Ways to manage your workplace anxiety
Workplace anxiety can leave you feeling panicked, stressed and out of control at a time when you want and need to function well.
There are many strategies you can use to help manage your workplace anxiety, which we will run through in this blog. We will also look at the treatment options that are available if you feel that you need further help and support to deal with your thoughts and feelings.
Recognise when the symptoms start
Learning to identify symptoms of anxiety while at work can help you to be proactive and take steps to prevent the thoughts and sensations from getting out of control.
Some common symptoms of anxiety include:
- An overwhelming sense of worry or dread
- Nausea, feeling faint, dizzy or lightheaded
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heartbeat or palpitations
- Feeling trapped
- Panic attacks
If these symptoms arise, step outside, take a break and have a moment to yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes. Concentrate on your breathing in order to shift your focus from whatever is making you anxious.
Use your adrenaline for good
When you feel your adrenaline pumping, remind yourself that this physical reaction is completely normal in high pressure situations, which work can often be.
Adrenaline is something that you can use to your advantage rather than letting it overpower you. If you are dreading a meeting or phone call, and feel your adrenaline kicking in, actively think of the upcoming task as a challenge that you want to embrace as opposed to worrying about all the things that could possibly go wrong.
Thinking and acting confidently while embracing workplace challenges can help you to feel more secure. By acknowledging your adrenaline, you can use the energy to perform at your best rather than wasting it on worrying about the worst possible scenario.
Anxiety can leave you wanting to withdraw and isolate yourself from your colleagues. But this can cause you to feel even worse. If your anxiety starts as you think about sitting down for a meeting with your colleagues, stop any thoughts about what could go wrong and what people will think about you. Recognise that this is just your anxiety talking and instead give yourself the opportunity to challenge yourself and hopefully enjoy it.
If you are anxious about speaking to your colleagues, you may want to start small so that you don’t become overwhelmed. Go for meetings early so there are only a few people around or arrive at work before most people so you can speak to the person next to you.
Speaking up is also valuable if you get anxious about deadlines or worry about whether you’re up to scratch. By communicating with others, you can understand their expectations about a project and get additional support or an extension if needed, rather than struggling on alone.
Also remember that a problem shared is a problem halved. Speak to a colleague you are close to about how you feel. Knowing that someone has your back at work can help you feel like you’re not dealing with everything alone. You may also want to speak to your boss. Remember that reporting a mental health condition is no different to reporting a physical health condition, so it isn’t something to hide away from.
Look after yourself
Anxiety can leave you working through your lunch, staying late into the evening and ignoring your annual leave. Remember that you need to take time for yourself.
With workplace anxiety, you may put your health and wellbeing to one side as your mind is too full of worry and panic to think about getting enough sleep, eating healthily, exercising and socialising outside of work. But be proactive and make sure that these things are at the top of your agenda.
Pushing yourself and making sure that you look after yourself can help with your mood and energy, and refocus you to view things outside of the workplace as important too.
Workplace anxiety can make it very difficult to focus on one task as you worry about everything else that needs to get completed.
Set yourself manageable tasks and deadlines, which you then work through one-by-one. Working without breaks or staying at your desk for hours on end is also something that should only happen rarely. It can cause you to feel drained and tired, leaving you unable to cope with and contributing to your anxiety.
Getting professional help for workplace anxiety
If you are struggling to cope with workplace anxiety, it is recommended that you talk to your GP. They may be able to offer counselling or refer you to a specialist like Priory for support.
At Priory, we provide anxiety therapy across our network of wellbeing centres and hospitals around the UK. Using the latest evidence-based practices, our therapists and doctors will give you the opportunity to learn how to manage symptoms, resolve possible causes and learn strategies that you can use in your day-to-day life.