Career Advice

5 Tips For Managing Anxiety at Work


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There is a wide variety of attitudes and feelings among workers in our work lives. Some people would do their jobs even if they weren’t paid to, while others dread work so much come Sunday that there’s even a name for this condition: the “Sunday scaries” or “Sunday syndrome.”

Whatever your general attitude toward your job, anxiety at work can make it difficult to focus and complete your daily tasks. Triggers for work-related anxiety might include starting a new job or a new project, welcoming a new coworker, attending a meeting, giving a presentation, and more.

Workers living with a substance use disorder (SUD) are often more likely than their coworkers without an SUD to frequently experience anxiety. This is because symptoms of alcohol and drug use and withdrawal often include anxiety. If the cost makes addiction treatment not a viable option, knowing about low-cost options, including how to find a state-funded drug rehab, can go a long way in making a sober life possible.

anxietyPhoto by Nathan Cowley:

Some common symptoms of anxiety include the following:

  • Sweating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Stomach aches or other digestive issues
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping

The following are some tips that anyone can try to help reduce anxiety at work.

There is a wide variety of attitudes and feelings among workers in our work lives. Some people would do their jobs even if they weren’t paid to, while others dread work so muchClick To Tweet

Practice Breathwork

One simple breathing exercise to try is a four- or five-count inhale followed by a six- or seven-count exhale. That is, inhale for four or five seconds and then exhale for six or seven seconds.

This provides two benefits. First, it will slow down and deepen your breath, which is good for reducing stress. Second, studies show that extended exhales reduce stress responses both during stressful experiences and in anticipation of them by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.   

Talk to a Trusted Coworker

Finding a confidant to share your worries with can help you get support and put your situation in perspective. Be sure to ask first if your friend is up for listening to your worries – they might be going through a stressful period as well.

Research shows that talking about our problems helps us feel better. It has even been shown to provide health benefits such as strengthening our immune system and reducing distress.

To Do

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood:

Make a To-Do List

Feeling overwhelmed can lead to anxiety. One way to feel more in control and on top of things at work is by creating a to-do list. You can even order items by importance so that you can tackle first things first.

Being able to see your tasks and then cross them off as you complete them allows you to break your work down into smaller steps and feel a sense of accomplishment. 

Get Some Fresh Air and Sunshine

You might not have a park or an open green space nearby your place of work, but getting outside will still provide a change of scenery and expose you to some vitamin-D-boosting sunlight. Research has shown a link between low levels of vitamin D and depression.

No worries if it’s a cloudy day. Just as you can still get a tan or even a sunburn on overcast days, you can still get the UVB rays needed to synthesize vitamin D.

Take a Time Out

Getting outside won’t always feel like a break from the business of work, especially if your office is located in a bustling downtown area. 

Finding a quiet spot to clear your head for a few minutes can do wonders for your mental state. You can even practice the breathing method in tip one. Your car might provide a calm environment, or a hallway or conference room that is typically empty could work.

In Conclusion

Everybody experiences anxiety from time to time. However, if you find yourself in an anxious state more often than not, you might have an anxiety disorder. With medical attention, you can get your anxiety under control and get your life back.

Making time to take care of yourself, both at work and away from it, can help you reduce your overall anxiety. In addition to practicing the tips listed here, consider learning a mindfulness practice to gain more tools for living a more balanced, peaceful life.

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