If you deal with an anxiety disorder (or even if you haven’t), you may someday experience a panic attack or panic-like symptoms at work. If so, read on for three quick tips about what to do if this happens to you.
1) Know the signs of a panic attack.
Often, when you don’t know the physiological signs of a panic attack — heart racing, clammy hands, blurring and dimming vision, etc — you may feel more scared imagining you’re having a heart attack. Read up on the signs of a panic attack so you know what you’re dealing with.
2) Get yourself to a “safe space.”
When you feel a panic attack coming on, if possible, try and go to your nearest bathroom or a private conference room (wherever you won’t be seen).
Note: If you can’t go somewhere private and this happens in a meeting, pretend you have to lean down to tie your show or “drop” your phone and bend down to retrieve it. And stay down and practice tip number three.
3) Support yourself physically.
When you are in a safe space or wherever you are, lower your head until it’s almost between your knees and focus on taking slow, deep breaths.
You may be able to self-regulate and de-escalate the panic attack by doing this.
4) Keep a can of apple juice and some graham crackers in your desk drawer.
Hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other places where panic attacks can often occur often keep these on hand to help stabilize a patient’s blood sugar.
Consider these emergency rations and keep them in your desk should you ever need it after a panic attack.
Panic attacks can be very scary and can often feel debilitating.
But this doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to keep having them at work. Instead, imagine that panic attacks are big signals from your body – your emotional body in particular – that are begging you to pay attention to something.
If you would like help working through whatever this “something” may be for you personally and/or if you’re interested in learning even more tools and tips to cope with and eliminate panic attacks, please reach out to us.
We would love to support you.