How can I manage my anxiety while at work?

You’re at work, and you feel your world closing in. There’s a weight on your chest, making it hard to breathe. Coworkers or customers are speaking to you, and you have no idea what they’re saying. Dealing with anxiety at work is panic-inducing in itself, so how can you manage it? These medical professionals and business managers provide tips to help you cope with anxiety while working below.
Paul Daidone, MD, FASAM

Paul Daidone, MD, FASAM

Medical Director at .

Identify The Stressor And Create An Action Plan

One way to help manage anxiety while at work is to take a few moments away from the situation that’s causing it. This means that identifying the stressors and triggers that contribute to your anxiety can help you create a plan of action. If being yelled at or feeling overwhelmed makes you anxious, try to create a distance from the source of your anxiety. This can be as simple as leaving the room, going for a walk, or finding an area where you can take a few deep breaths and relax.

If you notice a recurring pattern of stressors, try to find a way to avoid them in the future if they’re beyond your control and address the issues you can take action on. This could mean explaining your needs in a professional manner and sticking to a timeline that works for you. If needed, talk to HR about flex hours or other strategies that will reduce the potential stressors in the workplace. If none of these things work for you, it may be best to find a better job that is more aligned with your needs and does not compromise your health.

Taking advantage of EAP (Employee Assistance Program) services can also be a great way to manage workplace anxiety. They are designed to give employees access to confidential counseling, stress management coaching, and resources to help people find the support they need. Unfortunately, across the globe and industries, there’s only 3% to 5% utilization of EAP services. Hence, it will be crucial for employers to create an environment where their employees feel comfortable and secure in accessing these services.

Maintain A Well-Organized Workspace And Agenda

First and foremost, one cannot underestimate the power of deep, deliberate breathing; it acts as an immediate anchor, calming the mind amidst stormy moments. Secondly, maintaining a well-organized workspace and agenda can significantly combat overwhelming sensations, giving you a clear roadmap of tasks and reducing the anxiety of the unknown.

I also can’t emphasize enough the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, even short sessions, as they provide a much-needed grounding, pulling you away from anxious ruminations. Lastly, it’s essential to stay connected with friends or trusted colleagues. Sometimes, just sharing your feelings can provide relief and offer a fresh perspective.

Dr. R.Y. Langham

Dr. R.Y. Langham

Clinical Psychologist with a Ph.D. and Medical Writer at .
Richard Nolan

Richard Nolan

Chief People Officer at .

Establish A Balanced Boundary Between Work And Personal Life

Firstly, establish a balanced boundary between work and personal life by defining clear limits and allocating dedicated self-care time. Incorporating regular breaks, physical activity, and mindfulness practices can effectively alleviate stress. Engaging in open conversations with colleagues and superiors about concerns creates a nurturing support network. Breaking tasks into achievable steps and setting priorities helps mitigate feelings of [being] overwhelmed. Delegation and seeking assistance when necessary are essential strategies.

Additionally, embracing time management methodologies like the Pomodoro Technique enhances concentration and productivity. Crafting a positive workspace with personalized elements that evoke comfort and positivity contributes to a healthier work environment. If anxiety persists, consider seeking professional guidance through counseling or coaching.

Acknowledge Your Anxiety Without Judgment And Practice Mindfulness

Acknowledge your anxiety without judgment. Accept that it’s a natural response, and remind yourself that you have the tools to manage it. Prioritize self-care by incorporating short mindfulness exercises into your routine. Deep breaths or a five-minute walk can help ground you during tense moments. Moreover, break tasks into smaller, achievable steps. This approach can make daunting projects feel more manageable, reducing anxiety’s grip.

Open communication can be transformative. Consider confiding in a trusted colleague or supervisor about your challenges. This can foster a supportive environment and potentially lead to reasonable accommodations. Establish healthy boundaries by organizing tasks, setting achievable goals, and knowing when to disconnect from work. Engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining a balanced diet can also contribute to anxiety reduction.

Remember that seeking professional help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If anxiety significantly impacts your daily life, seeking therapy can provide personalized strategies for managing symptoms. A therapist can help you identify triggers and develop coping mechanisms tailored to your needs.

Anne Balke

Content Project Manager at .

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