If work anxiety has you dreading work and you find yourself counting down the minutes until five o’clock every day, don’t worry; you’re not alone.
Work anxiety affects many people — it can dramatically affect your performance, the quality of your work, your ability to hit deadlines, and your relationship with your coworkers. The impact this can have on your overall mental health, well-being, and quality of life is huge, too.
Luckily, there are ways that you can manage and overcome your anxiety in the workplace. For some actionable tips and useful techniques for managing anxiety and stress, read on.
Find someone to talk to
One of the most important things you can do if you are dealing with work anxiety is to let someone know.
Don’t worry if you feel a bit self-conscious — you don’t have to shout it from the rooftops with a megaphone. Just find one person, or a few people you trust and like, and just give them a heads up. Fill them in on your condition, how it can make you feel, and what they can do to help in that situation — whether it’s having a chat over a cup of coffee, offering some help with your workload or just giving you a bit of space.
Take it from us — it feels good letting someone know, especially if you’re having a particularly rough day. It’s comforting to know that someone is aware of your condition and is keeping an eye on you.
Recognize your symptoms
Learning to recognize your symptoms of anxiety will help you to anticipate things like feelings of being overwhelmed or panic attacks and figure out how to handle them. It’ll also help you feel more prepared and in control, which can contribute to easing your symptoms.
If you can feel yourself starting to become stressed and dizzy, or are experiencing other symptoms of anxiety or panic, then you can take a break from your desk and step out of the office. Go for a walk, get yourself a herbal tea, or find a quiet corner — whatever you need to do.
Recognize your triggers
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of anxiety is one thing; recognizing what triggers it in the first place is another.
It’s not always easy to figure out what is making you feel stressed and anxious, especially if you have a delayed reaction. Of course, sometimes it’s easy — an impending deadline is making you feel the pressure, or your to-do list suddenly feels overwhelming, or an awkward situation with work colleagues becomes unbearable.
Sometimes it can be something completely unrelated to work; perhaps a stressful situation outside of work is weighing on your mind. It could be that you’re struggling with your body confidence and your internal critical voice is stopping you from seeing your own beauty.
There are ways you can build your body confidence when you’re in work (wearing underwear that makes you feel confident, comfortable and supported is a good start).
Recognizing your triggers is a great step toward learning how to manage and overcome your anxiety in public places.
Learn some coping techniques
Recognizing your symptoms and removing yourself from stressful situations is one way of handling work anxiety, but of course this isn’t always possible. Learning some techniques for coping with anxiety and stress will help you to tackle these feelings head-on.
Things like simple breathing exercises will help you to regain your sense of control and focus back on your work. Breathing exercises are easy enough to do, and can be done while sat at your desk.
You may also find that meditation and mindfulness will center your thoughts and distract you from feelings of anxiousness, calming your nerves. There are meditation techniques that you can use while at your desk that can help, such as focusing on an inanimate object or listening to meditative music.
Set yourself realistic tasks and deadlines
When you’re suffering from work anxiety, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with your workload. You can feel like you’re being bombarded with a huge pile of work and never-ending to-do list. If you’re anything like us, this panic then makes it difficult to complete your tasks — while still saying yes to extra work and immediate deadlines because you don’t want anyone to think you’re not coping.
Setting yourself realistic deadlines and achievable tasks will help to tackle this aspect of work anxiety. Be honest with yourself and your boss — if you cannot meet a deadline, don’t agree to it. Work at the best pace you can, but remember that at the end of the day, you’re only human.
Split your work day up into more digestible chunks and take it one manageable task at a time.
Keep open channels of communication
Sometimes, it’s our workloads that stress us out; sometimes, it’s deadlines. And sometimes, it’s our relationships with our coworkers.
A lot of work anxiety comes from conflict, a lack of effective communication, and trying to interpret what your teammate has said correctly. Sometimes, it can be hard to decipher intention and emotion — particularly if you’re using emails, messenger programs or an online workspace.
If you’re feeling stressed or worried about misinterpretation, don’t shut down or avoid that person. Speak to your colleague face-to-face (or if that isn’t possible, give them a call). It’ll save you time stressing and solve a lot of problems.
Open communication will help to ease workplace stress and encourage honest conversations, making your office environment much more pleasant to work in.
Don’t be afraid to get help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with work anxiety and you’ve been trying all of the methods above without any success, remember that there is additional help out there.
Speak to your doctor and see what they suggest; treatments like anti-anxiety medication may be an option. Counselling and therapy can also put you in touch with a mental health specialist that knows what they’re talking about, so that you don’t have to suffer alone.
Many people also use alternative or complementary treatments and therapies — CBD can help with anxiety, as can acupuncture and aromatherapy. And remember, everyone is different, so don’t stress about what is “normal” — just focus on what works for you and what your body responds to.
Work anxiety doesn’t have to take over your life. By following our useful tips, you can make managing and overcoming your anxiety in the workplace much easier — and you’ll find that you enjoy your job much more, too.