This blog post was written by Cassandra Singh, Counselor at Nivati. You can see more of their content on the Nivati platform and on the Nivati blog. If you want to learn more about Nivati, click here.
Most people experience feeling a great amount of anxiety in the workplace. It is common to feel anxiety for a majority of different reasons. This can include factors such as feeling like the work you put out there is not good enough, feeling overwhelmed with the workload you are responsible for and the time frame it needs to be completed in, or even personal life stressors that can seep into your workday. When put in a position where you feel like you are experiencing stressful situations this can lead to the feeling of anxiety.
Anxiety is an overwhelming feeling of fear or worry which can start to affect your day-to-day function. Some symptoms of anxiety that you can experience are excessively worrying about things, having a lot of thoughts in your mind constantly throughout the day, or just feeling overwhelmed and tired. This is not healthy to experience in the workplace as it can be very difficult to focus on the work that needs to be done and it does not allow you the opportunity to perform your best at your job. This can eventually lead to low job performance as well as lower your self-esteem, over time this can become a bigger difficulty as it can start to affect your personal life.
Ways to Cope with Anxiety at Work
So, you may be asking yourself, how do we cope with anxiety at work?
One thing that I have found to be extremely helpful is ensuring you are setting aside time in your day for self-care. Self-care is the act of doing the things for yourself that you enjoy doing or things that make you feel good. This is a time whether it be five minutes a day, one hour a day, one entire day, or the weekend where you can be completely present with yourself and allow your mind to be calm and relax that feeling of consistent overwhelming thoughts.
Activities that are considered to be self-care can vary depending on the person and what their likes and interests are. This can include things such as:
- spending time with your loved ones
- spending time in nature
- reading a book
- taking a bath
For myself, my version of self-care is having one day off a week from work just to myself. During this time I enjoy doing my hair, nails, and makeup, spending time in nature, setting aside time for my loved ones, and shopping. However, it does vary from week to week. By ensuring that you set aside time for self-care you can better make sure that you are taking good care of yourself and your wellbeing.
2. Take Strategic Breaks
While at the workplace coping with anxiety can look a little different. A technique for anxiety relief at work can be just taking a break. When dealing with anxiety at work it is very difficult to focus on what work needs to be done and to even get the work done when your mind is constantly worrying. Simply just close your eyes and check in with your mind and your body. During this time, you can try calming techniques.
One way to practice doing this can be meditating; meditation has been shown to help with managing stress, focus on the here and now, and also present a more positive mood and emotions. A meditation exercise that I find to be very effective in calming down anxiety is titled “Leaves on a Stream”.
4. The Coping Ahead Technique
Another way to practice doing this is trying the coping ahead technique. The Coping Ahead Technique is beneficial because it allows you to plan ahead and have a clear set outline of how you will complete your tasks or resolve a problem. In order to practice Coping Ahead, think about what work you need to get done, then plan out in your head how you will get it done, and then follow the plan you set for yourself in order to get it done. When doing this it is important to make sure you are setting realistic goals for yourself.
5. Practicing Gratitude
Now, completion of the work tasks may not be the problem, but constant worry about making a mistake at work or the quality of your work can be anxiety-provoking. When dealing with this you want to check in with yourself first. Notice that you may be asking yourself questions such as “Is my work good enough?” or “Could I have done anything better for that work task?” If you notice that you are asking yourself these questions or similar questions on a daily basis which is affecting your ability to continue the completion of your tasks, then you may be experiencing this.
One way to cope with this feeling of anxiety is to practice gratitude. When practicing gratitude it can be used in a variety of different ways. Some people find it more effective to write them down and have them in a visible place that you can see on a daily basis whereas others find it to be more beneficial to recite them to yourself in front of a mirror.
For work anxiety, you first want to think about what you are grateful for at your job or the things you do well at your job. Then, you want to compile a list of about five things you are grateful for. Once you have completed this, recite your gratitude to yourself on a daily basis in whatever way you find to be most effective. This allows you to have a constant reminder of how good and capable you are at completing your job.
6. The Checking the Facts Technique
Another way to manage anxiety when feeling like your work is not good enough is the checking the facts technique. Checking the facts is the action of fact-checking the validity of our thoughts. When we notice we are saying negative things about ourselves in terms of the quality of our work, see how accurate these statements are. The best way to do this is to ask yourself “where is the proof these statements are true?”. If you cannot find any proof to support these statements then the statements we are saying are not accurate.
In closing, dealing with anxiety in the workplace can be extremely difficult, however, with the use of these techniques it can be controlled and manageable.
For more tips on managing anxiety, check out this blog post on positive self-talk at work.
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