body.
TIP #2: AFFIRMATIONS
I know, this sounds like some corny self help book. But it really works! It’s about self love and giving yourself something else to focus on. Basically, you just look in the mirror and find a phrase that rings true for you. Some of my favourites are:
“I am a good person”
“I deserve to be happy”
“People love me, and I love myself”
and, of course,
“I am Beyonce”
Tip #3: Eat healthy
A healthy breakfast and heaps of hydration really do give you a solid start for the day. I know not everyone can do this, but for me at least it makes the world of difference. If it's an option for you, try it out!
Tip #4: Give it a structure
Figure out what kind of structure you like. For me when I was working as a cashier it was every half an hour I would do some breathing exercises, and if I could, walk around the store a little. Sort of paced out the day, gave tangible markers that time was passing and made the day go a whole lot faster.
Tip #5: Give yourself a goal
When I got anxiety attacks I found that focusing on a goal could help keep me going. It didn’t have to be exactly related to what I’m doing, either. Like, I have a fantastically awkward sense of humour, so I kept a score of every bad pun I made, and how many customers I could make laugh. When they laugh, you laugh back. The smiles always made me feel better.
These aren’t all your options though! Try new things. It could take a bit for you to find your rhythm, and if you’re not coping there’s nothing bad about taking the time for yourself. You deserve good mental health, and take all the time you need for that.
The lovely artwork is also thanks to our gorgeous Indigo!