It’s 2018! Companies now have mental health minutes, some even mental health days. So, if your boss finds you curled up in the fetal position while gripping a cup of green tea, just say, “I’m exercising my right to a mental health minute.”
I took mental health afternoons, every day, stricken with workplace anxiety. I’d stare at my inbox. What if I accidentally delete an email? My heart would pound. My eyeballs would float uncontrollably upward, stuck staring at the roof. I’d slam shut my computer. Are my keys safe? I’d shuffle toward my coat and pull my keys from the pocket. Safe! I’d return to the computer. Wait! Did I drop my keys? I’d check my coat pocket again. And then again. And then again, for two hours, spacey, shaking, sweating. Once done, I’d fret, Did I file that page in the right folder?
For half a decade, I suffered severe OCD-anxiety. I tried meditation, muscle relaxation, medication, but nothing worked. I then read nonstop books about anxiety. And I discovered my cures: cognitive behavioral therapy (a.k.a. self talk) and journaling.
Now that I’ve found cures, I’m re-seeking full-time work. But this time, I’ll combat workplace anxiety: I’ll self-massage and do ten burpees every hour, timed. I’ll buy a tiny desk bicycle to burn pent-up energy. And I’ll eat fruits and veggies (every three hours) to stop blood sugar spikes.
At home, I’ll clean my place spotless. After cleaning, I’ll rush to the gym for a mental reset. And before bed, I’ll journal away worries.
Whatever cures stress, do it! But don’t resort to alcohol, illegal drugs—or suicide. And don’t avoid responsibilities. No matter how bad the case, you can find a healthy cure.
So, how can you cure anxiety? Whether you’re a student or employee, you’ll find stress-busters in Ruth C. White’s book The Stress Management Workbook:
- Positive affirmations stop jitters: “Affirmations …. work by replacing negative thoughts that create anxiety with positive thoughts that make you less stressed” (location 1203, 45%).
- So, relieve stress by basking in your awesomeness: “Take a minute or two to write a script … in which you tell yourself how wonderful you are, how capable you are, and how competent you are to do what you need to do” (location 1614, 60%). Also, “think for five minutes about several things you love about yourself” (location 1659, 62%).
- Let God settle your nerves: “if prayer is part of your life, take a minute to say a short prayer of two to three sentences” (location 1301, 49%).
- In other words, calm yourself with love: “Fill your workspace or living space with pictures that remind you of the love in your life” (location 1277, 48%).
- Plant-love cures stress, too: “Buy plants and add them to your office or home décor, then dedicate five minutes a day to caring for them” (location 1765, 66%).
- Relax inside a clean haven: “Having too much stuff or a disorganized space can be very stressful …. Take five minutes each day to get rid of at least one item you don’t need or put one item back in its proper place” (location 1641, 61%).
- Unwind with five minutes of focus: Clean five windows … Clean out your purse or backpack …. Pay a bill …. Hang up your clothes … Do the dishes.
- Eat often to stop the stress of blood sugar drops: “you know you need to eat every three hours to feel your best” (location 1630, 61%).
- Eat calming foods like “blueberries …. Salmon …. Nuts and seeds …. Avocados …. Oatmeal” (location 1711, 64%). Also, get plenty vitamin C and zinc.
- Planning beats stress: “once a week … plan out your next seven days. List your tasks, their urgency, and exactly what you need to do to complete them” (location 2299, 86%).
- Plan to be early, not late: “Plan to get to your destination early so if one thing goes wrong, your whole day won’t fall apart” (location 2276, 85%).
- Journal to relax the mind: “Take 10 minutes at the end of each day to write in a journal. You can focus on gratitude, write your worries, or log your success with stress management techniques” (location 1956, 73%).
- Exercise relaxes both mind and body: “Take a dance break to manage your stress” (location 1785, 67%). Swim, do yoga, or join a gym. “Do calisthenics—as many sets of any of these you would like, with hand weights of without” (location 1918, 72%).
- Also, unwind with repetitive motions like “knitting …. Ironing …. Practicing a musical instrument …. Quilting and other needlework … Walking … Folding laundry” (location 2078, 78%).
- Stop stress with self-massage, including temple massages, scalp massages, or hand massages.
I self-message to relieve stress. Self-massage calms me more than muscle relaxation does. So, I read how-to-massage books.
I also read about pressure points. Not the points the CIA uses to render victim’s unconscious—no! —although I’d prefer office slumber parties to workplace OCD.