What to do if work stress gives you panic attacks like ‘Frozen’ Broadway star Patti Murin, Kevin Love and Kendall Jenner
Even Disney princesses panic.
Patti Murin, who plays Anna in “Frozen” on Broadway, revealed that she missed Tuesday’s performance after suffering a severe anxiety attack.
“So last night I called out of the show because I had a massive anxiety attack in the afternoon,” Murin wrote on Instagram Wednesday.
So last night I called out of the show because I had a massive anxiety attack in the afternoon. It had been building up for a while, and while the past month has been incredible, all of the ups and downs and stress and excitement really takes a toll on my mental health. I’ve learned that these situations aren’t something to “deal with” or “push through.” Anxiety and depression are real diseases that affect so many of us. It requires a lot of rest and self care to heal every time it becomes more than I can handle in my daily life. While I hate missing the show for any reason at all, Disney has been nothing but supportive of me as I navigate my life and work, and I’m so grateful to them. Just remember that you’re not alone, your feelings are real, and this is not your fault. Even Disney princesses are terrified sometimes.
The show based on the 2013 animated flick that became a global phenomenon just opened last month, and the 37-year-old star wrote that “all of the ups and downs and stress and excitement really takes a toll on my mental health,” and noted that, “I’ve learned that these situations aren’t something to ‘deal with’ or ‘push through.’
“Even Disney princesses are terrified sometimes,” she added.
Murin joins NBA star Kevin Love, who also recently disclosed a terrifying panic attack he experienced during a game against the Atlanta Hawks last November in a column for “The Players’ Tribune.”
“I felt my heart racing faster than usual… [and the] air felt thick and heavy,” Love wrote. “I ran back to the locker room… It was like my body was trying to say to me, ‘You’re about to die.’ I ended up on the floor in the training room, lying on my back, trying to get enough air to breathe.” He blamed family issues, lack of sleep, and mounting expectations for his team’s performance as “a perfect storm” of factors.
“Everyone is going through something that we can’t see,” he concluded.
He’s not alone — even Kendall Jenner, 22, confessed in a interview for the February edition of Harper’s Bazaar that she “literally [wakes] up in the middle of the night with full-on panic attacks.” She insinuated that anxiety could partly be attributed to being thrust into the limelight at a young age.
“If something isn’t going the way I planned, I freak out. Some days I just want to go live on a farm and not talk to anyone and just exist in the middle of nowhere.”
Millions of Americans can relate to these pressures — indeed, a 2017 report from the American Institute of Stress found that 40% of workers “reported their job was very or extremely stressful.” One-fourth said it’s the no. 1 stressor in their lives.
“Constant preoccupation with job responsibilities often leads to erratic eating habits and not enough exercise, resulting in weight problems, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels… [and] can also accelerate the onset of heart disease, including the likelihood of heart attacks,” the American Psychological Association warns.
Everyone reacts to stress differently, says Dr. Curtis Reisinger, the chief of psychiatry at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York. However, it’s not a threat to be taken lightly: It’s “how hives occur, stomach distress, butterflies, throwing up,” and worse.
If you too are suffering from job stress that’s bubbling over into your personal life, here’s how to get it under control.
1. Use your “Do Not Disturb” setting: Reisinger says that the constant barrage of emails, texts, and phone calls many of us experience after-hours is overwhelming. So, set a regular time — perhaps 9 p.m. — to switch your mobile device onto silent mode, thereby liberating yourself from its obtrusive “dings and dangs.”
2. Minimize stress from others: “Stress is contagious,” Reisinger warns. People whose lives are in constant bedlam “can suck you in and you can become part of their story.” To combat this, quietly draw the line with friends and coworkers. For instance, “you don’t have to say, ‘I don’t want to be around you,’” Reisinger says, but instead, try: “I’ve got something that’s private to do and I’ve got to attend to it. I’ll get back to you at this time.”
3. Go for a walk: Reisinger says that just spending a few minutes walking around your office or stepping outside for fresh air can help you escape from the minefield of stress that the workday can throw at you. “Go take a five minute break. Walk down the hall in your building [or] go out on the balcony,” and focus on something else until your body’s internal stress levels go down.
4. Get away: You might want to turn an upcoming weekend day into something of a mini vacation, Reisinger advises. Take a drive to a local spot or a recreational day trip to simulate a vacation. Or cash in on all your vacation days at once to go on a journey — research has shown that 55% of workers who return from positive vacations come back with higher levels of energy than before they left.
5. Get a better night’s sleep: If you’re experiencing degraded sleep from stress, don’t spend time in bed when you’re not sleeping. That’s tantamount to “[training] you to be awake in bed,” says Dr. Steven Feinsilver, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital.
And you need to design a bedtime ritual that can help you sleep. Feinsilver, like Reisinger, suggests banishing cell phone use at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, take a hot shower to decompress — or anything that helps you let off steam. Feinsilver has one rule you can’t violate though: “No personal electronics, no phone, no computer.”
This article was originally published on Jan. 15th, 2018, and has since been updated.
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