How to Deal With Anxiety at Work

Tips for Dealing with Anxiety at Work

There is some good news, however. You don’t just have to accept workplace anxiety. Below are a few tips on how to deal with anxiety symptoms at work so you can be as productive and content in your job as possible, and achieve a better work-life balance. 

“See your role in the situation, analyze your expectations — are you taking on the role you had/have in your family? Are you ready to see it differently and make changes? All of these are good questions to ask, and they allow you to go inward.”

Talkspace therapist Dr. Karmen Smith LCSW DD 

Talk to a trusted coworker

Sometimes just being able to discuss a work situation with someone else can reduce anxiety. However, make sure that if you talk with a coworker, it’s someone you can trust. You don’t want your words to be turned against you. That said, if you have someone you feel you can confide in, coworkers can be great sounding boards. They understand the context and environment you’re struggling in but may have a slightly different (or even detached) viewpoint of the situation. This might allow them to offer you some insight on how to handle things and reduce anxiety.

Talk to your manager

Assuming your manager is not the source of your anxiety, you might want to discuss your stressful situation with them. If someone is bullying you, being inappropriate, or undermining your work, your boss might be able to help. If it’s your boss who’s giving you anxiety about going to work, you might want to discuss the situation with someone in your human resources (HR) department.

Use a task manager to plan and prepare

If the source of your anxiety is having too many tasks each day and feeling overwhelmed or unorganized, task manager software might be able to help. This tech solution manages your daily or weekly to-do list and helps you avoid putting too many tasks on each day’s list. You’ll be more successful at completing your list, and you will reduce the risk of inadvertently dropping items that are continuously being pushed to the next day. Using a task manager is a huge time saver and can help you improve your productivity dramatically.

Be realistic with deadlines

Sometimes it can be easy to tell your boss or your client that you’ll have a project completed by a specific date until you get in the middle of the project and realize you’ve drastically underestimated the time the project will take to complete.

Feeling like you don’t have enough time to finish a project (and be proud of a job well-done) can create a lot of anxiety about going to work. 

Avoid this by putting a bit more thought into how much time a project will take, and then adding a cushion to your timeframe before you commit to a deadline. Don’t be afraid to be honest and push back if your boss or client tries to get you to agree to complete a task in a time that’s simply not realistic.

Take a mental health day

Taking a periodic mental health day can be a great way to reduce anxiety, sharpen your focus, and increase your productivity. Use your day away from the office to do something enjoyable for yourself, not to catch up on housework or chores (or, it should go without saying, work). You also may be eligible to take a stress leave from work for more than one day under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Seek a therapist

A therapist can be a resource for you if you need to discuss your workplace stress and anxiety. This is especially true if you don’t have a confidant in a co-worker, friend, or family member who you feel like you can talk to. Yes, therapists can help give you perspective, but beyond that, their worth can be much more instrumental in your health and wellbeing. 

A skilled therapist can determine if your anxiety triggers are normal, or if your anxiety is so extreme that it might be worth exploring serious change…like finding a new job. Don’t worry, though; most often, anxiety is manageable, especially if you have the tools and coping skills to reduce or overcome it. 

Anxiety at work is common, but it can be a destructive dilemma. You don’t have to live with it, though. Get rid of the dread when you have to go to work by admitting that you feel anxious. Then,  address the cause and learn how to eliminate the parts of your work life that are increasing your anxiety. You can do this, and help is there if you need it with Talkspace.

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