Are you lagging at work? Is functioning appropriately such a predicament? Are you feeling exhausted at every turn and are almost always irritable at your colleagues and boss? Are you still meeting goals and deadlines?
If your answer is three yeses and a no, you are most likely experiencing workplace stress and anxiety. There are multitudes of reasons for workplace anxiety and stress; it further increases if you are a woman.
Coping Mechanisms For The Ladies
“I had seen people having heart attacks and look this ill on the medical floors for medical reasons and it looked exactly the same. A wise, kind and experienced psychiatrist came over to [the patient] and gently, calmly reminded him that he is not dying, that it will pass and his brain is playing tricks on him. It calmed me too and we both just stayed with him until [the panic attack] was over,” says psychiatrist Kelli Hyland, M.D. It means that there are ways to cope.
It is hard for a woman to be living and working in a culture and society ran by sexism and misogyny; it does take the toll on you. Fear not, there are ways to neutralize the monster inside your head and gain back the confidence and self-esteem you need to boost positive workplace stamina and demeanor.
- “Me Time” Is A Must
Work is all about them, them, them; never is it about you, you, you. So, when you see the opportunity to focus on yourself, grab it as if your life depends on it because it does. Burying yourself in work can be frustrating especially when you realize that you are missing out on the good things in life like trying out that new Thai place two blocks away or watching a new season of your favorite Netflix show that you’ve been waiting for a very long time.
Give yourself even two to three hours a day to withdraw from work and everything in between – phone, emails, notifications. Giving time to do the things you want to do even in a short period is rejuvenating and can effectively relieve stress and anxiety.
- Have A Play Day
You’ve given 50 hours of your time to work; having that one day of play wouldn’t hurt. Reality is, women in America are becoming workaholics but are not reaping the benefits as compared to their male workaholic counterparts. For this reason, slowing down for a day and focusing on fun activities is highly beneficial.
On the other hand, if you have children, schedule bonding activities like swimming, hiking, biking or anything that you and your family enjoy doing. By the way, make sure that your one day of leisure will not be interrupted by any correspondence related to work. Be like the French; once work is over, ignore it.
- Drop The Perfectionist Act
“Yes, you may be anxious, and you may even flub your toast. But the worst thing that will happen is that some people, many of whom will never see you again, will get a few chuckles, and that by tomorrow they will have completely forgotten about it,” according to Tom Corboy, MFT.
Expecting perfection is a way to increase anxiety and stress in work; this is because you are imposing a lot on yourself and if you somehow didn’t meet your quota, more pressure will be cast upon your shoulders, which can result to self-deprecation. Regardless of gender, we have the right to commit mistakes because we are all human beings who need to grow and learn from our errors.
Stop beating yourself up and accept the fact that there will be good days and there will be bad ones. Besides, it’s quite exhausting to put on the heavyweight of being the perfectionist in the team while they are just waiting for you to make one false move and fail.
You Can Do This
Psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D has another take on anxiety – the productive edge. “Anxiety is there to help us protect what we care about most, harnessing our focus and energy to do what is needed.”
As a woman struggling in a world designed for men, stepping up the ladder of success can be challenging, but not inconceivable. Break the mold by fixing yourself first. It’s understandable that women face more discrimination and inequality at work which means that they need to work twice as hard compared to their gender counterparts. Don’t let anxiety get the best of you. There are numerous coping mechanisms you can do to fight your anxiety and stress; you just need to find the right one that agrees with you.