Fresh off our successful photo exhibit at Camera Stylo, CandleX’ popular series of workshops on Professional Anxiety is back! Last month our Texas-born superstar counsellor Kindall gave another workshop on stress at work, this time in collaboration with BARE and held at WeWork Dongdaqiao. In case you haven’t made it to one of her workshops yet, here are more tips on how to deal with professional anxiety.
1. Identify your personal motivations
What motivates you? Working hard every day towards goals you aren’t even sure you want to achieve would stress anybody out. So identifying your personal motivations in your career is the first step towards understanding work anxiety.
2. Know that burnout is real
Burnout is recognized by the American Medical Association as ‘a major public health problem’. Kindall encouraged participants to recognise the signs of burnout in themselves and others and to understand some of the root causes of the issue.
3. Know how to respond to your specific work stressors
Reflect upon and record specific incidents that have caused you stress at work in the past. Kindall explained that much anxiety that we experienced comes from specific stressors that may be exacerbated by negative thinking. What kind of situation have you responded badly to in the past? How did it make you feel? What could you have done differently?
4. Set goals to change your thinking
As much as it’s tempting, absolutely no good will come from getting angry and frustrated when faced with external pressures, unfair situations or difficult choices at work. Setting realistic goals to respond to stressors differently and change your thinking is possible: but it’s not easy. Ask yourself “What can I do to change my own situation?”
5. It’s all about balance, baby
Finding balance at work and in your personal life is key to reducing anxiety. But what this means could differ widely to difference people, according to Kindall. A good way to start is to consider what potentially unhealthy habits you pick up in your work environment, and make a conscious effort to find complementing activities in your personal life. Sat down at a desk all day at work? Take up aerobic exercise like running or swimming. Inundated by calls, meetings and conversations with colleagues all day? Make sure you schedule some time for yourself.
6. Learn assertive communication to get your needs met
If you feel like your concerns or queries aren’t being heard, a feeling of helplessness might lead to anxiety at work. Kindall explained that you can’t change a bad boss or an insensitive coworker,but you can change your communication style by clearly expressing your emotions, opinions and wants in the same assertive way you might argue your case in professional matters.
7. Keep calm
If you find yourself often overwhelmed by anxious, racing thoughts, try to schedule in some time every day for deep relaxation. It doesn’t have to be a two-hour expensive yoga class or a meditation session on a mountaintop – deep relaxation can be anything that slows your breathing, your body and your thoughts right down.
About the counsellor
A Licensed Professional Counselor, Professional School Counselor and National Certified Counselor in her native USA, Kindal C. Tyson 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.