overcoming anxiety

An 8-Week Transformation: Overcoming Anxiety to Re-engage in Work

In the sphere of mental health in occupational rehab, the narrative often touches on the profound struggles individuals face when anxiety impedes their professional lives. 


The journey from recognising these challenges to overcoming them is significant and impactful, especially when viewed through the lens of an 8-week transformative program. As was the case for a recent customer we worked with. 


The Time of Referral: The Depths of Anxiety


The story begins with “Sarah,” a professional whose career trajectory took a sharp downturn as anxiety took hold, rendering her unable to fulfil her role.


Sarah was already working with a Psychologist due to a critical need to address her debilitating anxiety, which had significant ramifications on her professional life and personal well-being. On top of psychology, her rehab advisor posed Exercise Physiology as a means of additional support – Sarah she was open to EP and in came the referral. At the time of referral, she was facing overwhelming challenges, including sleep disturbances, intense fatigue, poor concentration, and a pervasive low mood. These symptoms not only hindered her ability to work effectively but also impeded her capacity for maintaining an online presence, which was crucial for her profession.


In steps EP: Our Comprehensive and Tailored Approach


Guided by exercise physiologist Georgia, a targeted program was crafted to address Sarah’s anxiety, recognizing the essential role of physical activity in mental and emotional wellness. Georgia developed a regimen that combined aerobic exercises, strength training, and mindfulness practices like yoga, aiming to boost mood and encourage neurotransmitter production for mental health benefits. These sessions were designed not only to improve physical fitness but also to offer joy and a mental reprieve, vital for Sarah’s engagement and recovery.


Beyond exercise, Georgia provided crucial education on sleep hygiene and stress management, embedding motivational strategies to nurture Sarah’s progress and self-confidence. Establishing a consistent exercise routine helped to structure Sarah’s day and included social activities to enhance her support network. Utilising heart rate variability data, Georgia personalised Sarah’s sessions, illustrating how targeted physical activity could fortify her nervous system and overall mental resilience, encapsulating a holistic approach to her anxiety management.


Quantifiable Outcomes in Just 8 Weeks:


  • Sarah’s overall well-being improved dramatically, with her RAND-36 well-being score escalating from 27.8% to 75.6%.
  • Her perceived functional capacity witnessed a substantial rise, moving from 9 out of 50 to an impressive 40 out of 50.
  • Transitioning from only working a couple of hours per week on administrative duties, Sarah began working 15-20 hours per week, including regaining an online presence and partaking in some face to face meetings 
  • Notably, Sarah felt empowered to continue on her own. She has now embraced a regular exercise regimen, participating 3-5 times a week, and integrated family-involved activities. 


Sarah’s story powerfully illustrates the significant impact that even a brief, targeted intervention can have in the realm of exercise physiology. 


In just 8 weeks, this concise yet impactful program gave Sarah the confidence and momentum she needed, guiding her from a place of professional stagnation and intense anxiety to a renewed engagement with her career and a proactive stance in the digital domain of her work.


Do you have a customer who could benefit from a short intervention like this? Reach out to us today.

Author: Tessa Nielsen 
Clinical Exercise Physiologist and
Content Creator at Specialised Health

Further reading:

Stepping Back to Move Forward: A Mental Health Customer Story

Strolling to Success: The Research Backed Benefits of Walking

Biometrics. A Valuable Tool in Invisible Illness?

Perinatal Anxiety and Depression – Eating and exercising your way back to health

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