Hello all, I’m back again with another post on anxiety and how I handle it, as promised! This post will be dedicated to the anxiety that comes from work (or school) and how I calm myself down in difficult situations. I would say that most of my anxiety comes from how I deal with work situations. I enjoy my job and am happy here but, ironically, I feel even more stressed than I did at my last job (where I was not as fulfilled). I thought about why this is recently and I came with one, glaring reason: because I care. A lot.

Let me explain: because I enjoy my job so much (not only the work I do, but also the people I do it with and my office environment) I feel added pressure to excel. I want to be the best at what I do and I want to do well at this company for many years to come. Sometimes I think that my self-worth and self-image is tied to my work performance (as well as how good of a friend, sister, daughter, granddaughter I am) and, though I do believe that can be healthy if handled in the right way, I understand that it can sometimes be a negative aspect of my personality. My self-perception is pretty skewed and I can recognize that my relationship with work and how I see myself is probably just a little unhealthy.

Anyway, since we are on the topic of anxiety at work, I’ll share a recent experience I had: I was preparing an issue to go to press when a number (and I really mean a number) of problems popped up. This particular issue had problems from the beginning and, looking back on it now, I understand that none of them were my fault. Towards the end of production, when one last problem was raised, I almost lost it. I wanted to cry, to scream, to lose my mind and I could feel the physical changes that my body was going through–I began to get very warm and a hive formed on my face (that’s one of the more embarrassing things to admit–I have very physical reactions to stress). I recognized that I needed to remove myself from the situation, so I went to the restroom where I put some cold water on my face and the back of my neck and just sat for a few minutes, breathing. I tried not think about anything at all and, though it took some time, I finally felt that I was able to deal with the situation calmly.

The above example is a little more extreme than my usual bouts of anxiety in which I can just sit at my desk and calmly breathe in and out. I usually experience at least one situation every day in which I can feel myself responding physically to stress–usually I get very warm and that’s it, but sometimes I get hives and feel nauseous.

I know that my body’s reaction to how my mind processes anxiety is not healthy and I am actively working towards resolving this. I try to eat well, go for a walk at least once a day and do other forms of exercise, and talk to friends and family to calm and center me. I’ve also started meditating (or trying to) when I wake up in the morning and it’s been an eye-opening experience. I feel empowered now that I know that I experience anxiety, how I experience it, and how to calm myself down if need be.

What does everyone else do in stressful work or school situations?