Work can be a really great thing. It keeps you busy, earns you money, and sometimes it is even enjoyable.
Unfortunately, I have learned that working while dealing with an anxiety disorder can be… tough.
Anxiety is normal. But many people do not realize that extreme internal anxiety can have very physical reactions:
- Aches and pains in the body
- Difficulty focusing
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings
- Stomach issues
- Excessive sweating
These reactions can be embarrassing, tiring, and often make it difficult to complete work that needs to be done. So what can we do?
Every person is different and I am no expert, but here are some of the things have helped me to deal with my anxiety in the workplace:
- Do not ignore feelings of anxiety. Ignoring anxiety is like prepping a bomb- and you never know when it is going to go off. This is a very bad idea in the workplace.
- Always keep snacks on hand. “Hanger” is a real thing. I have always heard that when you feel a panic attack coming on that you should check to see if you are hungry.
- Let out negative feelings right after work. Make that your time to decompress. Don’t ignore it and accidentally break down in the middle of work.
- Get plenty of sleep! I love to stay up late, but when I am stressed I know that I need to get to bed extra early and take naps so that I can do the necessary things during the day.
- Listen to your body. Rest. Skip a day of exercise. Or go exercise. Eat a salad, protein, or candy bar. Your body knows what you need.
- Don’t give yourself too much to do outside of work. When work is overwhelming it’s important to make your life at home as stress free as possible. Having too much on your to-do lists at home and work is a recipe for disaster.
- Drink plenty of water. This not only helps your body function properly, but it also gives you some alone time in the bathroom. 😉
- Keep medication on hand. While I personally don’t like to take medication more than I need to, there have been many times where I have wished that I had brought a Tylenol to work so that I could get through the end of the work day. I also try to keep a couple of my prescription pills in my purse in case I forget to take it.
- Give yourself something to look forward to every day. Sounds silly, but it works! Whenever a work day seems like too much to bear, I make sure that I have something relaxing or fun planned afterwards so I can be happy with my day.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. While there are occasionally people that are inconsiderate, I am certain that there is someone at your job that is either willing to help you out, cover for you, or just provide some comfort. Don’t be afraid to ask.
- If your job is really insensitive to your anxiety or it has just become too difficult to function, start looking for new opportunities. Work is important, but your sanity is WAY more important.
The truth is that I am not the best at dealing with my anxiety, but I want to get better. Writing these points of reference down helps me to remember them and focus on what I am in control of. Please give me suggestions if you have any!