Dr Georgiana Farrugia Bonnici is a Diagnostic Radiographer & Medical Doctor
Coping with work-related stress, anxiety and burn-out.
Anxiety typically involves an emotional component such as nervousness or fear – a physiological component, which may include fast breathing, trembling, high heart rate or stomach churning, as well as a cognitive component, such as an impending sense of doom or negative thoughts. These characteristics can ultimately affect our daily behaviour through, for example, putting off day-to-day tasks, avoiding people or dealing with difficult situations, insomnia, engaging in excessive smoking, drinking too much alcohol or taking illicit substances to calm down.
It comes as no shock that every individual differs as to how vulnerable they feel in a variety of stressful situations. If you are reading this article and feel that this topic somehow applies to you at this specific moment of the Covid-19 global pandemic, first of all, you need to be aware that anxiety is entirely normal at times of stress. It’s appropriate to mention that the right amount of stress can actually be helpful – in that it can serve as a motivation to reach higher goals and accomplish new challenges in life. However, it is also known that too much stress can seriously interfere with your normal life.
Here are some effective strategies that can ease out some of the stress associated with the Covid-19 pandemic:
Addressing stressful situations through proper time management
The lack of appropriate time management is probably a sin of many. Sometimes you need to stand up for yourself and say “no” to things you don’t need to do, in order to be able to deal with the most important projects first. Let’s not forget to mention that despite all the benefits that come with today’s technological advancements, they may also work against us. It is wise to remember that time spent off the mighty Facebook and other social media networks, could actually be used to get some work done and actually let our mind rest from all the negative vibes associated with the Coronavirus.
Learning to relax and distract yourself from troubles
The physical symptoms of anxiety occur because adrenaline is being released by the nervous system into the bloodstream and as a result, affects organs such as the heart, stomach and muscles. It is not going to be any more fruitful to continuously worry about something. Make sure you find time to engage in activities you like to help keep your mind off things, such as watching a movie or listening to some nice music. Relaxation and breathing exercises can help you control the physical symptoms of anxiety, especially if they occur regularly.
Looking after your health
It’s very important to find time to eat well, exercise regularly and rest properly. It is wise to mention that sleep plays an important role in managing stress. It provides our body with the opportunity to regenerate, eliminate toxins and wash away all the negative thoughts. Sleep disruption creates havoc in the brain, thereby, impairing thinking and emotional regulation. Try to cut down on energy drinks or coffee, for caffeine intake furthers the issue, by potentially increasing anxiety.
Adopting a rational approach to challenging negative thoughts
Sometimes the key to problem-solving is all about mind power and motivation. Try to overcome the tendency to exaggerate how threatening a situation is and to underplay how effectively you can cope with this situation. Stop judging yourself too harshly.
Seeking support whenever appropriate
No man is an island, therefore do seek support from family members or close friends, whenever you deem necessary. Never be hesitant to speak to your doctor or psychologist, if you think your anxiety problem is getting too overwhelming to cope with. Everyone manages to pull through the various transitions of life differently, but do allow yourself to recognise that even mild anxiety is a warning sign that reminds us to be aware of certain issues that may necessitate some attention. Moreover, when feelings like persistent sadness, social disinterest or low motivation, begin to affect your ability to carry out the necessary steps to be successful, then it’s time to reach out for professional help.
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