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  • Writer's pictureJordan Thomas

Tips for Handling Anxiety at Work

Updated: 5 hours ago

a woman of colour anxiously reading a report

You know the scene all too well. It’s Sunday afternoon, 4:00 pm. It’s time to start thinking about (or preparing) dinner. You mentally rehearse what needs to happen from this point on, knowing that work is coming tomorrow. Your stomach drops- work. It’s been causing you so much stress that you feel like you’re just trying to make it through the day until Friday. Your knees are weak, and your palms are sweaty, but you have to crack on making Mom’s spaghetti.

Having anxiety while in the workplace is on the rise. 72% of people say that they struggle with daily stress, and 56% of those say that workplace anxiety is a contributing factor. Anxiety makes it hard to focus on work, whether due to an unmanageable workload, a colleague you don’t click with, or a demanding boss. In fact, anxiety from the workplace can even impact your overall well-being. In today’s blog, we’ll share some tips on managing anxiety while you’re on the job so that you can have a more productive and enjoyable workday.

Identify the Causes of Your Anxiety

To manage workplace anxiety effectively, you need to know what’s causing it. Is it a particular task that’s causing stress? Is it a specific colleague or boss? Is it the workplace culture that is feeling toxic? Is it Janet from Cubicle 5 tapping her nails on the desk repeatedly? Once you identify the source, you can work on addressing it. If a specific task feels overwhelming, consider breaking it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Consider conversing with them and resolving your concerns if it’s a difficult colleague or boss.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a process that involves practising presence at the moment and involves using your senses to help. One way is to use breathing techniques. Mindfulness practices can be effective ways to calm your mind and reduce anxiety. Consider taking a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness at work. You can do this by practising specific breathing exercises (here’s a link to one of our favourites) or by taking a short walk and focusing on your surroundings. You can even get a rollerball of a pleasant-smelling essential oil to use as a soothing component.

Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks throughout the day is essential to managing workplace anxiety. Consider taking a short walk outside or doing gentle stretching exercises during your break. Moving your body is an incredible way to move energy and help you practice mindfulness, which we discussed in step 2. This can help you relax and recharge, making it easier to focus on work when you return. A change of scenery and some fresh air can do wonders. Don’t make your breaks all about scrolling social media, which has been shown to increase anxiety overall.

Prioritize Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is essential to managing workplace anxiety. Make sure to prioritize self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation. These can be exercising, meditation, listening to uplifting music, or spending time with loved ones. You can also try getting some self-care activities to work, such as keeping a stress ball on your desk or listening to calming music during breaks. Another plug here for the essential oil! We love using SAD lamps around here at the London Centre for Trauma Therapy. These are cheap and can help to brighten your mood.

Seek Support

If your anxiety impacts your work or well-being, it’s worth seeking support from a mental health professional. A therapist can provide tools and strategies to manage your anxiety while offering support and guidance. While very unpleasant, anxiety is highly treatable, and there are many strategies to help alleviate symptoms of workplace stress and anxiety.

It’s not always easy to manage work-related anxiety, but because you spend so much of your life there, it’s worth it. You deserve to prioritize your mental health and well-being. By locating the source of your anxiety, practising mindfulness skills, taking those breaks, prioritizing your self-care, and seeking support, you can feel relief from workplace anxiety symptoms while bringing back your productivity. You’re not alone in your struggles; things can and will turn around. Don’t forget- we’d love to help you. London Trauma Therapy offers counselling in-person at our London, Ontario location or online all across Ontario and Nova Scotia.


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