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Does professional anxiety hold you back from pursuing your career goals?

Does professional anxiety hold you back from pursu
Photo: Professional anxiety
Anxiety levels are on a high, especially due to the current pandemic.

When they take over your body, you can feel powerless and feel like there's little that you can do to control your mind and body.

It affects each one differently and shows up differently for each person. Although one can't just will it away, there are specific tools and steps that you can take to overcome and handle anxiety, burnout, and overwhelm.

Elaina Mullery RN, and Lauren Bell RN, are two of the eleven authors of The Anxiety Relief Handbook. In this article, they share some of their thoughts on anxiety, tools to handle and deal with it, as well as what you can expect to find when you read some of their chapters in the Anxiety Relief Handbook.

Profesional Anxiety and Anxiety We Put on Ourselves
We all have high standards and high ideals. For most of us, we want to make an impact and leave a legacy. For many of us we  tend to be over-giving, focusing on caring for everyone else and not making our own needs a priority.

Many of us want to do more, achieve more, help more people.

We set ourselves goals, but once completed, still don't feel accomplished. So, we go and do more, and end up in a vicious cycle of trying to achieve more, not feeling accomplished, and again trying to achieve more.

This cycle is a huge factor that causes anxiety (especially in the workplace), mainly because of the pressure we put on ourselves.

Dealing with Impostor Syndrome

We all deal with Impostor Syndrome to some degree, and it manifests in different ways for each person. This is where that inner voice in your head keeps telling you that you're not good enough.

"Who do you think you are? Who are you to do that? No one will listen to you."

Elaina openly shares how she deals with Imposter Syndrome regularly, but has developed strategies to assist her to reframe these thoughts as they arise.

We all have unique skills and talents, and we all have huge potential. But getting past the inner voice is a journey in itself. Remember that you're never stuck. You can always make a change and keep progressing. It's a matter of changing your perspective and changing your inner thoughts.

Anxiety Around Speaking Up

When Lauren was a young girl, she remembers shopping with her mom and sister. It was a Saturday morning, and back then, the shops closed at midday.

So, they were out to buy new shoes, and they were looking around and went from one shop to another. However, Lauren's mum was starting to get really exasperated.

And because she has always been that sensitive empathic person, Lauren could always tune into her and she was starting to feel nervous about how her mum would react. Lauren could sense she was feeling tired and frustrated.

So when her Mum picked up a pair of shoes and said "what about these ones?" Just to please her, Lauren said yes. So they bought the shoes.

But then every time Lauren would put them on, she just remembered how much she hated them. She recounted hating them and feeling cross with herself for not speaking up.

Unlike her sister who was more assertive, she would get the things that she wanted and Lauren, on the other hand, would settle for these things that I never wanted just to keep the peace.

So, this anxiety of speaking up and sharing her truth has really been with her all her life. Lauren would be in this state of anxiety before she tried to voice her concerns and speak up. It's been a journey to overcome this fear of speaking up, but definitely a powerful one.

Overwhelm, Anxiety, and Burnout

Overwhelm, anxiety, and burnout. They are all similar and interchangeable in a way. When you look at all the symptoms of overwhelm, they are exactly the same as what you would see in anxiety.

You feel irritable, you're feeling your boundaries are being pushed, you're reactive, you have all the fight and flight symptoms, a racing heart and shortness of breath.

If you feel that you are affected by any of these, there are many ways to deal with and overcome them. Its about finding which one is best for you.

Dealing with Chronic States of Stress, Anxiety, and Overwhelm

To understand what chronic states of stress look like, take a deer, for example. The deer is eating the grass and just minding its own business. Then all of a sudden, a lion jumps out behind the bush.

The deer's fight and flight mode is activated and runs for its life. Its heart is pumping, it has shallow and quick breathing, and blood supply rushing to its muscles.

The deer doesn't have to think to activate the flight mode. Its body just sends a signal to the brain and it automatically switches on. When the deer is finally safe from the predator, it shakes off all that extra energy and built-up adrenaline in the body. It then moves back into the rest and digest phase.

As human beings, although we don't necessarily experience these types of acute stress where something runs after us and we run for our life, what we do have is a lower level of chronic stress. It can be from our everyday work, stress within the family, or from our health.

But the difference is that we never get to the end of that stressful moment where we just shake it off. So, instead of shaking it off, we continue with stressful thoughts such as, "Why me? Why did that have to happen to me?"

This is a simple story that illustrates why as human beings we have got ourselves into these chronic states of stress where we're dealing with so much stress all the time and have no immediate means of "shaking it off."

But there are some ways that we can deal with stress, overwhelm, and anxiety:

  • Going for a walk
  • Exercising to release endorphins
  • Meditating
  • Journaling
  • Talking to a friend or trusted family member

Reframing Anxiety

Physiologically, anxiety and excitement are very similar. Your palms are sweating, your heart beats faster, you have butterflies in your stomach. They have very similar neuro chemicals "recipes."

This means that when we're about to do something nerve-wracking, instead of thinking to ourselves that we're so nervous or that we're scared, reframe and retarget that energy into excitement instead.

You can reframe your thoughts that tell you you're not good enough, or that fear of failure, into something more positive. See those nervous jitters as a way for your body to prepare you for something you are about to do.

It gives you the energy you need to accomplish that task that's outside of your comfort zone.

Celebrating the Small Wins

Despite feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, it's good to keep in mind that you're never stuck. You can always make a change. When we reframe those thoughts that we have in our minds, we can make a considerable contribution to the world.

Life should be celebrated, and not just the big wins or the big occasions. Celebrate every step along the way. We're so used to being critical about what we've done or what we should have done that most of the time, we forget to celebrate how far we've come.

Additionally, if we're always coming from that viewpoint of "not being good enough," we will never get that sense of satisfaction.

However, if we celebrate every step and just put one foot in front of the other, then we move forward and we can start to gain confidence and self-esteem through our achievements.

As we move forward, we can keep seeing progress, and we hold ourselves open to opportunities that are presenting all the time to us.

Mindfulness Technique

There are a lot of different ways to cope with and deal with anxiety. When you feel your anxiety escalating and the stress in your body building up, the trick is to get out of your head and into your body. This is also known as mindfulness.

One great technique for mindfulness is noticing your feet. Feel your feet on the floor. Feel your feet in your shoes. Notice the sensations.

By focusing your attention on that one thing, you can regain more balance, feel more centred, and be more grounded.

In conclusion

Anxiety is always present in our lives, to some degree. But the more you face anxiety instead of running from it, the more you grow both as a professional and an individual.

Want to know more?

Come and join Elaina and Lauren in their
'Unleash Your Happy Nurse!' Professional Workshop
Release stress, avoid burnout and feel more valued.

The Vibe Hotel Melbourne 14 August 2021.

All participants will receive a copy of The Anxiety Relief Handbook
6.5 CPD hours
For more information and to register https://laurenbell.com.au/happynurse


ABOUT ELAINA MULLERY

Elaina Mullery RN.  Founder and host of “The Happy Nurse” podcast.
Elaina has over 20 years of clinical nursing experience as well as being trained in Mindfulness, Meditation, Hypnotherapy, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Having burned out a couple of times herself, she is passionate about promoting effective self-care strategies to her Nursing colleagues.  She is on a mission to reduce Nurse burnout.



ABOUT LAUREN BELL

Lauren is a wellness & wealth coach, thought leader, international speaker and author.
An RN for over 30 years and 16 years as a holistic therapist, Lauren knows firsthand what it is like to burnout. Through her journey from rock bottom to soaring free Lauren now delivers high impact transformational coaching that empowers caring professionals to feel confident and claim their true value, and allow, attract and enjoy wellness and wealth in her 'Love Your Extraordinary Life' workshops and programs.

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