7 Tips for Coping With Anxiety in the Workplace
If you feel stressed at work, you’re not alone. Research shows that a staggering 83% of employees experience work-related stress. Similarly, over half of Americans are stressed during the day, and 57% of those who face stress feel emotionally paralyzed by it.
Coping with anxiety in the workplace can be challenging, but it’s important to manage your emotions. Let’s get into what you need to know.
Practice Setting Healthy Limits
You don’t have to say yes to every requested task or project that comes your way. In fact, taking on this burden often results in increased anxiety and burnout.
Instead, focus on knowing your limits. Define your working hours and stick to those times. If you don’t have the bandwidth to handle another task, say no or offer an alternative. Even if it feels scary, your supervisors and coworkers will likely respect you asserting your needs.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
Taking care of your emotions often starts with taking care of your body. That said, a poor diet, sleep problems, and a lack of physical activity can exacerbate your stress levels.
Make sure that you prioritize your physical well-being outside and within the workplace. Make sure you eat regularly, move around, and drink plenty of water. Take stretching breaks as needed and consider adding a few moments of meditation during your day.
Set Positive Rituals Before Work
If you sleep in late and rush to the office every morning, you’re bound to start the day feeling frazzled or agitated. Instead, reassess how you spend your time before work.
Fortunately, even small changes can make a dramatic difference. For example, consider waking up earlier and starting the day with a cup of coffee or tea while listening to relaxing music.
Download a book or podcast to listen to during your commute. Practice a positive affirmation like, today will be a good day, or I am going to feel confident today in the moments before clocking in.
Pause Before Responding
Anxiety can trigger irrational or impulsive reactions. Often, these patterns occur because you feel an intense sense of urgency. As a result, you might assume you will face serious consequences if you don’t react to specific requests instantly.
However, it’s usually realistic to take a few moments to think about the situation before responding. If you receive a confusing email or leave an uncomfortable meeting, take some time to reflect on how you feel. Think about what you might need. Consider if it’s worth discussing your concerns with a coworker or boss.
Pausing gives you time to regroup and collect yourself. In moments of panic, this mindset allows you to slow down and shift into more rational thinking.
Prioritize Optimal Time Management
Many people who experience anxiety at work also struggle with procrastination. You might feel so overwhelmed by the tasks on your to-do list that you dawdle or avoid them altogether. Unfortunately, this cycle only exacerbates anxiety.
Time management starts with auditing how you spend your time. When do you most waste it? What triggers you to prolong specific projects?
Better yet, when are you most likely to be productive? Is it in the morning or afternoon? Is it when you’re working in a group or alone? Knowing these answers can help you better structure how you spend your time.
Furthermore, it’s important to consider evaluating your most essential tasks each day. Consider writing down your “must-dos” and then your “want-to-dos.” Rank the “must-dos” in order of urgency and work through those first before tackling any optional tasks.
Although it may seem paradoxical, building in planned breaks can help you become productive. We’re not wired to work nonstop. Planning time to relax allows you to focus on what needs to be done while knowing a brief period of rest awaits.
Keep Things Into Perspective
If anxiety is interfering with work, it’s easy to feel consumed by small details that don’t matter much in the long run. In these cases, it’s helpful to reframe the situation and prioritize looking “at the bigger picture.”
You can practice this skill by challenging some of your thoughts. For example, how realistic is it that one minor mistake will result in getting fired? Furthermore, in the grand scheme of life, how much will it really matter if you must miss a deadline by a few hours?
Of course, bad things can and do happen, but anxiety can make us believe that the worst-case scenario will come true every time. Challenging yourself and reexamining the evidence can help balance your thinking.
Seek Therapy for Managing Anxiety in the Workplace
If you struggle with an anxiety condition, those symptoms can undoubtedly infiltrate your working conditions. At times, anxiety may be so consuming that it affects your confidence, performance, and ability to pursue important work opportunities.
Therapy can help you learn skills for recognizing key triggers and navigating anxiety in the workplace. Contact us today to get started.