When anxiety hits us, it can impact our everyday functioning and lead to disruptions in our routine, intense worry, constant recurring thoughts, feelings of excessive nervousness. Most of us can develop anxiety after prolonged stress or exposure to situations that increase stress.
One commonly reported environment that can be anxiety-inducing is the workplace- extra-long hours at work, lack of support from the management and/or colleagues, and high workload can all lead to the development of anxiety. Keeping up with deadlines, presentations, meetings, staff engagements, speaking up during meetings, keeping up personal relationships, dealing with workplace issues are also situations that can lead to the development of anxiety.
Many times, we do not realize that we are having workplace anxiety. Sometimes this can influence decisions we make, which can result in turning down opportunities for career growth due to feelings of apprehension. Another sign of anxiety can be observed through physical symptoms such as stomach upset, sweating or not being able to sleep well. This can result in skipping work or increased desire to take leave or medical absence. This can also lead to poor job productivity. Workplace anxiety may cause us to-
- Avoid meetings with friends or family because we do not know what triggers may come about
- Constant worries about what people will ask you, think about you, or talk about you
- Constantly worry about issues that can be related to work or personal problems, or even unrelated triggers
- Constantly crying about issues that can be related or even unrelated to us
- Easily feeling irritable, tired, or tense- even the smallest events can cause us to feel big emotions – emotions we cannot control, and sometimes we may not even know why we feel the way we are feeling
- Have trouble sleeping – it can be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep during these times; also waking up during odd hours.
As much as all these can seem overwhelming, workplace anxiety can be manageable. When we need are able to identify situations that give us anxiety, we can better manage it. For example, keeping a log or dairy to keep track of our thoughts and feelings throughout the day at work can help us identify the causes that lead to our feelings of apprehension or excessive fear. Some ways to manage workplace anxiety include-
Adopt Healthy Habits
Getting enough sleep, eating healthy, regularly exercising, and not drinking too much alcohol or caffeine can help keep your mind and body at its best. Engaging in yoga is also a good way to build a healthy mind, which enables us to exercise calm and control. Some of the beginner exercises are available online which can be a good way for those who would be interested to try it before committing to a gym membership! Here are some exercises that you might enjoy- Exercise 1, Exercise 2, Exercise 3, Exercise 4
Have you heard of Marie Kondo? A clean house is a clear mind. Although clearing your computer and desk might not seem high priority, staying organized will do wonders for you in the long run. When we are able to reach out to or access things around us easily, it helps to feel that we have things under control, or that it helps us to be better prepared when we are more organized.
Ask for help if you need it. If you have too much to handle, speak up. Many times, we do not do this, due to fear or feelings of being judged – but we would never know how things can change for us if we never try. It is not a wrong to ask for help. Asking for help also does not mean we are incapable or incompetent. Sometimes you can be surprised with how many people around us would be happy to extend a helping hand!
Invest in Yourself
If you’re reading this, you’ve already made the first step – there are therapists you can see to understand yourself better and teach you ways to spot signs of anxiety and develop a game plan on how to handle those symptoms at work or anywhere else.
Prepare and Plan
Procrastination can be a big factor in anxiety building up over time. Try using to-do lists to prioritize your tasks. These lists can also ensure you set aside enough time to finish each task. If you have any major projects, get started on them early and set mini deadlines for yourself. This can also help to prepare for any hurdles or problems that might crop up and give you more time to manage them.
Set Clear Boundaries
Don’t bring work home with you. For example, make it a rule not to check your voicemail or work email once you leave the workplace to keep the boundary clear for yourself and your colleagues. Instead, try spending your personal time after work hours with your family and friends or learning a new hobby. • Take breaks when you need to. Try some deep-breathing techniques or take a walk to clear your head. This also includes vacations. Chances are, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to get back to it once you return.