Tips for Handling Anxiety at Work
You know the scene all too well. It’s Sunday afternoon, 4:00pm. 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, 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. Whether it's due to an unmanageable workload, a colleague that you just don't click with, or a demanding boss, anxiety makes it hard to focus on work. In fact, anxiety from the workplace can even impact your overall well-being. In today’s blog,, we'll share some tips on how to manage 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 certain colleague or boss? Is it the workplace culture that is feeling toxic? Is it Janet from Cubicle 5 tapping her nails on the desk over and over? Once you identify the source, you can work on addressing it. If there is a certain tasks that feels overwhelming, consider breaking it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. If it's a difficult colleague or boss, you can consider having a conversation with them and resolving your concerns.
Mindfulness is a process that involves practicing presence in 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 practicing certain breathing exercises (here's a link to one of our favorites) 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.
Taking regular breaks throughout the day is essential to managing workplace anxiety. Consider taking a short walk outside or do some gentle stretching exercises during your break. Moving your body is an incredible way to move energy and help practice mindfulness like we spoke about in step 2. This can help you relax and recharge, which in turn can make it easier to focus on work when you get back. A change of scenery and some fresh air can do wonders. Don’t make your breaks be all about scrolling social media, which has been shown to increase anxiety overall.
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 activities like exercising, meditation, listening to uplifting music, or spending time with loved ones. You can also try bringing some self-care activities to work, such as keeping a stress ball on your desk or listening to calming music during your breaks. Another plug here for the essential oil! One thing that we are loving around here at the London Centre for Trauma Therapy is the use of SAD lamps. These are cheap and can really help to brighten your mood.
If your anxiety is impacting your work or your well-being, it’s definitely worth seeking support from a mental health professional. A therapist can provide you with 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 considering the fact that you spend so much of your life there, it’s worth it. You deserve to prioritize your mental health and wellbeing. By locating the source of your anxiety, practicing mindfulness skills, taking those breaks, prioritizing your self-care, and seeking support, you can begin to feel relief from the symptoms of workplace anxiety, while bringing back your productivity. You're not alone in your struggles, and 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.