Dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder is challenging, especially in social settings. Navigating panic attacks and flashbacks is a challenge, but experiencing PTSD symptoms is typically exaggerated in the workplace. When you’re worried about an administrator or co-worker’s judgment, it can be challenging to focus on your job.
Learning how to cope with PTSD symptoms is the best way to thrive in everyday life. Luckily, there are some specific ways you can manage your symptoms at work. Let’s discuss.
PTSD Symptoms and Your Job
PTSD is a complex diagnosis that comes with various symptoms and challenges. In general, active PTSD symptoms make it challenging to be around others. Unfortunately, symptoms can come crashing down at the worst times, even when you’re on the clock. Of course, it’s impossible to avoid being around people at work. Even those who work from home typically need to interact with bosses and co-workers at some point.
When you have PTSD, you may naturally feel you’re being watched. This only exaggerates PTSD symptoms of paranoia. The workplace environment also makes it difficult to find a dedicated space to decompress privately.
In the workplace, PTSD can cause poor concentration, poor working relationships, memory issues, anxiety, fear, panic attacks, and problems with attendance. Some individuals with PTSD may have difficulty being near other people. Many people feel uncomfortable being in small spaces where close contact is required. Loud voices, background noises, and other distractions can make it even more difficult for someone with PTSD to be in a workplace environment.
How to Deal with PTSD Symptoms at Work
Although dealing with PTSD symptoms is challenging, it’s not impossible. Sure, there will be times that are harder than others. Still, having effective coping strategies at your disposal can help you get through challenging moments.
The best way to manage your PTSD symptoms depends on you. Since every person experiences different symptoms, triggers, and challenges, you’ll need to try different coping strategies to find the best for you.
Accept the Trauma
There is no doubt that PTSD interrupts life. Many individuals avoid places, people, and situations that trigger symptoms. Since avoidance can create a significant problem with the status of your job, you’ll need to work hard to overcome avoidance tendencies. The best way to start is to accept the impact of your trauma. This will allow you to take action to overcome your PTSD symptoms.
Of course, triggers will come. There might never be a time in your life when triggers don’t exist. However, you can be understanding and give yourself the grace to ensure you face these triggers head-on, especially at work.
Take a Break
On tough days, take frequent bathroom breaks to allow yourself some privacy throughout the day. When you step away from your desk, practice deep breathing to reduce stress. Even a few deep breaths can help you manage irrational fears and panic. If you feel your PTSD symptoms coming on strong, take five minutes to do a short meditation. Mindfulness has proven incredibly successful in reducing stress and improving emotional control for individuals with PTSD.
Use Headphones to Block Out Distractions and Stressors
Put on headphones to create personal space when needed. This can be particularly helpful if you work in a busy environment where it’s hard to relax. If you experience anxiety, flashbacks, or other symptoms, headphones can help calm your nervous system. If you can listen to music at work, put together a relaxing playlist that lowers your heart rate and soothes your mind.
Avoid PTSD Symptoms by Sticking to Regular Work Hours
Only work during regular work hours to avoid unnecessary stress. Although working from home is great for many reasons, it opens the door to all-hours access to work stress. You’ll need to find a healthy work-life balance, typically sticking to specific work hours. Give yourself space to separate yourself from work outside of regular business hours. If you work from home, create boundaries with your work hours and have a designated workspace to limit stress.
Learn More About Healthy PTSD Coping Strategies with Our Mental Health Professionals
Getting through the workday with PTSD is not easy, but it’s possible. Practice different PTSD coping techniques outside of work to identify those that work best for you. If symptoms continue interfering with your job, contact one of our Vancouver mental health professionals for help. Call us today to learn more about your treatment options.