18 Jun Living With Anxiety
Living with Anxiety, one young woman’s account
I recently worked with a number of young people on the government’s Kickstarter scheme. One of them is Elena Blidaru, who has very bravely volunteered to write here about living with anxiety and what she has found useful.
Elena’s Story of living with anxiety
Life has us going through different situations, and that’s okay. Feeling a little bit nervous is beneficial from time to time, but how does it affect someone when it’s all the time? For a long time, I didn’t even know I had been living with social anxiety my whole life. I brushed it off as just being shy, and I know I can’t be the only one. What helped me is knowing I wasn’t alone. I developed and looked for different little methods to get me a step closer to a healthier frame of mind.
Dealing with anxiety in daily life
Sometimes, funnily enough, your anxiety gives you anxiety. I’ve done my research: breathing techniques and meditation seem to have a positive impact on our bodies when symptoms of anxiety turn physical. A trick that really helps when I feel anxiety getting the best of me is to use the grounding technique. That means simply engaging all your 5 senses. This is useful for when you’re stressed, too!
I’ve realised that learning to cope with and understand anxiety is a tedious process. When you can’t overcome it on your own, first advice would be to seek a professional. As scary as it sounds, it’s the best way to take care of yourself and your mental health when things become overwhelming.
What’s the pandemic’s impact?
Well, the lockdown period was a dark time. For many of us it was a huge change. It took a huge toll on our mental health. Physical distancing and remote work (or no work) further amplified stress and anxiety levels, or even contributed in developing other whole new problems like substance abuse, trauma or depression. Do know that you are not alone and give it some time. What we are going through is a period of future history.
Anxiety at work
Anxiety and low self-esteem go hand in hand. Be proud of what you manage to do well at work, ask for feedback and don’t stress about every little thing that doesn’t go well. Most likely everybody at work has already forgotten about that little incident you keep ruminating on (or didn’t even notice it). Manage your negative thoughts: voluntarily thinking positive thoughts instead of worrisome ones can help reduce anxiety. A better outlook on yourself can only have a better result on your anxiety. Try to have positive monologues. Be present and try to forget about what others might think of you. No one is as big of a critic of yourself as you are!
Stress and anxiety at work also go hand in hand, and affects your performance. A few ways I’ve managed to deal with anxiety at work, be more confident in myself and reduce stress levels is to:
• Arrive there early – nothing else calmed me down for the day easier than being there 20 minutes earlier, having a chat over a proper cup of coffee before my shift started
• Acknowledge all colleagues – try it, it makes a huge difference. Ask easy questions, build connections and relationships with people at work, ask simple questions and be mindful of their presence on a daily basis. Remember to connect and reach out to them when needed
• Seek clarity – don’t feel bad asking questions, seek additional information when you are unsure of anything (in fact, most people feel good when answering a question they know the answer to)
• Know or find out: the expectations that the organization has of you, the responsibilities you hold, you must be clear on what your contribution must be. Know what and how much you can do at work, set realistic deadlines and don’t put pressure on yourself by keeping rather strict deadlines that tend to border on the unrealistic.
Accept your feelings and bad emotions as they come, acknowledge them and let them go just the same way, without consuming yourself. Sometimes our biggest enemies are our anxious thoughts; we can’t stop them from coming, but we can remember that they’re exactly what they are…just thoughts!
Elena has dealt with anxiety through her own research and determination. However, if you’re really struggling with anxiety right now and would like some support, please do reach out and contact me.