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Five o’clock’s come and gone. You’re battling the onslaught of items on your “to-do” list and you don’t want to leave your office. You’re hungry, frustrated, and exhausted, and working faster is only making everything worse. So what do you do?

Do you suck it up and force yourself to complete a few work tasks before you retire for the evening? Feel an adrenalin rush? Anxiety overload? If you’re like many women, you try to ignore these inconvenient messages because you can’t imagine a world in which you could just leave for the day. You are too committed to pushing through everything and getting it done.

I’m going to call this, “overworking” which has become the norm for most people I know.

But overworking doesn’t usually help in the short- or long-term. It simply turns tiredness into overwhelm and exhaustion, which can lead not only to poor quality work, but physical and metal dis-ease.

A Common Problem Behind Overworking and Anxiety

As an empath, I sense how and where people hold their energy in their bodies. Ideally, you have a natural flow of energy moving up and down the core of your body. When it comes to overworking, though, there are one or two specific places where the energy gets stuck: in the head and/or chest. This stuck energy may lead to physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual stress.

If you hold your energy in one of these two places (or both), your body no longer has the flow of energy it needs to feel awake, clear-headed, safe, and grounded. Instead, some part of you feels anxious that you won’t “get it done.” This situation triggers a stress response, causing adrenalin to release into your blood stream. The adrenaline is there to help you run faster or fight better, neither of which you’re doing when you’re sitting at a desk frantically typing your final report.

In this situation, your adrenaline doesn’t help you, it makes you more anxious, which exacerbates the problem.

It’s as if you’re an ungrounded, loose electrical line that is flailing around, throwing off sparks, yet still trying to function as though nothing is wrong. If the wire were a closed circuit, there would be currency flow and no danger. But if you came into contact with the loose wire, it could kill you. And so can your behavior, literally and figuratively.

Anxiety and Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is the result of living in a high state of anxiety and stress, and overworking is a large part of why this happens. It’s so prevalent, 66% of the world’s population has adrenal fatigue.

Overworking oneself to death is such a common experience in Japan that the Japanese have a name for it: Karōshi.

So what can you do to decrease the flow of adrenalin in your body? Ideally, you’d listen to your body and put your work on hold until tomorrow or take a break to walk around or eat. But I realize that’s not entirely realistic all the time. So again, what can you do?

3-Minutes to Reducing Work Related Anxiety

1. Notice where you’re holding the majority of energy in your body. It’s probably mostly in your head and/or chest.

2. Take a moment to relax with a deep inhale and nearly audible sigh on the exhale. Drop your shoulders and breathe from your diaphragm. Inhale and exhale a few times and on each exhale, slowly imagine dropping your energy from your head into your neck, chest, shoulders, through your abdomen, pelvic region, down your legs, into your feet and into the ground.

3. Set the intention to let everything you’re doing flow easily and surrender to the Divine (e.g. God, Goddess, The Universe, Spirit, your Higher Self, etc.) and feel the support you’re receiving. Allow this connection to guide you to what is most important in that moment.

4. Work as though you have all the time in the world. You will get things done more quickly.

You can use this process whenever you’re feeling anxiety, whether or not it’s work related.

This process probably won’t relieve your tiredness (although it might), but it will reduce the rush of adrenaline that’s contributing to your anxiety, creating a healthier environment in your body.

Don’t let the simplicity of the steps fool you. This is potent soul medicine that can radically change your life for the better if you make it a habit. Ask me how I know…


P.S. Here’s a helpful article with great tips about overworking (by The Millennial Miss)