I found this amazing hidden stairwell at work. I’ve been working here for over two years now, and I never even knew it existed — I think a lot of people don’t.

It’s so little used, it still smells of fresh paint, the air is a little bit cooler, and when I’m there, I feel like I can breathe again.


The topic of “anxiety” pops up quite a lot lately on social media. I thought it sounded like an overly dramatic word, right until it started affecting me as well.

It took me quite a while to actually realise what’s going on… First I blamed coffee, and swore off caffeine altogether. Then red wine. I nearly went to see my GP thinking there’s something seriously wrong with my heart and blood pressure. It took a significant argument at the office, and all the anger that followed, to realise that it was caused by stress at work, and the big ugly a-word. And then it took some more time to accept that that is what’s happening.

I’m quite far past the burnt-out stage at this point, so finding ways to get some fresh air at the office has become a daily necessity. I hide “to get work done”, started to go for runs at lunchtimes, and scoured the building for any spaces where I can be alone and breathe.

Sadly, learning “not to care” is something I started taking seriously. I’m normally a total perfectionist, and one of those defender-of-the-right-thing-to-do type people. I badly need to switch that attitude over, at least temporarily for the sake of my own health, into doing the minimum, and not giving a toss.

In some ways, I’m reminded of one of my 2016 goals: “Stress less, take things easier.” I’m now thinking it should also say: “Care only about things that matter.” Right now what matters is finding a job I’m happy in. And until then, to breathe.

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