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WRITTEN BY: Tash HOW I TACKLED ANXIETY

One in six Australians is currently experiencing depression or anxiety or both. Beyond Blue Breakdown: 17.0% of Australians aged 16 to 85 have experienced anxiety and/or affective disorder in the past 12 months. This is equivalent to 3.2 million people today.

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This is one of our team member’s stories on how she tackled anxiety.


Tash has been suffering from anxiety since her mid-twenties.

“All of a sudden the fear of being surrounded by tall buildings, being in an elevator, driving a car and sitting on board for a flight, became overwhelming and very scary for me.

I was becoming my own enemy and the voices in my head told me that I was a threat to myself. I thought that one day these feelings would leave me, and they did, however, after several years, the type of fears changed, yet the anxieties remained.

Walking alone in the dark from the tram stop to my house, being the only passenger in a taxi, the constant fear of losing my job, the list went on. I ended up having frequent panic attacks, would call an ambulance believing that I was having a heart attack. The pains in my chest would become unbearable yet, the doctor’s report on my heart health and blood tests were fine. I trialled various diets, did all sorts of physical exercise and spent time with quality social networks and friends, but would come back to the anxious moments and endless thoughts of the worst-case scenarios in any moment of being on my own.

I disliked my own company as this was when my mind played up. The activities that I was enjoyed, became a task and I lived in my boxed mind. I was later diagnosed with an autoimmune condition as my body was either in a flight or a fight mode. Someone once told me, that when we are sad, our organs weep. This was true indeed. Constant arguments, misunderstandings with close people and family members, very little to no sleep for endless nights and no energy underpinned the feelings of low self-esteem and self -worth and I began questioning my existence and why all this defined me. I knew I had to see a therapist, but I struggled with finding time in work hours and also could not afford the cost of seeing one on a weekly basis. When I finally was provided an EAP benefit, I could not align with many psychologists or vice versa, and finding the best-fit mental health practitioner for my needs was not easy.

It has been four months since I last saw my psychologist. She helped me ground myself, by bringing me back to the now. CBT and probing into the whys of my reactions to events and my thoughts and fears, I learnt about myself and knew that I was to change a few things in my life to get ahead of my situation. I started with being loyal to my needs first. I went to every psych consult religiously, and in the third session, realised how I was changing as a person, I felt strong, proud and empowered.

I was taught to create boundaries and continue to enjoy amazing connections with my friends and loved ones. I learnt to self-love and nurture my needs ahead of others. I was learning to say “no” politely and firmly and to stand in what I believed. I felt like I could surrender to the new me and still feel free. Fast forward to now, I do these things daily to keep on top of my mental health:

  1. Embrace me and accept me for who I am
  2. Remind me of my strengths, values and principles
  3. Tell myself it is ok to not be ok
  4. Respect myself and others
  5. Not take life too seriously
  6. Take deep breathes and breaks from work throughout the day
  7. Be selective about friends and continue to be kind and loving
  8. Treat myself to my favourite snack, movie and pastimes without feeling guilty
  9. Do gentle exercises daily to rejuvenate
  10. Make a point to eat healthy fruit, veg, seeds and drink a lot of water
  11. Go to bed early and switch off from the screen an hour in advance

It is ok to say no to demanding friends and relatives

Positive change starts here!

Take your first step to a healthier you, download the Cyber Clinic app and be connected with flexible online counsellors, psychologists and therapists that have been picked for you. Take charge of your mental health and wellbeing today.

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29-Sep-2021
workplace stress | factors and how to overcome it
Work-related stress is a growing problem around the world that affects not only the health and well-being of employees but also the productivity of businesses.  Work-related stress arises where work demands of various types and combinations exceed the person’s capacity and capability to cope. According to Better Health, Work-related stress is the second common illness/injury in Australia, following musculoskeletal disorders  Work-related stress factors ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE Organizational culture is the selection of values, expectations, and practices which guides and informs the actions of all team members. This ultimately shapes employee perceptions, behaviours and understanding in the workplace  BAD MANAGEMENT PRACTICES Management practice is an important factor in creating a work culture and environment. Bad management practices can develop conflict in the workplace including, workplace bullying, power abuse (e.g., using fear to motivate people), ignoring good performance from team members and conducting ineffective meetings.  JOB CONTENT & DEMANDS Job contents and demands such as work overload or pressure can be a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. Being overly pressured and overloaded with work can cause high stress for employees. Stress can lower a person’s productivity, focus and motivation to complete their job content and demands.  PHYSICAL WORK ENVIRONMENT Numerous studies have demonstrated that characteristics of the physical office environment can have a significant effect on the behaviour, perceptions and productivity of employees. This is especially for office employees who often spend a lot of their time inside their environment. The physical environments influence their well-being and directly influence their work performance and productivity. The atmosphere of the building should have the right room temperature, enough air quality, good lighting and low noise conditions in the office for better work concentration and productivity.  RELATIONSHIPS AT WORK Building networks, connections and positive relationships at work are important. Having a workplace environment that acts as a team rather than individually makes employees feel they are supported by their employers and employees. This builds their confidence, therefore their productivity. However, if employees feel a lack of support in their workplace there can be disengagement in the workplace. Hence, the work environment will naturally be disconnected and less productive. CHANGES Sudden change in management and work environment can be stressful especially for long term existing employees who have been with the company. Typical changes that negatively impact a portion of the employees are salary cuts, loss of benefits, downgrading in job position, job loss or relocation to another city, state or country. This can create job insecurity for employees and can result in negative impacts on their mental health (p)  ROLE CONFLICT According to Safework, poorly defined or conflicted roles in a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) can be a stressor for workers. Poor role definition arises from a lack of clarity in workers’ objectives, key accountabilities, their co-workers’ expectations of them and the overall scope or responsibilities of their job. Role conflict occurs when a worker is required to perform a role that goes against their values or when their job demands are incompatible. (p)  TRAUMA This can include:  Events such as death, grief, suicide, accident or injury  Organizational such as bullying, threats, harassment, betrayal, maliciousness, extreme isolation, chronic pressure, unresolved conflict, toxic work environment, uncertainty, fear for the future, downsizing or fear of unemployment  Physical stressors such as noise, chaotic environment, sense of no control over space, fear for physical safety, harsh or flashing lights, extremes of heat or cold, working amid construction, and other adverse physical conditions  External threats such as evacuation, lockdown, fire or robbery  These factors can affect the company's budget, employee turnover and overall profits. Moreover, A decrease in productivity and morale are signs employees may be struggling with the leadership being given. If employees have an effective leader and a good workplace structure or environment, there will also be better performance in hand. Hence, a greater profit for the organization.  Ways to overcome workplace stress   TRACK YOU STRESSORS Keep a journal to identify which circumstances create the most stress and how you respond or react to them. Jot down your thoughts, feelings, and details about the environment, including the people involved.  DEVELOP HEALTHY RESPONSES Any form of physical activity is beneficial. Also, make time for hobbies and activities. Getting enough good-quality sleep is also important for effective stress management  ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES & RECHARGE Establish some work-life boundaries for yourself. In today’s world, many people are addicted to their mobile or computer devices, checking emails and social media content. According to a study from NCBI, social media use can increase levels of anxiety and depression. Hence, This may mean a rule not to go on social media unless checking on your phone for very important matters.  Although people have different preferences when it comes to how much they blend their work and home life, creating some clear boundaries between these realms can reduce the potential for work-life conflict and the stress that goes with it  TALK TO YOUR SUPERVISOR Begin an open conversation with your supervisor. The intent is not to show a list of complaints but to come up with an effective plan for managing the stressors you have identified, to perform best at your job GET SUPPORT Your employer may also have stress management resources available through an employee assistance program, including online information, and referral to mental health professionals. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by work stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist, who can help you better manage stress and change unhealthy behaviour. If you are experiencing workplace stress and want to speak to someone now, our Cyber Clinic app can connect you with a psychologist through your phone and skip the wait time. Our services include medicare rebates. 
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