Work anxiety can drastically affect your quality of life and leave you counting down the minutes until five o’clock comes around. Roughly three out of every four people with stress or anxiety in their life say that it interferes with their daily lives, and the workplace is no exception. Anxiety can affect performance at work, the quality of the work, relationships with colleagues, and relationships with supervisors. And if you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, then these challenges may prove even more difficult.
While it’s true that nearly everyone experiences some level of stress these days, living and working with anxiety is different. It can be crippling, but it doesn’t have to push you down. Beyond getting the right diagnosis and treatment, you might consider incorporating some simple coping strategies into your daily life.
Here are 5 ways to deal with anxiety in the workplace:
1. Be Clear On Requirements
One of the factors that contribute to job burnout is unclear requirements. If you don’t know exactly what’s expected of you, or if the requirements keep changing with little notice, you may find yourself much more stressed than necessary. If you find yourself falling into the trap of never knowing if what you’re doing is enough, it may help to have a talk with your supervisor and go over expectations, and strategies for meeting them. This can relieve stress for both of you.
2. Focus On Helping Others
Studies indicate that one of the best ways to reduce stress is to focus on others. When we are stressed, our bodies release the hormone oxytocin and that, in turn, stimulates our desire for social connection. As a bonus, oxytocin is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps the heart recover faster from stress.
To use this strategy in the workplace, seek out opportunities to mentor. Mentoring increases your feeling of connection to your colleagues and brings more meaning to your daily routine. But it’s not just a feel-good proposition – it’s beneficial to your career as well.
3. Create Conditions For Success
Make your well-being part of your daily to-do list. Simple changes like avoiding too much caffeine, working by a window with natural light, and controlling noise in your workspace with headphones can all help keep the racing thoughts at bay. While you can’t control most of your environment, make it a point to change what you can.
Prioritizing rest is huge. Studies have found that getting more sleep helps about 50% of people feel more at ease and less anxious. Outside of the office, focus on creating rock solid work-life boundaries. For instance, pick a non-negotiable time to put away your work--and stick to it. Scheduling fun after-hours activities can help make that a reality.
4. Set Honest Deadlines
Anxious people sometimes will agree to deadlines and timelines that they know they cannot meet. Often it’s better to be honest upfront than to apologize later. Not every deadline is negotiable, but it will save you hours of anxiety if you can be honest upfront and work at a manageable pace. And if you finish the job ahead of time, that will make you look even better.
5. Stay Away From Conflict
Because interpersonal conflict takes a toll on your physical and emotional health, and because conflict among co-workers is so difficult to escape, it’s a good idea to avoid conflict at work as much as possible. That means don’t gossip, don’t share too many of your personal opinions about religion and politics, and try to steer clear of colorful office humor. Try to avoid those people at work who don’t work well with others.
Living and working with anxiety doesn’t have to be debilitating. While there may be setbacks in your journey, make sure you celebrate every little victory along the way. In this post, I shared with you 5 ways to deal with anxiety in the workplace.
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