Anxiety and Working: Cultivate this asset ASAP.

I have anxiety, worse I get intrusive thoughts that at times can really set me back and for lack of a better term plant me flat on my !@#. I have also maintained a full time job since 1988 (yes I am ancient). I’ve worked in many places and have had many different roles. How have I done it? I have worked on one important asset throughout my career.

The asset? A robust professional network. Now we hear this term, “a network” many times but what does it really mean? It means that you accumulate a list of people that you have worked with that are allies and references. Yes, it’s that simple but it’s critical because this asset can be the difference between getting a job and being unemployed. In the stress cesspool we all currently fight so hard to survive in, we have to have assets to help us survive.  A good network is one of the best assets you can have.

Quick story – I lost a job in 2012 the company was sold, and headquarters were moved to Denver. I knew it was coming but like everyone else at the company I didn’t know when. I looked for another job, to no avail and then the meeting happened we got our last checks and I was driving home. There I was out of work, stressed and pretty bummed out. I was angry, I was scared, and I was desperate. I had to pull over. I called my wife and told her I was on the side of the road that I was okay but would be late. She got very scared, a police cruiser pulled up and he tells me my wife called them because she was afraid.

I explained the situation and told the cop I was just clearing my head. He understood, but told me I needed to go home. He followed me, I was humiliated. It was a very low point for me, my anxiety was in full bloom, intrusive thoughts were sweeping through me, and I was losing control. I got through it but the next week was horrible, my kids were scared, my wife was scared, I was scared.

You will meet many people in your career, identify like minded individuals and cultivate a relationship.

I had bills, a family to support I was panicking. It took me weeks to recover from the stress, I recall sitting at my PC at home looking at jobs, and they all sucked. It was then that I reached out to my “network” which at the time consisted of 6 people. These were all professional contacts, none of them were great friends but we had worked together, and I had identified them as allies. Every one of them replied to me, 2 of them had jobs for me. One was at a much lower level then my last job, but it was benefitted, the other was a lateral move from where I was.

I was back to work within the month, because of my network. It’s critical for professionals to network with other like-minded people. This “network” is an asset that you need to maintain like your other valued items. I know this language may not sound normal for the maintenance of relationships but it’s critical to do this. How do you do it? Here are 5 tips to keep your professional network cultivated.

  1. A holiday email: Send your network a happy holidays email.
  2. Birthdays: if you know them, send your contacts a happy birthday email
  3. Do lunch if you can: From time to time reach out and see if they want to meet for lunch.
  4. Follow their social media: don’t stalk them of course but from time to time drop them a “hey” on their Instagram.
  5. Ask how things are going at work: They may be looking for a job too.

Keep it professional don’t go to personal (how are the kids, etc.) unless they do. Remember, as a person living with anxiety we need to look for help sometimes. It’s okay to need other people and its okay to use a professional network when things in your work life aren’t so rosy. I am so glad I had a network, who knows where I would have ended up. Ya we had a little money, we aren’t wealthy though. I recovered fast because I had cultivated this asset. I hope you never need one for the same reason I did but please, build one.

Emotional Eating: Just One More Snack

For the past 3 weeks I have been really struggling with emotional/stress eating. I feel like I have completely lost control.

When this all began it was the worst it has ever been. At work I was eating constantly, snack after snack after snack. I felt like I couldn’t stop, there was this pull to eat more even though I wasn’t hungry. I spent so much money in the vending machine at work the first week this started to happen. Packs of M&Ms, Reese’s cups and Rice Krispy Treats galore!

I have been slowly gaining control back but I still feel like the binge eating monster is floating just above my head ready to pounce at any moment commanding me to stuff my face again.

It’s been really hard to control myself again after spiraling out of control. I am trying to get back into a relatively healthy routine but I’m really struggling. I keep falling back into the emotional eating habits!

It’s not just had an effect on my mind but my body as well. My body isn’t used to eating this high number of calories so I have been bloated and gained a few pounds. I’m terrified to get on the scale because I don’t want to know the damage I’ve done.

How do you combat emotional/stress binge eating? If you have any tips please comment them below! I could really use some advice.