Man sits looking at laptop, cradles his head in worried position. Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Experiencing anxiety in the workplace? You're not the only one!

Another project stacked onto your already hectic workload, a surprise presentation you have to give by the end of day, a coworker that just can't seem to do their part....we've all been there.

Work stress can lead to anxiety in the workplace. It's important to know some methods to help manage your anxieties at work so that you can be your best and most productive self.

What Is Anxiety?

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Many people experience anxiety at some point in their lives. It is a general feeling of nervousness, apprehension, or fear about what's about to happen.

Some signs that you may be experiencing anxiety are :

  • feeling worried

  • a desire to be perfect

  • fear of making a mistake

  • feeling of dread

  • blanking out or freezing up during stress

  • avoidance

  • shaking or sweating

What Does Anxiety In The Workplace Look Like?

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There are many reasons you may feel anxious in the workplace. Some of the most common are:

  • Workload — tight deadlines or high workload, poor work/life balance

  • Conflict in the workplace — between coworkers or managers

  • Poor work environment — lack of trust, competitive environment

  • Role-fit — skills and abilities don’t match those required of the job

  • Lack of direction — unclear responsibilities or expectations

Think back to the last time you were anxious at work. What happened just before you felt anxious? Can you notice a pattern?

What Steps Can You Take To Manage Your Anxiety At Work?

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Here are some practical steps that you can take:

  • Identify what makes you anxious and write it down.

  • Get your worries out: talk to a trusted coworker, your manager, or a loved one.

  • Practice prioritization and set reasonable goals for yourself.

  • Break down your work into more manageable steps, and focus on one at a time.

  • Don't avoid work that makes you anxious. Seek help when you need it.

  • Take breaks throughout the day. Stretch, get up, and move around.

  • Breathe. Try 5 minute mediation breaks when you start to feel worried.

  • Identify ways you can incorporate self care into your routine.

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating can go a long way!

How Might Your Employer Help?

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It's important to know you’re not alone. Seek help from your employer!

  • Letting your manager know how you're feeling is a first step in exploring potential solutions together, like adjusting your workload or addressing challenges with coworkers.

  • Ask about accommodations in your workplace. Your manager may be able to make changes that can help, like providing a more flexible work schedule.

  • Ask your manager or Human Resources department if your company has an Employee Assistance Program that provides mental health tools and resources to employees.

How Can You Talk To Your Manager?

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Approaching your manager can be tough, but there are a few things you can do to prepare :

  • Ask for a dedicated time to chat one on one.

  • Be honest about how you're feeling.

  • Come prepared with examples of the things that cause you anxiety at work.

  • Be ready to suggest potential solutions to help your manager understand what you need.

  • If you're not comfortable talking to your manager, approach your Human Resources department.

Quiz

Ali is worried about a presentation she's scheduled to make a week from today. What would you suggest Ali do?

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This Byte has been authored by

RH

Robin H

Volunteer Learning Designer