Ask Arnold: Dealing with anxiety at work

Hi Besties!

It’s time for our very first Ask Arnold blog post!

You’re such a wonderful, supportive bunch of besties with so much knowledge and experience, I really want to preserve some of that and gather it together in one place to help anyone who might need some support or advice.

We will regularly discuss a topic in the Bestie Facebook group, and Arnold (ok it’s me really, Arnold is awesome and very clever but his little stuffed feet aren’t the best at typing) will share some of the advice you’ve given.

Ask Arnold

This week, our topic is: Dealing with anxiety at work. 

Going to work, working from home, starting a new job or just the general daily grind can feel incredibly stressful and worrying at times, but fear not, the besties are here to help!

Lots of you have said that taking a break during the day helps, with one bestie suggesting: 

  • “Identify a safe, quiet space where you can take yourself off if you need to take a few minutes to calm down and you don’t need to worry about other people seeing you panicked or stressed x”

And others saying:

  • “A cup of tea away from the desk, even just for 5-10minutes does wonders.”
  • And “Identify a safe, quiet space where you can take yourself off if you need to take a few minutes to calm down and you don’t need to worry about other people seeing you panicked or stressed x”
  • "Take a break away from your desk outside in the fresh air if you can or outside for 5/10 minutes."
  • "Being open with managers/team leaders is a good thing as that way they’ll know what’s going on if you’ve had to disappear.”
  • “Get up from your desk once every hour. Stretch your legs, go get a cup of tea, go to the loo, walk to the printer. It gets your circulation flowing again. And if like me you’re a wheelie, well, just wheel down the office instead. It helps reset your brain and takes your focus away from the screen.”
  • “I tend to keep busy as it calms me down, but if not I’ll usually either go and sit in the canteen."
  • “I go out every lunch time, sit off somewhere outdoors if I can and just take in a calm few minutes of nature in the peace and quiet.”
Everything is going to be ok

Lots of besties said that having a breather and stepping away from your workstation can really help, but what about those situations where that’s not possible? You could try these:

  • “Close your eyes, take a breath.... you've got this!”
  • “Takes deep breaths and count to 10 in your head to distract yourself
  • “Do some box breathing, breathe in for 5, hold for 5, out for 5, rest for 5. Do it for 3 breaths. No one needs to know you’re doing it and it helps calm your amygdala which is the lizard brain causing your anxiety to stay in focus”.

Another great idea, if you’re able to, is to have some home comforts to hand:

  • "I have a bunch of these cute squishy animals I take with me when I have to have difficult conversations or I'm nervous. They're easy to slip in a pocket too!”
  • “I have things to fidget with on my desk - it can be really helpful to have something for my hands to do when I'm reading something or when discussing projects with colleagues as it stops me anxiously picking at my skin, wringing my hands or clicking my pen! Favourites are a slinky, a giant koosh ball, magnets to push together or even just a lump of blu tack to squish and pull apart”
  • “If you can, have something that you love on your desk, a photo or a favourite mug or pen, when you feel anxious just hold it, notice how it feels, is it hot or cold? Rough or smooth? What colour is it? Take a few deep breaths and remind your self why you love it
  • “I also have crystals and my small cuddly worry whale to hold to just calm me down”
  • “Keep a blanket and chocolate in your desk drawer for emergencies - you never know when you might need a little comfort x”

Sometimes it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, or worried about how much work you have to get done and making mistakes. These besties have some words of wisdom for these situations:

  • “Remember that everyone makes mistakes, it’s how we learn! Try not to get hung up on getting everything right or knowing everything at once as this can add to your anxiety x”
  • And try having a “To do list to check things off”

You’ve got this besties! And on those really tough days, if all else fails, always remember:

  • “It’s okay to cry in the bathroom." Love you! 
Ugly crying is the new cute

Our next Ask Arnold topic will be revealed in the Bestie Facebook group very soon. 

 

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