How To Manage Your Workplace Anxiety

5 minutes

Anxiety is a common emotion that we’ve likely all experienced at some point in our liv...

Anxiety is a common emotion that we’ve likely all experienced at some point in our lives. People who have an anxiety condition usually experience high levels of anxiety, which can significantly lower their quality of life.

Over 8 million people in the UK, or slightly more than 1 in 10, suffer from one of the many distinct types of anxiety disorders.

When we discuss anxiety, we could discount or invalidate it by saying that the person is "just worrying" or "just stressed." These frequent expressions may be dangerous. . That’s why we want to challenge the notion that it’s ‘just’ anxiety and share the truths about the condition.

Numerous factors, such as relationship stress, exam pressure, starting a new job (or losing one), and other major life events, can cause anxiety. However, one of the main stressors is likely to be your job or place of employment. Anxiety at work can significantly lower your quality of life and make you wait impatiently for the end of the day to arrive. About three out of every four persons who experience stress or anxiety claim that it interferes with their day-to-day activities, and this is true even at work.

Anxiety can impact how well a person performs at work, the calibre of their work, their interactions with coworkers, and their interactions with superiors. Additionally, these difficulties might be even more challenging if you have an anxiety disorder that has been identified. Not everyone has the skills necessary to control and deal with their anxiety at work. Many people find it difficult to focus on their work because of excessive concern about a variety of daily issues relating to their personal or professional lives.

Read our suggestions on how to control your symptoms and receive the help you require to start feeling better if your anxiety is interfering with your ability to work:

What is Workplace Anxiety?

The appearance of anxiety symptoms at work, such as unease, worry, or apprehension, is known as workplace anxiety. Both during and after working hours, you could experience these emotions. Worries about your work performance, working relationships, putting in excessive hours, approaching deadlines, your job security, or a toxic work environment are some of the things that might create workplace anxiety.

The Health and Safety Executive reports that work-related ill health cases involving anxiety and other mental health issues, such as stress and depression, account for 50% of all instances in the modern workplace.

Your ability to perform your job may be significantly impacted if you have anxiety at work.

It is very acceptable to occasionally feel stressed and nervous about your employment because stress and anxiety are a part of everyone's daily lives. Given the importance of our employment in our life, it's common to experience anxiety when starting a new job or under particularly intense work pressure.

Common indications of anxiousness include:
  • A persistent sense of worry, apprehension, dread or hopelessness
  • Feeling trapped and unable to find a ‘way out’
  • Feeling fearful, paranoid and tense
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue
  • feeling depressed or irritable
  • Anger and impatience
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Panic attacks
  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
In addition to general symptoms of anxiety, signs of work anxiety can include:

• Avoiding taking on new tasksless tolerance for work stress or feedback

• Fear of not performing to standards

• Loss of interest in work

• Reacting to work stressors with more anxiety than fits the situation

• Procrastination

• Taking more time off from work than usual

• Difficulty concentrating or focusing

These symptoms may make it difficult for you to perform your job because you find it challenging to focus or to be motivated to complete the tasks that have been assigned to you. It might eventually cause your career to suffer, your relationships at work to deteriorate, or you to take more sick days.

Managing Anxiety at Work

Even though you might be too stressed to work right now, you could find some of these suggestions helpful when the time comes and you're prepared to return to the office:

Plan ahead

Take the time to plan out your days and weeks. That way, you will have full visibility of the tasks you want and need to accomplish. A well-structured plan will help you to feel in control of your work and your working day, which can ease any feelings of anxiousness.

Break each task down into manageable chunks

Breaking down your goals into manageable chunks will make managing anxiety at work much simpler so that you don't overload yourself. While this could lengthen your to-do list, splitting larger jobs into smaller action items will allow you to proceed through chores gradually.

Be honest and realistic with yourself about what you can accomplish, and you'll find that you're making progress without exerting too much effort. By doing this, you keep yourself from feeling pressured to finish the bigger assignment. The ability to mark off each step you complete can also greatly increase your confidence.

Give yourself realistic deadlines

Project deadlines that are excessively tight can simply make you more anxious. Occasionally, anxious people will consent to deadlines and timeframes that they are aware they cannot meet. You can begin to obtain a realistic idea of how long a project will take by breaking larger activities down into smaller phases; utilise this planning stage to set deadlines that you are comfortable with. It's frequently preferable to be sincere up front rather than apologise later.

Not all deadlines are movable, but if you can be honest up front and work at an appropriate rate, it will save you hours of stress. Furthermore, you will seem much better if you complete the task earlier than expected. To help others understand why you've set particular deadlines, if necessary, explain the many procedures that must be taken.

Ask for help

We recognise that for someone who struggles with anxiety, asking for assistance at work can be challenging because you worry that others will think less of you. A reasonable manager will respect you for being responsible and want to provide you with the support you need to complete the work if your workload becomes too heavy or you need a little help on a project.

Accept that you will experience some anxiety

Everybody occasionally experiences anxiety. Stress-related behaviour is a typical human reaction. Everyone has bad days, regardless of how lovely their life appears to be from the outside. It's critical to keep in mind that you have no influence over other people, situations that cause your worry, or even your anxiety.

Recognise what you cannot alter and practise self-love. It's critical to have coping mechanisms in place for people with anxiety disorders since they may experience anxiety more frequently or intensely than persons without the problem. These mechanisms can help people manage the times when they feel overwhelmed. You can learn these coping mechanisms and prepare for the future with the aid of professional support and treatment.

Take good care of yourself

Self-care is crucial because it can prevent your stress and worry from becoming out of control. Take appropriate pauses during the working day to give yourself a chance to relax and refuel. Additionally, make sure you are receiving enough rest, eating a balanced diet, exercising, and participating in society.

Simple changes to your self-care routine can help you feel less anxious, have more energy, and have better attention. Simple lifestyle adjustments like the following can make you feel stronger and more resilient:

• Moving regularly. Taking a walk on your lunch break could help boost both your mental and physical health.

• Getting the right nutrition for you. Eating nutrient-dense foods during mealtimes can support your energy levels and focus. Consider avoiding processed sugars where possible, as they can worsen anxiety symptoms.

• Sleeping well. Though it may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, prioritising sleep can help you feel more focused and less anxious during your waking hours.

What Should I do if I’m too Anxious to Work?

If you’ve been feeling too anxious to work lately and want to start tackling your symptoms, below are a few steps that you may find helpful:

Contact your GP or a mental health doctor

You can get the anxiety treatment you require to start managing your symptoms from a GP or mental health professional.

People with anxiety problems frequently receive treatment by completing a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) curriculum. You and your therapist work together throughout these sessions to identify the root reasons and precipitating events of your anxiety. After that, you study and put into practise coping mechanisms to help you handle future triggers and symptoms more effectively.

When you have the proper coping mechanisms in place to handle your anxiety, you'll probably feel more at ease and assured about returning to your place of employment. In addition to a therapy course, medication may be provided to help with the management of your anxiety disorder.

Think about your past jobs to help you plan for the future

Consider what made you feel worried while working at previous jobs and, if you are presently employed, what makes you feel too anxious to perform the duties of your current position. Is there anything you could do in your next work to control these symptoms?

You may have discovered, for instance, that your anxiety increases when you must interact with particular people or when your plate is overflowing with obligations, deadlines, or duties.

Consider the things you would change in a future workplace. Would you rather work in a less deadline-driven, high-pressure workplace or with a smaller team of people? The right job for you will be one that doesn’t cause your anxiety to rise to an unmanageable level.

Talk to someone you trust

It's possible that your anxiety is affecting other aspects of your life as well if you feel too anxious to work. Try not to keep what you are experiencing to yourself.

Speak with your friends and family. Talking through your anxiety might be a helpful method to deal with your intense feelings. Additionally, speaking with a trusted individual, such as a member of your family or a close friend, will make you feel understood and supported.

Speak to Your Manager

Consider telling your boss about the situation and asking for modifications to your work environment if you routinely deal with anxiety at the office. Commonly requested accommodations for anxiety include: 

• A flexible timetable 

• A schedule with adapted breaks

• A quiet place to rest

Be detailed and solution-oriented when discussing fear with your boss. Let them know that a changed timetable or another accommodation could enhance the quality and quantity of your work rather than making a generalisation like "my anxiety prevents me from working."

It could be beneficial to formalise your request in writing because speaking with your boss can be nerve-wracking in and of itself.

Join a support group

Speaking with folks who have experienced things like their own might be helpful for many people who struggle with anxiety. It might give you a sense of understanding and be a means to seek support and guidance from those who understand what you're going through.

If you'd like to join a support group, speak with your doctor or other health care provider who can offer advice and direct you to the most appropriate group.

Working while experiencing anxiety can be a common and problematic issue. Numerous factors, including a demanding job, issues at home, or even an anxiety disease, might cause it. It may have an adverse effect on how well you perform at work, making it more difficult for you to focus and meet deadlines, as well as having an adverse effect on other aspects of your life.

You could find coping techniques helpful, as well as talking to your manager or the HR department about your feelings. You may be able to better control your symptoms and deal with the underlying problems by seeking professional assistance.

If you feel like you are struggling with anxiety try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member, health professional, or counsellor. You could also contact Samaritans, call: 116 123 or emailing: if you need someone to talk to. Alternatively, you can also consider peer support, where people use their experiences to help each other. Find out more about peer support on the Mind website and listen to free mental wellbeing audio guides.

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