Following on from our 25 March workshop led by Kindall Tyson at Moishe House, here’s a short summary of what we learned. These tips are useful whether you are goingthrough a job transition or thinking about one, struggling to keep on top of work stress, or when dealing with other anxiety.
What we learned: Coping strategies for professional and personal anxiety
For young professionals, it is all too easy to fall into a comfortable lifestyle and lose sight of personal goals or growth, which poses its own challenges for mental health. Living in Beijing, some of the underlying reasons for feeling this way were specific to life in one of the world’s biggest cities, and some were specific to Beijing. But Kindall was quick to point out the universality of anxiety whilst maneuvering through today’s complex world.
Here’s the bare bones of her advice to workshop participants, for those unable to attend the workshop If you want to find out more about any of these tips, get in touch with CandleX for a copy of the workshop materials or more detailed advice:
1. The importance of self-care
“Self-care” is thrown around so much nowadays by the wellness industry and often commodified beyond its true meaning. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have real use as a concept. Kindall encouraged workshop participants to think deeply about how well we looked after ourselves along five different axes: Physical, Psychological, Social, Spiritual and Professional. Neglecting any of these aspects is a recipe for anxiety and underperformace in other areas of your life.
2. Be aware of your triggers – and build in better habits to deal with them
A trigger for anxiety can take many different forms, from a bad night’s sleep to a certain type of conflict, to socializing too little or too much. It’s not easy to change the negative and often sudden response that you might have to such behavior – but as Kindall told us, by being acutely aware of what causes an emotional response is the first step to building in resilience and responding differently to it.
3. Understand your own circle of influence
What do you have control over? Control it. This concept reminds us that no matter how much we would like to, we can’t control everything – but we can choose our own responses to external events. This one sounds simple, but on reflection I realized that much of my time is indeed taken up worrying about things that I have no control over, and often don’t directly affect me.
4. Work out what you need to achieve your goals
Feeling dissatisfied at work? Kindall suggested a simple plan for figuring out how to make that tricky change. Do you know what job you would eventually want to find yourself in? Then carefully note the skills, resources or network you need to get there, and work out a realistic plan for achieving these aims. Alternatively, if you have an abundance of skills, a solid network and some useful qualifications, write them down in detail and consult some friends to see where you could be headed. It’s another concept that didn’t seem too complicated, but I found quite revelatory when I had written everything down.
5. Make SMART Goals – and a plan for how to stick to them
Follow the SMART Goals template – goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time based. Don’t get too carried away – the idea is to set goals that you can stick to, whether they be professional, fitness, social, or otherwise.
Kindall C. Tyson, (below) has been in Beijing for under a year. A Licensed Professional Counselor, Professional School Counselor and National Certified Counselor in her native USA, she has been working in the mental health field for four years, specializing in culturally sensitive, ethical counselling for adults, and has more than a decade of experience as a Professional Children’s Counselor and educator. She will bring her expertise, sensitivity, and warmth to this workshop.