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MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR ANXIETY?
16 May 2023
For Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re continuing our tradition of raising awareness and fostering an inclusive environment at Fortus. Last year, we focused on the theme of ‘loneliness’ and shared our Medicash creative campaign which resonated with many of us. You can take a look at our campaign here.
So, for Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, we’re addressing the theme of ‘anxiety’, recognising it’s a common feeling that affects a significant number of people.
As an INCLUSIVE, VALUABLE and COURAGEOUS business, we strongly believe in involving everyone in our awareness initiatives. To encourage participation and open dialogue, we created an anonymous survey for people to answer the following question: Have/do you suffer from anxiety, and how do you manage it?
Take some time out of your day to read what our incredibly COURAGEOUS team had to say about their personal experiences. By reading their insight we hope it brings great comfort to both our Fortus family and those outside our organisation.
We understand everyone’s anxieties are unique, but remember, you’re not alone – help is available.
have/do you suffer from anxiety, and how do you manage it?
“Yes occasionally, it’s usually when I feel overwhelmed and/or unsure of something or there’s something which is out of my control. I find it’s worse if I’ve been too focused on a particular task or have been working excessive hours. To help manage it, I usually try and increase the amount of exercise I’m doing, trying to get outdoors, especially. Then for task-related areas where I’m feeling anxious or when I feel I have too much on and feel overwhelmed, I break big problems down into small tasks which are more achievable, and set specific times to do each task, trying to put the other tasks to the back of my mind until their allotted time – I also find better planning of my day/week really helps.”
“Social anxiety. Most social situations can create anxiety for me, especially in large groups. I’m a very quiet and independent individual but putting myself into large social situations has helped me. Learning from close friends/individuals that there’s no need to feel anxious in social situations has also improved my anxiety over time.”
“I do, related to my depression. Hypnotherapy helped, but not cured.”
“I do suffer with anxiety which presently has raised its ugly head due to the starting of a new job. Managing it is a tricky one, but usually a walk out in the green with my dog helps bring it down as she’s a great, happy distraction. Of course this isn’t an option when at work, so breathing exercises at my desk or chatting with the team helps. I find the attacks during the night are the most difficult to contend with, made worse by the dark and not wanting to wake anyone in the house. For these ones I tend to go sit in another room where I can have the light on and listen to classical music or, and this may sound a little odd, talk calmly to myself out loud, well whisper. An odd one granted, but it works for me.”
“As mentioned in the article, everyone suffers from anxiety as it’s a natural human reaction! It’s just how you recognise and deal with it that can be the biggest differentiator. In a work environment, especially in the early days of my career, I was always so caught up on every mistake I’d ever made and worried about the impact this would have on future progression. It felt horrible at times but looking back now it really wasn’t a big deal… My number one piece of advice is talk to your colleagues if you have these concerns and they’ll help you. Bottling up emotions or thoughts can really keep you down in the dumps and you shouldn’t have to suffer alone.”
“Yes, paying too much attention to other people & not considering my own mental well-being. Managing it through throwing myself into uncomfortable situations and focusing on myself – other people’s opinions are just that, and most often will have no impact on your journey through life.”
“Yes, when under ongoing work-related pressure. I just get on with it and keep going.”
“I’ve had anxiety over the past 15 years. It started out from being self-conscious about my appearance which led to body dysmorphic disorder, however through counselling and generally growing older and giving less of a damn, I’ve dealt with that. Now my anxiety mainly comes from work. I need to feel like I’ve done a good job and set high expectations for myself. If these aren’t met or external factors are stopping me from achieving this, I can become overwhelmed and fret outside work about the next day / thinking I’ll be fired / how would I cope without a job and money coming in. It comes and goes. This mainly started in my previous job which was high pressured and significantly under resourced. To deal with this, I talk openly with my partner. I also make lists and mark off the little wins, so I can feel I have achieved something and made progress rather than feeling stuck – great if you have a long-term project which is slow moving. I have also found walking and getting outside helps if I’m in a funk it’s true what they say about being in nature helps the mind, even if that’s just a 20-minute walk after work!”
“Periodically – this is mostly triggered by stress and feeling overwhelmed. To help manage this, I like to take a step away from what’s stressing me, make a priority list and go back with a fresh mindset. Doing yoga or going for a walk also helps.”
“I’ve suffered from depression for multiple years, but I’ve been anxious all my life but only realised when I’d noticed some of my habits were symptoms of anxiety (e.g. skin picking, trouble sleeping, over-planning/overthinking). I’ve always been able to cope and manage it, but I’d have the odd episode where I’d find it really difficult to cope. I do varying things to help. Following self-help people on Instagram and reading inspirational quotes to motivate me works a treat, but also helps me reflect on my current progress. If I made a mistake at work, I focus less on the mistake and see it more as a lesson learned – so I try to keep that mindset as much as possible. My thoughts race a lot, but particularly before bed, so I have a white noise app on my phone to help me sleep – during the day, I listen to music to distract my thoughts. But one of the most important take-aways from my own anxiety I’d love to share would be TO BE KIND TO YOURSELF! You wouldn’t say negative things to someone else, so why do it to the one person you spend 24/7 with? Don’t underestimate the power of saying ‘no’ if you’re a people pleaser – once you get into the habit of it, it’s one of the most liberating things you can experience. Luckily, I’m quite a competitive person too, so pushing myself to further progress in all things helps my self-esteem a lot knowing that I’ve beaten my goals. Being honest with yourself’s hard, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run – you’ve got this!!”
“I suffer from anxiety and have done for probably 8 years now. There wasn’t an underlying cause of it, it kind of just developed. The majority of the time it’s controllable but stress really enhances my anxiety. Therapy and tablets help to manage my anxiety, but to be honest just sharing how I’m feeling with family and friends is such a great outlet.”
“Yes, several things can trigger it, recently world events. So I just watch the news once a day and not just before bedtime.”
“Yes, I have at times struggled with anxiety in the past and still do at times. I manage it by being organised to reduce any ‘surprises’ and the feeling of being rushed. Exercise and cutting back on alcohol helps too.”
“Yes I do – exercise, sleep and diet help me stay on track.”
“I’ve only had anxiety badly when I was in a terrible job previously. I felt very unsupported at work and by my partner at the time, and just generally out of my depth, but when I changed job and was working with a great Manager and team that went away. From time to time I feel it if I’m about to attempt something new, but if I ever feel a small amount of anxiety creep in I think back to that time and instantly I realise I can cope, and for me it generally goes away.”
“I’ve had anxiety since secondary school. My main cause of anxiety was/is public speaking which makes me a little awkward and afraid of speaking out loud. I couldn’t stand in front of a class and give a presentation, but in Art and Textiles classes I’d feel so comfortable it’s as if it was gone for that time. I’ve used crafts ever since to help cope with my anxiety, hearing positive feedback about the things I’ve made definitely has made me more confident which is channeling into my day-to-day life. Recently I’ve had days where I black out for a few seconds/minute as my anxiety comes out of nowhere/nothing to pin point, but when this happens I like to lie down on my back and just clear my mind for a few minutes until I’m feeling relaxed. Doing something for yourself every day that makes you happy’s SO important – I have a favourite clay face mask which I use 3 times a week and listen to podcasts most days, both of which make me happy. Self care’s important for managing mental health and being kind to yourself always.”
“Yes, past and present on a daily basis. Usually work-related when feeling unable to complete tasks which are beyond my capabilities and experience. Recently added stresses in my personal life are making it extremely difficult to manage now. The ‘courageous’ Fortus mantra also makes it difficult to voice when you’re the type of person who doesn’t like being pushed out of your comfort zone. Not everyone works well being constantly challenged as it lowers your self-esteem and the effects of this compound until you feel like there’s no way out. I try to go for walks every day and take time out for myself, but this is proving more and more difficult with the daily demands of work and personal commitments.”
“Yes, I’ve suffered in the past from anxiety, which I think’s mainly due to workload and a lack of options to help cover that. Generally helped by talking with colleagues and peers.”
“Yes, too demanding of myself. Taking medication helps.”
“There may have been some occasions of mild anxiety. Just talking about it with your partner/friend helps with this.”
“Yes, caused by excessive noise mainly people eating and drinking but also talking loudly. This is heightened when working in a normally quiet environment.”
“I do suffer from anxiety which is normally brought on by stressful situations. I manage this by taking a step back and trying to look at the situation from another perspective. I also discuss the situation with my peers to get their perspective on it to help put coping mechanisms in place, such as taking myself off to a quiet space to do some deep breathing, or even something as simple as making a coffee.”
“Anxiety’s a constant in my life, and I seem to have peaks and troughs! One thing I always try to remind myself when I find myself particularly anxious is that I’ve felt like this before, and that every worst situation I’ve created in my own head has never even happened. And even if it did, is it really the end of the world? No!”
“I don’t suffer from anxiety, only in the normal emotional form when I’m doing something outside my comfort zone but that’s a normal emotion – like being happy or sad.”
“Being out in nature, whatever the weather, and exercising for the feel-good endorphins. Journalling’s really helped me recognise when I’m having anxious thoughts, too – on reflection, I often realise things that were making me feel overwhelmed were really not worth worrying about at all.”
“I think I do without being diagnosed. The warm heavy feeling on my chest when I’m stressed or worried about things in my subconscious. The main causes are my studies and work deadlines, although when I watch my football team play I get overwhelming anxiety… I don’t really manage it at all and think it’s a feeling that seems to impact my life in a majorly negative way.”
“I tend to become anxious when work starts piling up. I find the best coping method for me is to write a list, assign priorities/time required and then start working through them. There’s something so satisfying about crossing out a task, even if it’s one that only took 2 minutes to complete.”
“I sometimes get anxiety when I know I have a busy workload or difficult work upcoming. My solution’s to try and complete these tasks as soon as possible which allows me to ‘get them out of the way’, which clears my mind.”
“Yes – general life stresses and overthinking.”
“Only stress of work, but I manage to listen to my body – sleeping and eating healthy are important.”
“Mild anxiety triggered in busier working periods when workload can start to get overwhelming. Being accountable for taking breaks, to doing things like exercise, helps to manage this.”
“Too much to do, too little time, feeling of fighting the world and time passing by.”
“I have anxiety and I take tablets for it. I like to go on walks to clear my head. Exercising helps me burn off the adrenaline in my body. I allow myself to have self-care/mental health days and I take care of myself by doing a face mask, watching TV, eating what I want to eat. Remember to be kind to yourself.”
“I currently suffer from social anxiety. It can be caused by being with people I don’t really know that well / public speaking / feeling like I’m the centre of attention. I’ll start to have a panic attack even at the thought of doing this and it can prevent me from saying ‘yes’ to going out socially even if I really want to. I’ll also constantly worry what people think of me so I can’t speak in case I say the wrong thing and they won’t like me. At the moment, I don’t have any professional help as the fear of speaking to someone unknown prevents me. I rely on the help of my family and close friends when I’m having a low point and it’s getting on top of me.”
“Yes, I’ve turned to breathing exercises and a detailed morning routine to help reduce anxiety relating to general life pressures. Such as finances, futures, and surviving. I’ve found the morning routine sets me up to be focused on the day ahead and reduce ‘over thinking time’.”
“Yes I do. Caused by childhood trauma and subsequent traumatic events in adulthood leading to lack of confidence – feeling not good enough. I take medication and practice self-help e.g., physical activity, talking to trusted friends and breathing exercises if I feel particularly stressed.”
“I don’t suffer from anxiety but if I feel like things are getting too much I like to go for a walk to clear my head and get some fresh air. Exercise even in the smallest form helps to release the good hormone to make you feel better.”
“I’ve suffered with Generalised Anxiety Disorder for the past 15/20 years, I have a few medications to take. I’ve recently started using crystals and going for walks every day which really helps.”
“I used to suffer with anxiety and depression but thankfully I was able to get onto an NHS list to receive cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and with the help of this I was able to better process my thoughts. I now have a mental process of isolating negative thoughts and listing every possible action I could take to deal with this. Whilst I think of all of the options I have, it often makes the problem seem a lot less severe in my own mind and helps me to not focus on the worst case scenario. I now do not suffer from depression but my anxiety will come in waves depending on events that may be happening in my own life but applying the same techniques I am able to manage it a lot better.”
“Quite severely, although better in recent months. I’ve struggled with it on and off for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried prescribed mediation, but the thing that helped the most was going to CBT through the NHS and learning how/why it happens and coping mechanisms. It’s never 100% gone but feeling much better now!”
“Sometimes, usually for irrational reasons which I can recognise as irrational, but that doesn’t really help avoid it. Sometimes when I have important meetings or similar approaching, and even though it’s rarely something new, I get worked up and worry.”
“Yes I do suffer from it. It was caused from numerous things within my personal life. I’m medicated with Propranolol and take 3 tablets a day.”
“I’ve suffered from anxiety since I was a small child. It’s thought that my recent ADHD diagnosis is the main cause of it. I’m yet to find a way of managing it!”
“Yes, I’ve suffered on and off for years. Mainly work-based stress / anxiety along with financial worries and job security worries. I’ve tried various methods to manage it, counselling, CBT, Headspace App and medication.”
“Yes I did and it was from a poor routine and lack of stress management. I now try to stay active, get to bed at a reasonable time and eat healthy. I also disconnect from work when I’ve logged off.”