Special Sauce

Handling Anxiety While Working Solo

By Andy on Apr. 20, 2016

Have you ever done a study on the genealogy of your family? You know, see
where the blood in your veins originated? Not too long ago, I decided to check out my own family history. I found endless names of British and French Canadian’s, a few Italians, a couple Irish (wasn’t expecting that) and one or two Swede’s (that either).

I thought long and hard about this family: Warriors, poets, businessmen, scientists, and (probably) strongmen and dragon slayers: Men and women of character, wisdom, might and influence. It’s humbling to see all that was accomplished by your name before you were blessed with it. I felt mostly satisfied with my results, aside from one burning question: which one of you salty ****’s gaveme the family-trait of crippling anxiety?

Now, this isn’t your run-of- the-mill woooo, this upcoming event is making me feel nervous and anxious. It’s more of a chest-clutching, dilated pupils moment of terror, where you would rather shave your chest with a lawnmower than spend another second wherever you are. It can appear out of thin air, or sit there out offsight for a while, threatening to jump at any moment. Luckily, it’s perfectly controllable with a few different methods.

Here are a few tips for ditching anxiety when you’re trying to fuel a coworking revolution:

1. DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF!

Look, at some point you’re going to go from sawing logs to sitting up straight,
sweating bullets and thinking about that light bulb that you swore ten times over that you were going to change. Relax, it’s cool. There are still 32 other hours this week where you can do that. If you’re mega awesome, you’ll have a list of stuff that you have to do and that will go nicely on there. Molehills only become mountains when you realize that you can’t handle it that second. A few deep breaths will do you well. Now go back to sleep, Scarlet Johansson isn’t going to swoon herself.

2. USE YOUR MEMBERS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

There is another blog post somewhere around these parts that talks about using
members to your advantage when you’re looking to take a vacation. The bad news is that you won’t always be on vacation. Learn how to use your members while you step out for a few or have to crush some heads-down work. Pick a few good people – I definitely suggest two for the morning and one for the afternoon - and directly inform them that you might be counting on them. Play the Mission Impossible theme song if you have it available – it totally sets the mood. Make sure they are nice people who know the wifi password and you’re all set. If you’re in the middle of dealing with a bathroom disaster, you can rest assured that any drop-ins are going to be handled in a mega professional way. Look at you, teaching people and stuff.

You’re awesome.

3. KNOW THE VALUE OF A GOOD BREAK

While we never suggest smoking, the idea of a smoke break is sexy. Go outside,
breath deep (unless you’re in Chicago, frost bite on the lungs is brutal), and count to ten. If you’re about to jump down the rabbit hole of a panic attack, I heartily suggest the 3x3 Grounding Technique. Once you’re out of your space (that’s the important part), think through three things that you can see, three that you can smell, and three that you can touch. Realize that you’re grounded. Now, take 3 more minutes and just breathe. When you return to the space the lights will be brighter, the smiles bigger, and the problems easier. Plus, you’ll feel like a badass for using the same calming technique that Navy SEAL snipers use!

4. MAKE TIME TO DECOMPRESS

The workday needs to come to an end. It doesn’t matter what time, but at some
point, you need to let it go and focus on the evening. This is incredibly nice if you have a family/significant other. No one needs to be on the receiving end of the poop storm you’re whipping up from having a bad day. All of those burdens that you feel are twice as heavy to someone who cares about you, but doesn’t understand what you do. Let’s be honest, too: No one understands what you do. This makes it super important to find time before and after work to get peace. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of transcendental meditation, Bulgarian-style powerlifting, or just watching Netflix and eating Doritos. Suddenly, after an hour of pure decompression, your day doesn’t seem so bad. Now, set that positive mindset and get psyched for tomorrow!

You’re at the forefront of a revolution in the workplace!

5. ROUTINE IS SEXY

Some people dig the sheer spontaneity that every day can bring sort of like
Instagram stars on a bender. Personally, I’m a control freak when it comes to my workday. Coworking, however, is a feisty mistress that sometimes likes to throw surprises my way, hence the anxiety and the whole reason this article exists.

Common sense incoming: Having a strong daily routine will mitigate most of the surprises and keep you on your toes. I’m not going to lie: my Google Calendar looks like a clown threw up on it. Pink bars are immediate tasks, yellow bars are impending tours, red are conference room bookings and green are high-level tasks.

Everything has a place, each place is precise, and looking at it gives me the same warm glow as watching the Cubs while eating cookies. Man, just thinking about it Anywhoo, beating anxiety at work is like trying to squeeze coal into diamonds. It’s probably possible, and you should definitely try, but expect to get a little beat up as you make your attempt. However, it’s totally manageable as long as you expect it to happen, and take steps to always stay in control. Remember that there are more people than yourself that care enough about your success to help you stay on top of your goals! FYI – I actually use the stuff up above. It definitely helps to love your job. I can only think of one actual panic attack I’ve had since I’ve been at NextSpace, compared to nearly weekly events at my last place of employment.



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Interview with David Resnick of Bestr

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