Dealing with Anxiety in Work & Life

This is a super personal post for me, as I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I may have some anxiety in my day to day life. Everything kind of came to a head this weekend during my move. While the apartment is beyond lovely and I’m so excited to be there, my stress, preparation, anxiousness and “I can do it all alone” attitude came flooding in at once over the weekend. The result was jitters, exhaustion, grumpiness and a general blue feeling that lasted for more than I’d like.

Of course, being the PR girl I am, I immediately went to the internet for solutions and explanations to my feelings. Why am I left feeling down after a stressful time? Why does one action at work ruin my whole day? Why does one cranky conversation lead to five more?

It’s a trait of our generation that we like a quick fix to almost everything. And while we hope that $9 pressed juice will immediately make us ecstatic, the truth of it is… sometimes we just need to feel our mood. Whether that’s happy, blue, calm, excited or angry. Feelings happen, and while we can influence them we can’t necessarily control them.

So while it is perfectly healthy to try to accept the state you’re in, here are a few quick tricks I’ve learned in the past week  when trying to come back to a calm and content state during anxious times whether it be at work or in life:

Eat/make something comforting – When I’m super stressed, the last thing I think of doing is putting food in my mouth. My to-do list is already a mile long and food is just not on it. This is an awful way to set yourself for success. No one wants to see you faint while giving your presentation. If you’re a nervous person and your stomach gets weird during times of stress (like I am), eat something you love that is comforting and nourishing. My favorite is peanut butter and jam on toasted cinnamon raisin bread. If I’m home, I also like to do my food prep for the week to calm myself down, like making mason jar salads or quinoa pilaf.

Get outside - AFTER you’ve nourished yourself (again, no fainting in the street please), try to go for a walk in the fresh air. Just 10 minutes can do wonders. Take deep breaths.

Exercise frequently – I now tell myself that I try to exercise every day. When I was just aiming for 4 days a week, usually I’d make it just 2. When I aim for exercise 7 days a week, I make it usually 5 or 6 times. Consistent exercise is important to keep your blood pumping and thinking clear. Running is my favorite, but spin class or weights help too.

Look for natural solutions – I’m all about nature’s cure these days. When I’m super exhausted all day, I know that means I’m low in either protein or iron. If I can’t sleep, I’m trying to add Valerian Root before bed to calm me down. Changes in my diet or herbal supplements/teas help me tremendously. Of course, if I have a pounding headache, I do still rely on ibuprofen in moderation.

Try something new/find a distraction  – I’m getting into documentaries on Netflix since I cannot watch The Paradise on repeat any more. I’m also trying to find a new hot yoga studio near my apartment. Keeping your mind learning is a great way to take your mind off what’s stressing you and throw yourself into a new practice.

Do you ever feel anxious? What are your solutions?

 

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From the Inbox: When an Agency Isn’t Working For You

To my favorite PR ladies,

First off I want to say I am an avid reader of your blog and am always referencing back to it – it’s been my PR cheat sheet!

I wanted your advice on something. Not too long ago I landed my first job in travel PR. I was really excited about it. However, that excitement is starting to fade and become a tad negative. I find that I am not always comfortable with the working environment in the office. The office is really gossipy and competitive and I don’t get that sense of everyone working together. It a small boutique firm, but so far I have only mainly interacted with two people. I know I haven’t worked in PR long, but I interned at two different boutique firms before and felt more of a sense of community and even as an intern I was working with a variety of different people.

What makes me nervous is trying to get a new job. Since I am a new employee I am still not allowed to use my paid time off for another four months, so I would be unable to attend interviews. I don’t know if I should take a leap of faith and quit because I know the job market is scarce. I know this isn’t the place for me, but don’t know if staying here longer is helping or hurting me. I also don’t know what it would look like to future employers to see that I left a position only after a few months. I value your opinions and would really appreciate your advice.

Best,
Dealing with Negative Nancy’s

This is a tough position to be in. Not every agency you work for will be a perfect fit. It can take 3-4 months to adjust to a new office culture, but it’s not uncommon to be at an agency that just doesn’t work for you. Have a talk with your supervisor and let them know how you’re feeling. Either way, if the negativity doesn’t change, you’re going to continue wanting to look elsewhere.

Given you’re feeling uncomfortable, you should definitely start looking for another job especially if you don’t see the negativity changing. Don’t be afraid to send out your resume and schedule interviews. Ask for interviews to be super early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Get a feel for the jobs available and based on what you find, consider leaving. Quitting a job can be scary if you don’t already have something lined up, so make sure you’re in a good position to leave with interest from other companies.

Leaving a position after only a few months isn’t uncommon in the agency world. Sometimes the agency we work for just isn’t a match – and that’s totally understandable. Don’t go into your future interviews bashing the company you work for. When they ask why you’re leaving, simply say it wasn’t a fit.

Best of luck- and don’t let this get your hopes down. You will find an agency that works for you.

Xo, A

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Make A Good First Impression

June is going to be crazy at the office. I’m starting with two brand new clients, so the pressure is on to not only present myself well but also give a good impression of my company and the work we do. A new client is a fresh start and an amazing opportunity to showcase to your superiors how much you’ve grown in your position. There is a lot of work to do with new accounts, so this is also an excellent opportunity to be proactive and show your stuff. But first and foremost, you’ve got to make a great first impression to your new client.

When introducing yourself for the first time, whether it’s with your new client, on an interview, or networking at an event there are several things to keep in mind. And remember, the first impression goes beyond that first second of a meeting. You have some time to put yourself in good standing.

First, eye contact – This is a big one that not a lot of people acknowledge. I’m not just talking about eye contact when saying hello or shaking a hand. Be sure to look straight into the eye of the person you’re talking to, and smile! Smiling shows in the eyes. If you stare, it’s creepy. If you’re frowning, it’s scary. You want people to feel safe and welcome with you.

Firm handshake – The lame fish handshake is not appropriate, and unfortunately it is STILL stereotypical for a woman to have a “weak” handshake. I’ve had many people tell me they think I’m a lawyer or in finance from my handshake. What that means, I don’t know. But if that’s going to make you think I’m in charge, I’ll take it.

Speak slowly, and thoughtfully - Take a breath, and think about full sentences before you say them aloud. You may be excited to get your ideas out there, but it’s easy to over promise or speak over yourself when you’re focusing on getting someone to like you. Also be genuine and kind – don’t say a joke you’re not sure will go over well or make a side comment about another person. If you have questions on whether the person will like the joke, don’t say it.

Follow up - You may have made a great impact on your new contact, but proof is in the pudding. Be sure to be vocal over email, social media or on the phone to show that you care about forming a great relationship with this new contact.

 

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It’s the Small Things in NYC

I am FINALLY making the big move this week – going from the Upper East where I’ve lived for the past 5 years to the West Village. While the move has come with a lot of feelings of excitement, it’s also brought stress and anxiety as I struggle with packing, budgeting, and wondering if I really can afford to live in my new dream apartment.

I finally decided to let my fears go and enjoy the ride. While I certainly have had the privilege to be a bit more free wheelin’ with my money the past couple years (one of the benefits of having a roommate), I noticed that when I forgot about the price tag and focused on the little things about this city that actually make me happy I felt a lot more at ease and excited about my transition.

New York doesn’t have to be all about big bangs and brand names. Some of my favorite moments in the city are the quiet times when I listen to the sound of the streets and do my own thing (ok, maybe it’s not so quiet). It’s all about making time for you and the little things in this bustling city, otherwise you may go a bit nuts. Here are some real summer “New Yorker” things to do if you’re looking for the small things in life…

Walk home from work - Even if it’s a bit of a trek, put on your sneaks and get moving. Go down a street you’ve never been or take note of places you pass that you want to come back to and visit

Find a Gelato Spot  – I’ve already got mine locked down in front of a fountain near my new place. My must haves – al fresco music and a shady tree (pigeons looking from crumbs are just a fun/weird bonus)

Designate a Roof  – Find a friend with an awesome rooftop/outdoor set up, whether it’s a small balcony or a fun walk-up with the tar pit top. Slather on some sunscreen and watch the day go by with a cold brew

Host Happy Hour  – After seeing this post today on Cupcakes & Cashmere, I’m super excited to host mini store-bought happy hours with sangria and Mediterranean bites with my windows thrown open

Unplug when you think you need music – I’m always putting my headphones in when I run, but I’m almost more relaxed if I take the buds out. If you always listen to music on your commute, try going out with a book for the subway or just the sounds of sirens and families on your walk

 

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