Any workplace can be riddled with anxiety-provoking events and tasks – public speaking, performance reviews, high-pressure expectations, unhappy customers, tense meetings and coworkers – are everyday stressors.
On top of all the chaos of work, figuring out how to manage the anxiety that comes as a result adds another layer to the madness. In this article we’ll look at the top four things you need to be doing to keep anxiety in check and handle it gracefully when it shows up.
1. Get real with yourself about a healthy work-life balance
While there are several things you can do to lessen anxiety at work, the most beneficial thing you can do to decrease anxiety at work is to prevent it with a healthy lifestyle. Afterall, when you have a well-rounded schedule and are able to enjoy relationships and activities outside of the office, your overall stress and anxiety will be much more manageable.
While having a solid work-life balance sounds great, it’s not always easy to put into practice. Consider starting with one area of your personal life that you want to invest in, or one aspect of your job that you want to take a step back from. Maybe you want to minimize the amount of time you spend checking email after contract hours, or perhaps you’ve always wanted to take a cooking class.
Regardless of how you try to balance the scales, the important thing is to start somewhere. Having a schedule that jeopardizes your mental health isn’t productive for anyone, so take time to enjoy your life. Having a healthy balance can make your work life more effective and less anxiety-provoking.
2. Confront something that scares you
There are some anxieties at work that are inevitable. Even if you love your job there are bound to be aspects that are less than pleasant, and learning to embrace those challenges can empower you to feel good about yourself and your work.
Often, when we develop a fear of something, we make efforts to avoid that thing. While this may delay coming face-to-face with a fear, excessive avoidance can cause dysfunction, especially at work. Postponing a difficult conversation with your boss will only make the next hard conversation harder.
Mental health professionals use a method called exposure therapy to address this. The idea is that hiding from the cause of your anxiety makes it worse in the long-run, so confronting your fears actually decreases the anxiety you will feel overall. Stop procrastinating that scary presentation or asking for a raise. Take the plunge and put anxiety in its place.
3. Develop some skills to manage anxiety in the office
While some anxieties can be predicted and you can take measures to alleviate them, there will always be unexpected occasions for worry. A surprise deadline, a hostile interaction or even a company budget concern could happen out of the blue. Having skills to cope in a state of distress can be the key for how to deal with work-related anxiety.
In the mental health community, the skills that you foster to address difficult situations are termed coping strategies. Anything that helps you to calm down, or regulate your emotions can be considered a coping strategy. While some coping strategies are unproductive (like drinking alcohol, stress-eating or becoming angry), there are hundreds of healthy ways to regain your composure.
While laying on a beach can surely bring anyone peace, sadly some coping strategies may not be available to you in the office. Learning exercises that need little space, are not disruptive and require few materials will be your go-tos to deal with work-related anxiety. Try deep breathing, video meditations with headphones, using a fidget or reading self-affirmations.
4. Find ways to have fun at work
When there’s nothing positive about your job, the negatives pile up until work starts to produce anxiety in your life outside the office, too. While the routine of work can feel monotonous, no one should dread going to work to the point that the anxiety is crippling.
Building little moments of fun into your day can give you a healthy perspective about your job and help you to have power over work-related anxiety symptoms. Invest in relationships with coworkers through weekly lunches or volunteer to plan a party to celebrate your boss’s birthday.
Don’t let anxiety be your boss
Most people spend the biggest chunk of their awake hours at work. Don’t let it be engulfed in fear. When you have a solid work-life balance, embrace your fears, build skills to manage unexpected stressors and learn to enjoy the daily grind, you can kiss anxiety goodbye for good.
While anxiety can be addressed with these steps, the best treatment is always professional treatment. If work-related anxiety symptoms are preventing you from realizing your potential, there may be an underlying cause. Reach out to High Focus Centers to get the help you need for mental health and substance use treatment. Call 800-877-3628 today.