You can always recognise a freelancer, small business owner or office worker who doesn’t have an awful lot going on outside work. They’re often too serious about the work. They also have higher levels of stress and are more difficult to work with.
Work may be too high a priority as other things fall by the wayside. Their perspective becomes skewed. Work becomes far more valuable to identity than it ought to be.
Carrying a lot of work and/or work related responsibility is a lot like an anxiety attack. When you are going through it, it feels as though the walls are closing in. That everything is running at a heart pounding, pulse racing pace. It feels like the world is a heady and heavy force that dominates your life. These sensations are inescapable, further escalating that sensation of hopelessness, over-running engine and stress.
But just like an anxiety attack, you can use grounding to reduce these situations of stress at work.
Grounding makes us focus on the present. It gives us reason to stop the whirring “what ifs” and focus on the here and now.
Grounding experiences can be preventative. When we work too hard, have too much responsibility and feel trapped by our working situation, we forget self care. We stop making time for friends, families and activities. We reduce our sleep and downtime, filling every waking moment with work or thoughts related to work. Our diet and exercise regimes may suffer as a result.
We begin to cut ourselves off from all the things that keep us grounded. That keep us focused on life as a bigger picture outside work. By recognising this fact and making changes to include these sorts of non-related work events back into our lives, we can start to feel less stressed, isolated and at sea.
When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by work, you invite anxiety. You invite your brain, which is plastic, to write new paths in your head that encourage that ‘fight or flight’ sensation. Even when it is unnecessary to feel that way.
Don’t be afraid to move away from the desk and grab some sunshine, exercise and perspective. Take time out to stop the whirring engine and give yourself a break.
Grounding experiences can also be something we can apply to the moments where we feel the most stressed and anxious.
For example, if someone is having a panic attack, grounding them helps. The grounding experiences in these sorts of scenarios are focused on getting the person to move their thinking outside their moment of panic and into their surroundings.
It can be simple acts like describing the painting in the corner or talk about their surroundings and interests to bring them to the present. It pulls them out of their head long enough to calm the revving within.
The same can be applied in business.
You can ground yourself on a day to day basis by:
Work is important. But so is life.
Work may seem like an important part of our lives. We spend most of our waking hours there. It influences our finances and even gives us status within society. Not to mention self worth and identity.
But it is not the only thing that is important. Our health, mental health and interpersonal relationships have much greater impact on our ability to be happy and enjoy life. So it’s essential to ground ourselves occasionally and remind ourselves that life does not begin and end with work. To step back from the plate and see life for the whole story, not simply the work chapter.
If your work is becoming the centre of your universe, invite a shift in focus. Find your long term grounding experiences and make time for them in your life. And exercise self care and self awareness in equal measure so that when the pressure is on at work, it doesn’t over-shadow your entire existence or thought process.
Tags: business, busyness, busyness glorification, depression, motivation, stress relief, work, work life balance, worklife balance
After growing up in a dusty farming district where happy moments were few and far between, Rebekah packed a bunch of books and headed off in pursuit of education, the sea and a sense of anonymity that simply can’t be found in a town of 200.
Keenly aware she was an outsider, Rebekah attempted to discover happiness via five universities, island living, and all the wrong kind of activities before she triumphantly discovered she was potentially the happiest marketing nerd alive.
Rebekah has carved out a career through connecting people. She spent over seven years working in the dating industry, has worked agency-side in the tough Asian advertising world, and now freelances in marketing and content creation for community, social enterprise and startup ideas.
When she isn’t listening to prog and post rock as it pours out of her partner’s guitar, she’s connecting women as the Head of Disruption for Discordia Zine, marketing and writing as Unashamedly Creative, advocating for freelancer happiness via the Freelance Jungle, or being reminded that life is random, creative and silly by her Labrador, Gibson.
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