Work anxiety can be caused by different elements, with some cases more severe than others. Although there is no official diagnosis of work anxiety disorder in the DSM, there are certain symptoms that are common in terms of anxiety disorders and anxiety in general or even burnout. Certain symptoms are common in terms of anxiety disorders and anxiety in general or even burnout. Some of the signs and symptoms of this include:
- Excessive or irrational worrying,
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep,
- Exaggerated startle reaction,
- Feeling jittery,
- Avoiding family/friends,
- Feeling down,
- Loss of interest in your work,
- Bad memory,
- Difficulties in concentration
- Constant worrying, A desire to be perfect,
- Irrational fear of making mistakes and feeling emotional
There are some strategies that individuals can be utilized to help you manage anxiety at work. Individuals must keep in mind that anxiety at work can be contagious and try to stay away from people who make you feel worse, as much as possible. Avoid unhelpful coping strategies such as binge eating, substance abuse, overuse of caffeine, abuse of prescription medications.
Here are some strategies you can try during and after your workday to help with your anxiety:
1.) Communicating openly:
Talking is very important, whether it be with friends, family, or a counselor. Keeping things bottled up always makes them worse, so get your worries/thoughts off your chest.
2.) Breath and relax:
Everyone tends to think that, as breathing comes second nature, there is no wrong way of breathing. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is a right and wrong way of breathing. It is essential that correct breathing is learned, understood, and established. An anxious body is not a relaxed body, which is why learning how to relax your body in any situation is a must. This will help you specifically in the workplace.
3.) Exercise for anxiety:
Exercising releases endorphins that make us naturally feel good. It also increases our body temperature which can have a calming effect as well as burning off excess energy that can lead to anxiety. You are not expected to do a marathon or a gym class five times a week but making a small effort every day will help.
4.) Diet is very important:
It is very easy to eat too little or too much. Food is energy, therefore important in the upkeep of our body and the way it functions. You would not expect your car to run properly without it having the proper fuel, it is the same for your body.
5.) Practice positive thinking for anxiety:
This takes practice but changes everything. Thought control has an extremely strong influence on our lives. Letting your mind run away with itself is not good for anxiety. Look at the facts; Are your worries really a threat? If your thoughts are causing you to be anxious, they are unbalanced and need to be put into context. Each time you feel negative thoughts creeping in, take control, and replace them with positive ones. This can take time to achieve, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. You can also read about this in “staying positive at work.”
6.) Be mindful:
You need to bring a moment of mindfulness into your daily routine. This has been proven to improve both physical and mental health in many ways including lowering anxiety levels, reducing stress and decreasing depression. At the same time, mindfulness can help improve memory, boost self-esteem and lower blood pressure.
7.) Write in a diary:
Keeping notes of your thoughts and feelings can help tremendous amounts. A key thing to remember when writing in your journal is to note down the actions you have taken to overcome challenging times. Jot down anything positive that you can think of. Add to the diary lists of things that need to be done, then prioritize. As you get things done, tick them off. Noting the tasks down can also decrease anxiety.
8.) Rest when you need it:
Dealing with anxiety every day can be taxing on a person. It is common knowledge our bodies do not function as well when we are tired. A regular bedtime routine is always recommended. If you tend to have a brain that goes into overdrive just as you are settling down, write down on paper any worries or fears and promise yourself you will take care of them the following day. It is also advised to take time during the workday to walk away, take a few minutes to yourself. Get outside for a short break. A change of scenery can make the world of difference.
9.) Practice Self-Awareness
Before you can improve your situation, it is important to understand what exactly is triggering the anxious feelings or worsening the symptoms of your condition. Even if the root of your anxiety is something you cannot change, like having more work than you can handle, knowing the cause can help you figure out the next steps. It is a lot harder to reach a destination without a map.
10.) Take Time Off
Every six months or so, take some time off work and disconnect as much as possible. There is research about how important it is for your mental health to get regular breaks from work to decompress and reset. It gives you something to look forward to, time to reflect, and practice gratitude. Time off also helps build resilience.
11.) Know when to ask for help
If you are starting to experience some of the above-mentioned symptoms, know that you can always ask for help.
Putting a few of these points into practice can help you to start seeing a difference in your anxiety levels in the workplace, along with other areas in your life.