While listing to a Ted Talk on changing career paths, the speaker said something that stood out to me, "People don't quit jobs, they quit work cultures." This really caught my attention. I never really thought about it until recently. Work was always so enjoyable to me. I used to love getting up and going to work every day. Now I find it hard to even get the motivation to work.
When I say that I find it hard to get motivation to work, let me be a little more specific. I liked what I did. I was good at it, my co-workers enjoyed working with me, it was great. It was great, until the anxiety just became too much. My anxiety grew so high that it turned into depression. I could barely even leave my house, some days, the bedroom. This was totally unlike me. It was like I was broken.
A later blog post is to come that will explain more about my work experience. For now, hear me say that anxiety, stress, and depression is more likely in the work place than you may think. Almost 1 in 5 US adults 18 or older were reportedly diagnosed with a mental illness in 2016. In addition, 71% of adults reported at least one symptom of stress, such as headaches, feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
Personally, my body now seems to completely shut down if I get too overwhelmed or stressed. First there were stomach aches. Then came migraines. Next, seemingly random aches and pains all over my body. Eventually I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (along with several other things). Some days, my body feels like it is made of bricks. Other days, my back hurts so bad I can barely get off the couch. All the while, still experiencing stomach pains and migraines. Mentally, my anxiety goes through the roof and I completely shut down emotionally. Hopefully, I am on the way to recovery and living a better life.
For others, it does not always end with them being on the road to recovery. Some people do not know how, or can not get the help they need. From 2000-2016 the suicide rate among working adults increased by 34% from 12.9 to 17.3 per 100,000 population. A big factor in workplace anxiety is workplace bullying. Did you know that? I never realized that myself until now. Yes, bullying can continue well after we are out of school! Everyone experiences bullying differently. Many people who are bullies in the workplace do not even realize what they are doing. They may even believe that they are just looking after themselves and their own careers.
More than 28% of Americans say workplace bullying had a detrimental effect on them and around 22% had to take time off work as a result of being bullied. Many contribute bullying as a reason that they leave their job. Only you know if you are being bullied in the workplaces, and only you know if your job is bringing you too much stress. If you are feeling like your job is bringing you an overwhelming feeling of anxiety, stress, or depression, you need to take the proper measures to get help.
Some things I like to do to try and manage my stress and anxiety is yoga, meditation, and going for walks. Every morning I try to do a 15 minute yoga session to stretch out my body. Then, at some point during the day, I try to go on a 30-45 minute walk. If it is nice out, I will take my dogs on a walk. If the weather is not on my side, I will walk on the treadmill or ride the stationary bike.
Trying to push myself to stay active during the day is incredibly hard and yet, very rewarding. Once I am done, I do feel like I have more energy throughout the remainder of the day. Meditation is something I try to do every night before bed to settle my mind from the day. Sometime I will try to squeeze in a session in the morning. Especially if my head is feeling foggy. Meditation helps keep my thoughts at ease. I am notorious for worrying, and meditation helps a lot!
Someone at work once told me, "You just need to get over things and move on.". Well, I am over it, and I sure as hell am moving on. I hope reading this helps you realize if you are dealing with workplace anxiety and stress, you are not alone. Everyone handles stress and anxiety differently, and you need to always put yourself first. Do not ever let anyone tell you that you are less for going through this.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255