She shares her experience of burnout in the legal sector and the pros and cons of anxiety in the workplace.
Gulnaz also gives some great tips on how you manage your wellbeing at work – whether that’s in you rown business or whilst working for someone else.
Tell us a bit about you…
I own two businesses that were started during the pandemic. One is a legal consultancy advising new tech startups and the other is an employment and business immigration law firm!
I used to work in the City as a financial services lawyer, which is a complete contrast in lifestyle.
Setting up two businesses has been one of the most rewarding journeys. I set up an employment law firm as I’m interested in mental health and workplace psychology. I find it fascinating trying to work out why people behave the way they do.
As an employment lawyer, I can be instructed by both people and businesses – my personal insight whilst working in corporate and observing people gives me the perfect opportunity to see it from both perspectives.
Outside of work, I like going on yoga retreats in the UK or abroad, going for long walks and I also host a wellbeing podcast!
What’s your experience with burnout?
I’m naturally quite an anxious person. I like to do things properly and I don’t like taking shortcuts so I think a less relaxed attitude can make it difficult to find balance!
But I think short bursts of little anxiety in the form of adrenaline can be good for you and can sometimes help you to get a task done as long as the symptoms don’t persist and become long term.
I’ve experienced it previously when my anxiety could be felt beyond work and at weekends with worry of getting it ‘all done’. That’s when anxiety is not good for you.
In hindisght, were there any warning signs that things were getting out of control?
I’m quite a perceptive person and I know when things are getting out of control.
The first sign for me is a nervous feeling in my stomach which can result in a feeling of panic. That’s when I know that it’s important to not have that feeling in my stomach again and again.
Of course, we get nervous before an exam or an interview or when we meet a new client, this type of anxiety is one that is for that moment or occasion. But when it takes over your body physically and is recurring that is a big warning sign.
That’s the time to react to try and ensure it doesn’t escalate
What did you do to recover and how long did it take to feel better?
I have stopped telling myself ‘it is normal to feel this way, everyone gets it.’ That’s because, although others may be experiencing it, it is an individual experience and recovery process.
I recovered by telling people about it being open about it. The quicker you recognise it, the quicker it will take to feel better. I find light exercise really good and a short meditation/quiet time straight after helps to regulate my breathing
If you had to go back to that situation what is the one things would you do differently?
Not let the nervous feeling linger. Remove yourself from the situation, even if it’s temporarily. Do something nice, get some fresh air, grab coffee with a friend – refresh before you go back to the situation.
Do you have any tips/advice that could help other business owners avoid what you went through?
Trust yourself that you are doing a brilliant job.
Try not to over-promise or commit to tight deadlines when you know you don’t have capacity to do so. Be upfront with the client when you can do it; most of the time they will understand.
Be kind on yourself, it will help in the long run!
If you liked this then you will love The Anti Burnout Bible. A fornightly digest of tips and tools that will help you find smarter and calmer ways of working. It features experts support and guidance that will help you thrive inside and outside of work.
If you’re feeling the effects of stress and would like some support – whether that’s for you, your team or your business – drop me an email or book a free call, to find out how I can help you work in calm, productive ways that keep you burnout free.