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How To Deal With Anxiety At Work

How to deal with anxiety at work

Depending on what type of workplace you find yourself in, you could experience your anxiety levels rising from the moment that you step through the office door. Whether you are an employee, a manager, or somewhere in between, you are bound to experience some sort of stress in the workplace from time to time. In this article, we discuss some of the ways in which you can deal with anxiety in the workplace.

Do not overwork yourself

One of the quickest ways to add to your anxiety levels is by biting off more than you can chew. Overworking yourself can lead to high stress and burnout, so it is important to be completely aware of what you are committed to at any given time and if you can realistically handle your workload.

Of course, you are probably obligated to do a certain amount of work each month, according to your contact, but it is important that you are comfortable with saying ‘no’ if you feel like your workload is ever-increasing or above your ability to handle. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.

When working in a team, ensure that the majority of the work does not just get dumped onto you. Sometimes preventing further stress and anxiety means standing up for yourself and ensuring that you are not taken advantage of.

Get enough rest

When you are not at work, try not to think about work. Enjoy your rest and relaxation time, as this time is essential to your mental health. Getting enough hours of sleep also helps alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. Going to work when you have had a good night’s rest is an entirely different experience to when you have not had a good sleep or have been up all night. It is very important to prioritise your rest and get enough sleep.

Your hours of rest should also be of great importance. Resting and relaxing should be a part of your everyday routine. This can look different for everyone but could include reading a book, watching TV, exercising, or partaking in another leisure activity.

If you are a business owner, it can be very difficult to tear yourself away from your laptop or phone, but it is imperative that you make time for other aspects of your life for your mental wellbeing.

Know what you’re going to eat each day

When you are undernourished and do not have the right nutrition, your anxiety can definitely become worse. Not only that, without eating properly, you can quickly become moody and irritable. Ever heard of the term ‘hangry’?

If you don’t have healthy food options in your workplace, it is a good idea to bring your own pre-made healthy lunches from home instead of living on unhealthy takeaways and vending machines. Getting take-out while at work can easily become a convenient yet bad habit.

Additionally, it is obviously important to stay hydrated throughout the day and make sure that you drink enough water.

Know how to cope

There are many coping mechanisms for anxiety. Knowing which ones work best for you will help keep you clear-headed in moments of high stress and anxiety. When you feel anxiety coming on, you should know exactly which techniques you can employ to help you cope.

There is a variety of breathing as well as visualisation techniques that you can look into to help you better handle your anxiety in stressful situations while in the workplace.

Have good time management skills

Do you often find time running away from you when working on a project? This can definitely be stressful, but one way to deal with this is to develop good time management skills. Keep track of what is due when and perform tasks in order of priority. Also, get an idea of your usual concentration span, and be sure to give yourself regular breaks. Small breaks where you drink a glass of water and stretch your legs can help reduce your anxiety and increase your performance levels.

If you feel like you are battling to manage your time efficiently, speak to your employer as there is a chance that you may actually have too much on your plate.

Stay organised

If you are disorganised, things start to go wrong left, right and centre, which can heighten your anxiety. If you battle with organisation, you must find ways to become more organised, such as by keeping a diary or to-do lists. Choose a way to do this that works for you. Some people prefer to use apps on their phones, while others prefer calendars and sticky notes. Buying new stationery and notebooks can also help you keep organised. Think of the benefits of staying organised, and let those inspire you into action.

Being disorganised can make you appear unprofessional and send signals that you do not really care about your work.

Being organised and staying on top of things is definitely a good way to decrease your anxiety levels.

Don’t drink too much coffee

It can be quite commonplace to consume a lot of coffee in the workplace, especially in office environments where high-quality coffee is free! Office work and cups of coffee often go hand in hand. But if you suffer from anxiety, try going easy on the coffee as caffeine can heighten your anxiety levels. Too much caffeine is also not good for your general health. So try to lessen your coffee intake if you are consuming more than two cups a day. You may see your anxiety levels dramatically decrease just by taking this simple step.

It can be difficult to cut out coffee as both caffeine and sugar can be addictive, so try replacing your daily coffee intake with decaf or tea.

Avoid toxicity in the workplace

Unfortunately, the workplace can be a breeding ground for gossip and toxicity. These types of things can make your anxiety so much worse. Instead of worrying if people are talking about you or feeling guilty about talking badly of others, rather just stay out of it and concentrate on your work. Yes, it’s definitely easier said than done, but if you are conscious of who you speak to and what you say, a lot of unnecessary drama can be avoided. It can often be better to keep your friendships and personal life completely separate from the workplace.

That is not to say that you shouldn’t converse with any of your colleagues. Just try to stay away from those that are obvious gossipers and troublemakers. Listen to your intuition.

If you have an anxiety disorder, ensure that your employer knows about it

If you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, or if anxiety is just something you struggle with a lot, you may want to inform your employer. While it may be intimidating to bring up this issue with your employer, anxiety is more common than you think, and it is more than likely that your employer will be empathetic. If anything in particular in the workplace is triggering your anxiety, be sure to mention these to your employer.

You never know ‒ there may even be certain programs that your employer can enrol you in to help with your anxiety. But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. It can be scary to be open and honest about anxiety, but it will definitely be a weight off of your shoulders.

If you are the employer or an owner of a small business, ensure that your partners know about your anxiety so that they can alleviate stress for you when need be. If you are undiagnosed but feel that your anxiety is spiralling out of control, perhaps it is time to take the brave steps to see a medical professional for help.

Working from home

Many people with anxiety prefer working from home as they don’t need to interact as much with their employers or co-workers. But, that is not to say that working from home does not come with its own list of anxiety-inducing factors. To make working from home a more peaceful experience, ensure that you have the right tools and technology to get your work done in an efficient manner. Also, make sure that you have fast Wi-Fi and a quiet area where you can do your work. If you live with others, ensure there are boundaries set in place when it comes to them distracting you while you are meant to be working.

Remember to be present with how you feel working from home. The advantage is that if there is anything causing you too much anxiety at home, you most likely have more power to change it than you would in the workplace. If your home environment is too stress-inducing to work from, you could always look at working from a coffee shop or a co-working space. There are so many options available to you, and it’s important to find what works for your anxiety at work.


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