When do you feel anxiety in your career, and what do you do to overcome it?

I'm the cofounder of Quiet Strength and we have an event next week for creative introverts who struggle with anxiety in our industry. I'd love to find out how others cope.


  • Portfolios are often a sore spot for creatives, a lot is attached to them and finding time to spend on them is tricky. But if you can do it, putting all your best work together in one place is not just a great way of showing others, it's also super affirming to yourself to see all your strongest work together. Also, I have run the gamut of small boutique agencies right up to massive corps – almost no one has their act together fully. So many people are winging it and just present well. So bear that in mind when you think you're not up to a task, you're among good company.
  • Travelling and changing of the routine, trying new activities
  • @Maria Rodrigues Hi Maria these are excellent tips, I think especially the getting up early and going out/moving/exercising is very important. I find it really easy to think 'not today', but every time I do make the time I notice a real difference in how I feel. But I struggle as well because I'm not a morning person.
  • @Harpreet Ahadi no problem. I’ve tried it and found it really works. I listened to most of a trauma super conference and one of the doctors recommended it as it helps soothe the nervous system and especially the vagal nerve.

    Our vagal nerve becomes over activated when we’re anxious so learning to sooth it can really help. Another way to do this is through meditation.
  • @Luke Freeman yes :) apparently even 10min in a green environment calms one. i.e trees
  • @Maria Rodrigues It can be so easy to be hard on yourself on bad days, it's always useful to recognise that it's okay to not be on top form 24/7. Thank you so much for sharing those tips Maria. I can see you've done a lot of work to get to this point and that you have a lot of courage in you being open about your experience.
  • Apart from meditating and working out each morning, I try to take regular and short breaks. Setting an alarm for every two hours really helps keep you active, and manages stress levels better - in my opinion.

    Also, great suggestion @Suzie Austen really like the Lavender/German Chamomile in a diffuser idea. Been looking for something like this!

    Thanks :)
  • @Ruth Park I love that! All feelings are valid and normal. Being mindful to remember that things do go well is a lovely tip. I'm sure in the moment that's hard but it's a huge strength to be able to do that.
  • Came across this feeling before, mainly being over worked, feeling I couldn’t take time off (no holidays) from design related work. Felt I was at a point of my career where I was coming to a burn out.

    In which I gave up my job as an in-house designer, on the bases of work didn’t feel creative, it was becoming a cliché (doing the same thing every day) and not becoming creative, having my process being governed by managers.

    When I gave up my jb, going back to freelance it gave me a chance to approach design and balance it with a lifestyle.

    I would suggest take time off from design at times, spend time away from designing doing something that relaxes you, clear your head and decompress. and spend time walking rather than being surrounded by the choas busy commute.

    Stefan Sagmeister, speaks about the subject
  • @Yoshitsugu aka Yoshie Kosaka I can understand that, it is always great to feel productive and helpful. I'm sure your team always appeciate the willingness to contribute.
  • I remember the times things went well and try to dwell on that, can be difficult though. or research psychology findings to help realise what I am feeling is natural.
  • As someone who struggles with anxiety and easilly falls into depressive episodes, I've had to search for ways to cope with it. Some days there's nothing I can do but tell myself that tomorrow's a brand new day, and that it is okay to fall short sometimes, if that means taking care of your mental health.

    Here's some things that have helped me both avoid the build-up of stress and get through anxiety:

    1. Try and plan my week ahead

    2. Prioritize and shift the focus. If by any means some tasks can't be met when they were supposed to, moving along to the next most important thing can be helpful

    3. Exercise the stress out

    4. Get those 8h of sleep

    5. Get ready in the morning and go out even if it's for 5 minutes

    6. Make sure to make time with friends even if it feels stressfull - because that's just the anxiety speaking louder, and isolation is much tougher

  • I have panic disorder so usually something tips me over into panic mode and then it’s a question of getting through the rest of the day . Sometimes it can be that I have a lot to do and not sure how I can fit it all in, it could be that I’m handling a trickier stakeholder or I feel powerless in a certain situation.

    Here are a few things which help me:
    1. Sit quietly, meditate and focus on feeling my breath – this is easier to do WFH
    2. Distract myself with a work task
    3. Lavender or German Chamomile in a diffuser if I’m home
    4. Reach out to a work colleague I trust
    5. Exercise the anxiety out
    6. Tell myself tomorrow is a new day
    7. Try to determine the trigger when I have time to reflect

    I do have lots of tools to draw upon, and for that I’m lucky.

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