How to reduce anxiety as a business woman

How to reduce anxiety as a business woman

Vesna Hrsto, Executive Wellness Coach and Mind-Body Peak Performance Specialist, shares her advice for women in business who want to overcome anxiety.

Anxiety is more commonly diagnosed in women than men and I have found that women in business are less likely to talk about it. When I started my business, I worked hard to make it a success and ignored all signs of anxiety and that I was headed for exhaustion.

Anxiety disrupts our productivity and performance by disrupting our focus, which according to workplace management studies:

1 hour of uninterrupted concentration is equivalent to 3 hours of work and vice versa.

3 hours of interrupted focus equals 1 hour of work.

Not only does it stop you from doing your best work, but it also affects your family life and relationships.

According to a Yellow Australia survey: “One in five say that not only is their productivity affected as a result of their work anxiety, but they also feel the brunt of it in their personal relationships.”

Here are some common signs and symptoms of anxiety:

Panic attacks, hot flashes and flushes, palpitations, chest tightness, rapid breathing, restlessness, or a feeling of tension, tension, and nervousness. Excessive fear, worry, catastrophizing or obsessive thinking and avoidance of situations that make you feel anxious and that can affect study, work or social life (Beyond Blue).

But it can appear in other ways…

One of my clients didn’t realize she was anxious, but it showed up in her drinking every day, 1-2 glasses, plus on weekends and in social settings. She gained 4 kg, her stress levels were increasing, she woke up during the night and started the day tired.

Even if you don’t think you have anxiety, here are some things you can do to check in with yourself and if you need help, get help.

Tips to check it out with yourself

Ask yourself: are you able to cope with all the things you have to do?

Have you felt that you could not control the important things in your life?

Have you felt confident in handling personal problems?

Are there recurring themes in your stress?

What to do to overcome anxiety

Firstly, I recommend seeing your GP for a checkup because there are common deficiencies and imbalances related to anxiety that can affect mood and our ability to handle stress:

Vitamin B12, thyroid panel, fasting glucose, insulin and iron studies.

Glucose monitoring:

Glucose disruption is a common cause of anxiety. A drop in blood glucose levels will trigger adrenaline, part of the stress response, and the symptoms are similar to anxiety.

I always advise my anxious clients to stop fasting or restrictive eating and eat breakfast within 20 minutes of waking up and eat every 3-4 hours to balance glucose levels. This will reduce stress hormones and improve mood and energy. Be sure to cut back on sugar as it will cause a glucose spike and make symptoms worse.

What every businesswoman should know about overcoming anxiety

Sleep habits:

Our brain resets overnight. If we sleep well, we wake up feeling more relaxed from the stress of the previous day because our brain has been adequately rested. I recommend going to bed earlier, around 10 pm to align with your circadian rhythms. Studies have shown that ‘night owls’ are prone to mood disorders such as anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder.

Eliminate caffeine on an empty stomach. When I tell my anxious clients to cut out caffeine, some feel like it’s impossible. Caffeine is linked to anxiety, and it’s important to reduce or eliminate it altogether. My rule of thumb is not to drink caffeine on an empty stomach, as it disrupts glucose levels and stimulates the release of cortisol (another stress hormone). Have breakfast first and then a coffee if you need it.

Gut health:

Gut health is an important area for mood and anxiety. The gut-brain axis shows that the gut communicates with the brain and vice versa throughout the day. Poor gut health causes inflammation in the body, inflammation of the entire body, including the brain. A ‘swollen brain’ can trigger anxiety and mood disorders. Restore intestinal function by eliminating processed foods, improving digestion and supporting the microbiome.

Vesna Hrsto
Vesna Hrsto

About Vesna Hrsto

Vesna Hrsto has been voted one of the top ten naturopaths in Australia and New Zealand. Over the past two decades, Vesna has made a name for herself as an Executive Wellness Coach and Peak Performance Mind-Body Specialist. She has worked with thousands of high-achieving women across the country to help them experience heightened energy, mental clarity, and peak physical wellness so they can reach their full potential.

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