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When Work Becomes Overwhelming: Tips for Managing Anxiety at Work

Updated: Apr 21

Feeling anxious at work is a common experience that affects many people, with the demands and pressures of modern workplaces often being a significant contributor to this experience, so we want to help by giving you some tips on identifying and managing your workplace anxiety. Whether it's tight deadlines, complex tasks, or difficult coworkers, work-related anxiety can have a significant impact on your productivity and quality of life. However, managing anxiety in the workplace is possible, and in this article, we will explore tips to help you reduce anxiety, from understanding the causes to recognizing triggers and providing resources to support you. By following these strategies, you can prioritize your mental health and thrive in your career, even in challenging situations.


Understanding Workplace Anxiety


To effectively manage anxiety at work, it's important to understand the roots of this experience and how it manifests in the workplace. Workplace anxiety can stem from a variety of factors, including:

  • Job insecurity - This can cause stress and anxiety for employees who fear losing their jobs and becoming redundant or even fear of promotion and additional responsibility.

  • Challenging tasks - Can lead to anxiety, particularly if you feel ill-equipped to handle them or if the stakes are high.

  • Low autonomy - Feeling like you have little control hierarchy over your workload or decision-making, can also contribute to workplace anxiety.

  • Difficult relationships with colleagues or supervisors - Tense or uncomfortable workplace interactions can affect your day as well as productivity. Distraction or judgement due to interpersonal relationships can cause additional stress.

  • Income strains - The fear of losing money and unstable income can increase anxiety.

  • Reduced/Increased hours - Feeling pressure to get "everything done in a day", not making enough money or spending valuable time away from home.

  • Shift Work - Without a proper self-care (sleep/eating/exercise) routine, anxiety and depression can creep in due to neglect.

  • Commute - Long, tiresome or stressful commutes can increase anxiety before even getting to work.

By recognizing these potential triggers, you can begin to take steps to manage them before they become overwhelming and negatively impact your mental health. In the following section, we will explore ways to identify anxiety triggers and develop strategies to mitigate their effects, empowering you to take control of your mental well-being on the job.


Symptoms of Workplace Anxiety


Some of the symptoms of work anxiety?


  • Overwhelming or irrational worrying

  • Difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep

  • Loss of interest in your job

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Easy to feel irritable

  • Always feeling tired

Initially, you may associate a lot of these anxiety symptoms with "stress", "fatigue" or just "part of the job". It's essential to identify these symptoms when they occur and make notes of your daily feelings and moods, this will allow you to understand if these symptoms are unusual for you.


Recognizing Anxiety Triggers


To identify your own anxiety triggers, take some time to reflect on your work experiences and note times when you have felt particularly stressed or overwhelmed. Ask yourself what factors contributed to those feelings - was it a specific task or project? A difficult conversation with a colleague or supervisor? A lack of control over a particular situation? By pinpointing these triggers, you can start to develop strategies for managing them more effectively.


The best way to do this is to make notes throughout the day about interactions or incidents which have occurred throughout the day and the associated feeling you had at the time. This can be difficult to maintain and you may feel like you don't have the privacy required in your workplace to make these notes as and when; so another option is to analyse these factors at the end of the day and give yourself some clarity once you have removed yourself from the workplace environment.


The Discovery Journal is specially designed to help identify triggers of anxiety by simply noting down daily interactions and environments. By doing so the user can make connections, build a picture of their mood and track their emotions.



In the next section, we'll explore some practical tips for managing anxiety at the moment, so you can feel more in control and less overwhelmed on the job.,


Managing Anxiety in the Moment


When faced with overwhelming anxiety at that moment, it can be difficult to know what to do. However, there are some practical strategies you can implement to help manage those feelings and prevent them from spiralling out of control.


  • Deep Breathing Exercises -Take a few deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, which signals to your body to calm down.


  • A brief walk or step outside for some fresh air - The change of scenery and movement can help you gain perspective and refocus your thoughts. When feeling overwhelmed or fatigued removing yourself from that environment re-programs your brain and acts like a battery recharge.


  • Have a mantra or positive affirmation -repeat to yourself when feeling anxious. This can help to shift your mindset and remind you of your capabilities and strengths.


  • Practice mindfulness and stay present in the moment. Focus on the task at hand rather than allowing your mind to wander to future worries or past mistakes.


  • Seek Counsell from trusted work colleagues or friends - Take some time to speak to those around you about your anxieties and worries, voicing your emotions can calm you down and give you a new sense of perspective on the situation.


By implementing these strategies at that moment, you can help to manage your workplace anxiety and prevent it from becoming overwhelming. In the next section, we'll explore some long-term strategies for reducing workplace anxiety that you can implement to address the root causes and improve your overall well-being.,


Long-Term Strategies for Reducing Workplace Anxiety



To truly reduce workplace anxiety, it's important to address the root causes. While the tips discussed in the previous section can help in that moment, there are also long-term strategies you can implement to improve your overall well-being.


One approach is to examine your workload and see if there are any changes you can make to reduce stress. This might involve:

  • Delegating tasks

  • Setting more realistic deadlines

  • Talking to your supervisor about workload concerns

  • Prioritising tasks


Additionally, it's important to prioritize self-care activities outside of work, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.


Another strategy is to evaluate your work environment and identify any factors that may be contributing to your anxiety. This could include:

  • Noise levels

  • Lighting

  • The layout of your workspace


By making small changes to your physical surroundings, you may be able to create a more calming and productive atmosphere.


Finally, consider seeking out professional support if your workplace anxiety persists. This could mean talking to a therapist, joining a support group, or reaching out to an employee assistance program. By addressing the underlying causes of your anxiety and taking steps to improve your overall well-being, you can create a healthier and more sustainable approach to managing stress at work.


In the next section, we'll explore where you can find additional resources and support to help manage workplace anxiety.,


Where to Find Help and Additional Resources


If you're experiencing workplace anxiety, it's important to know you're not alone. Many individuals struggle with anxiety in the workplace, and there are resources available to help them manage their symptoms.


Therapy can provide a safe space to discuss your anxiety and learn coping strategies to manage your symptoms. You can search for a therapist in your area online or ask your primary care physician for a referral.


Join a support group. Sharing your experiences with others who understand what you're going through can be incredibly validating and empowering. You can search for anxiety support groups in your community or online.


Many companies offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) that provide resources and support to employees facing a variety of challenges, including anxiety. EAPs may offer counselling services, legal or financial assistance, or referrals to other resources in the community. If you're not sure if your employer offers an EAP, check with your human resources department.


Finally, there are many online resources available for managing workplace anxiety. Websites offer information on anxiety disorders, self-help strategies, and support groups. Additionally, there are a variety of apps available that can help you track your symptoms, practice relaxation techniques, and manage stress.


Online Portals may be available through your workplace. Large companies and corporations tend to have online portals that feature mental health advice, discounts on products and experiences as well as informative advice about the heirarchy of the company and contact information for individual employees.


Remember, managing workplace anxiety is a process, and it may take time to find the strategies and resources that work best for you. With persistence, and a little help, it's possible to create a healthier and more sustainable approach to managing stress at work.


In conclusion, workplace anxiety is a common experience that can impact our work performance, happiness, and overall well-being. Recognizing anxiety triggers, managing anxiety in the moment, and implementing long-term strategies are crucial steps for reducing work-related anxiety. Additionally, seeking support from trusted colleagues, friends, family, or professionals can help improve our mental health and quality of life. Remember, prioritizing our mental health is essential for our personal and professional growth. As the saying goes, "You can't pour from an empty cup," so take care of yourself first. By implementing these strategies and seeking support when needed, you can overcome work-related anxiety and thrive in your career.

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