No one would argue that 2020 has been a hard year, but there’s now proof it’s been especially hard on broadcasters. An October 2020 study of 1406 journalists in 125 countries done by the International Center for Journalists showed that 70% report some form of psychological toll during this past year. At the top of the list is anxiety (42%). I bet you voiceover professionals would agree. Catastrophizing, or imagining the worst possible outcome, seems to be a new sport for most of us.
I’ve put together a toolbox for broadcasters and voiceover provessionals of 4 techniques that can help deal with anxiety whether it’s from fear of infection, work pressure, family struggles, or insecurity about your job. These are easy, tried and true techniques that can make a real difference.
- Dump your anxiousness by writing about it. This can be a simple brain dump on your phone notes or a journal you keep. No restrictions on this. Write whatever you’re feeling. Some people like to hit delete when they’re finished to ensure privacy. Use writing to get feelings out of your head. It helps, I promise.
- When you feel overly stressed, ground yourself. Here’s a quick way to do that, one you can practice at your desk, as you’re waiting to get a live shot, or when you’re going into the booth to tape. Place your feet flat on the floor and your palms flat on your thighs. Feel the weight of your palms touching your thighs and the solidness of your feet. If you’re sitting feel your buttocks touching the chair. Next breathe in, thinking, “Calm,” and out, thinking, “Down.” Take several slow breaths. This will calm your anxiety. To learn how to take nice, deep breaths, watch this short video of mine on breathing diaphragmatically.
- Another remedy is simply moving. If you’re sitting, get up and take a short walk. If you’re lying in bed unable to sleep because you’re anxious, get up and walk around the house or sit and read something pleasurable until you feel calmer. Moving can help, and going outside in fresh air can really help. Really look at your surroundings. Getting a fresh view can come from looking at a different environment.
- Finally, thinking of someone other than yourself helps. For instance, write a short email to someone who needs your thanks or take time to stop and really thank the grocery check-out person or the barista when you’re getting coffee. Gratitude helps you stop thinking of your anxiety, and it helps another person as well.
Keep this toolbox of anxiety busters handy to help you through the coming months. And check another recent post, Calm Down So You Can Carry On, for a couple of additional coping tools.