“The greatest act of courage is to be and to own all of who you are — without apology, without excuses, without masks to cover the truth of who you are.” – Debbie Ford.
Anxiety. According to Beyond Blue, two million Australians suffer with it, and 17% have experienced it in the last 12 months.
It’s a debilitating condition that can plague us when we are not in alignment with our true values and beliefs.
Learning how to recognise the signs of anxiety and burnout can help you reassess your life and give you the courage you need to make changes.
Read on to learn about what anxiety is, especially professional anxiety, and why it affects so many of us. Then discover some ways to combat stress and anxiety so that you can start living your best and most authentic life NOW.
What is professional anxiety?
Anyone can experience professional anxiety at any time. It relates to how we feel about the work we are doing and the goals and dreams we have for our work, our career, our business, and our wealth.
Anxiety can become a problem in any life area, but when it resides in our professional life, we can feel even more pressure and risk burnout due to the demanding nature of work.
Are you in a high-stress job? Do you sometimes feel like you are required to keep giving of yourself, and yet you never feel replenished? Are you feeling undervalued or not compensated adequately for your worth? Does it feel like people want more from you and that you are never able to give enough?
This is a familiar feeling, especially amongst women, who, by nature, are givers and nurtures.
And for those who work in service industries, such as health, education, emergency services and law, statistically, are more at risk of experiencing professional anxiety. This is due to the nature of their work which can be very overwhelming and demanding.
Many of us feel that our work requires an enormous amount of investment, which gradually becomes more and more taxing on our mental wellbeing. If you are experiencing stress, exhaustion, are feeling less capable or you are even starting to resent your job. You are likely suffering from anxiety associated with burnout.
How burnout can affect your life
Burnout is a widely recognised condition in which a person experiences anxiety and stress for a prolonged time due to feeling overwhelmed and depleted.
Burnout is affecting the nature of industry and is costing billions of dollars in lost productivity each year. It negatively impacts the health and wellbeing of individuals, their families, and those who are in their care.
That’s why it’s so important to gain an understanding of why we experience these situations in our life, and what we can do to remedy them.
Australian statistics reveal that 92% of serious mental health concerns in the workplace are attributed to work-related stressors. Poor psychological conditions cost businesses an approximate $10.9 billion per year. https://www.upskilled.edu.au/skillstalk/workplace-burnout-how-to-know-when-affected)
This tells us that far too many people are experiencing burnout due to stress-related professional anxiety. It’s a feeling that your cup is never being refilled and that you are constantly overextending yourself.
Your thoughts are likely plagued with self-doubt, high standards, and idealism. You may be attached to wanting to make a difference in the workplace or even the world.
These thoughts tend to activate a strong inner criticism where you believe you should have done it better, sooner, faster, or been more prepared. You don’t even see your achievements but, instead, focus on what’s wrong. You never give yourself a break or encouragement. This serves no purpose and is very disempowering.
The following are some more signs of anxiety:
Physically – You may feel excessively tired, have a rapid heart rate, feel shaky, or experience more frequent illnesses. Experiencing more headaches, stomach problems, dizziness, chills, chest pain, trouble breathing, muscle tension, and insomnia are all signs of anxiety.
Mentally – Constant worrying and pessimistic thoughts can lead to depression, apathy, or thoughts of giving up.
Emotionally – You may feel overwhelmed and tearful often and unable to gain control over your feelings.
What can I do to help my anxiety?
If you are experiencing anxiety or burnout due to your professional and/or personal life, you are not alone. It’s time to take stock of your life and address the situations that are no longer serving you.
There are skills, tools, and techniques that you can learn and master to combat the anxiety that’s plaguing you. You can actively choose to address your worries and find the power to make changes. As with all personal growth, the lessons start from within. You can learn to not only manage your anxiety but eliminate debilitating anxiety from your life.
When a person experiences these symptoms for a prolonged period of time it can have all kinds of negative effects on our wellbeing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have experienced increased levels of professional anxiety and stress. At best, your employment has been only mildly affected. At worst, your entire professional and personal life has changed and you have no idea when or if things will ever go back to how they were.
Uncertainty is at an all-time high.
On top of that, the demands at home may have increased as well. As caregivers, many women take on the responsibilities associated with caring for others, often other family members.
Generally, women take on other peoples’ worries and stressors too and push themselves to not only meet their professional demands but also fill the emotional, mental and physical cups of others.
Women are giving by nature and they want to help, but forget to give to themselves. This is a sure-fire way to increase anxiety and burnout, which could result in a complete mental breakdown. There is only so much a person can give when their cup is never being refilled.
Here are the 5 keys to soaring free
Take some much needed time out to really think about what you want. Listen to your heart, not your head. If you truly listen, your heart already knows all the answers. Make sure the changes you make are in alignment with what you truly need, and not what you think you need or what you think others want for you. You don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations, just your own.
For example, I felt stressed that I was nursing when I wanted to be working entirely in my own business. In my mind, I was underachieving. So, after reflecting who I love being and how I love to show up in the world, I understood I am caring, loving and wise. And I value being helpful, respectful and sharing what I know.
I realised I could be all these things whether I am counselling, coaching or nursing, as a mum, a friend, or anywhere, even at the supermarket. This is me, I don’t have to “DO” anything to be the person I love being. And this takes away the pressure to be something other than who I am now. I feel fulfilled, peaceful, and joyful.
Tip: Ask yourself who is the person you love being.
Start taking responsibility for your own needs, not everyone else’s.
We take on what is not ours to take on and then feel tossed around by other people. We think we are doing the ‘right thing’ but when you really look at it, we are then adopting that victim mentality where we blame others for our problems. This is not a mindset of empowerment. Show yourself and others that you believe what you want is important. When we have an attitude of taking responsibility for ourselves only, we move away from a victim mentality and into a position of empowerment.
Tip: We can look at any situation and apply one or more of these three ideas to move into the empowerment position:
- What can I learn from this situation? What are the hidden gifts in this?
- What is my reaction? How am I behaving and how can I change my behaviour and respond differently?
- Have a faith belief rather than pessimistic belief. We have to have one or the other so adopt the principle that The Universe is always happening for me, and not to me.
If you don’t have boundaries, now is the time to start recognising them and honouring them. When you don’t set personal boundaries, you are communicating to others that you don’t respect yourself, so why should they? Find out what you can and cannot accept in your life, and stick to it.
Brene Brown says the most compassionate people are those with firm boundaries. They show others how they are willing or not willing to be treated. It’s when we let people step over our boundaries that we become hurt, resentful and then act in ways that cause us to feel ‘bad’, anxious, and guilty.
Tip: Boundaries are like a muscle that needs to be strengthened. When you first start setting boundaries it can feel difficult it can feel unnatural but that doesn’t mean boundaries wrong. It just means that you need to practice more. With practice, you will gain confidence and setting boundaries will come more naturally.
Take the time to look at and question your beliefs. Make sure that your beliefs still serve you and are in alignment with the desires of your heart and soul. Are your beliefs your own or have you unconsciously taken on others’ beliefs?
Tip: Beliefs are just thoughts you think over and over. When we really look at our beliefs we can ask questions: Is it true? Is it useful? Chris Helder, author of Useful Belief: Because It’s Better Than Positive Thinking suggests using ‘useful beliefs.’
For example the belief ‘I hate growing older’ can be replaced with a more useful belief that opens up thinking such as, ‘I am older, yes and that makes me wiser, more experienced, and I no longer need to prove myself to anyone.’
Empower yourself with knowledge, and find ways to get in touch with your feelings so that you can discover your own truth. Look for resources that you relate to. My new book, The Anxiety Relief Handbook offers many proactive strategies to help you.
Tip: This mindfulness and breathing exercise will help you feel more connected to your body and more present. With your feet on the ground, notice the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe.
Don’t judge, just notice it. What are you feeling in your body? Where are you feeling it in your body? Describe it. Is It a colour, texture, an image? If you could name it, what emotion is it? What would it say to you if you asked it to tell you, and then listened?
Communicate to yourself that you are ok. Breathe. I am here right now. I am not in the past or in the future. I am in the present and I see that I am ok. Affirm that you are safe.
When you have managed to move away from those feelings of anxiety into a state of calmness, then you can reflect. Use self-coaching and explore your thoughts and beliefs. You can release pent up feelings, learn what are the triggers, and recognise and respond to it more quickly. This will help you manage so it doesn’t have to escalate to such a high level of stress.
Remember, anxiety is a natural and normal emotion and it serves an important purpose – to protect us. It only becomes a problem when we are unable to manage it in a productive way. Anxiety can be performance-enhancing if you know how to respond to it.
Learn how to manage anxiety and empower yourself
The Anxiety Relief Handbook explores ways to heal anxiety, stress and overwhelm by releasing buried emotions and identifying them.
Allow yourself to let go of inner doubt, increase self-belief and the confidence to step up and shine.
In this book, you will find out how to:
- Understand yourself better, and why you think and feel the way that you do.
- Practical exercises to guide you to a place of calmness and clarity so that you attract abundance into your life.
- Release guilt and feelings of loyalty to people or situations that no longer serve you.
- Discover what you really need, learn how to ask for it, and be open to receiving it from others.
- Learn how to build trust and watch what you need to come into your life.
- Develop practical skills for improving self-awareness and a positive mindset.
My wealth coaching will teach you how to really own your own value so that you can step up and be paid well for what you love doing. We all deserve to discover our life’s true purpose and feel rightly acknowledged and appreciated for what we offer. I can teach you how to live a life of abundance.
Now is the time to start living a life where you feel more present, embodied, comfortable, and relaxed. You will be amazed at all the positivity that will come to you just from a change in your mindset. We all want to be the very best and happiest version of ourselves but often we need a little guidance. My book will be that guide for you and offer easy to understand ways for you to experience an amazing transformation.
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