Career Advice

Managing Work Anxiety: Essential Tips for a Calmer Day

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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.

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Some Common Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Persistent Worry: Continuous and excessive worry about everyday situations, often disproportionate to the actual event, is a common symptom of anxiety. This worry can be difficult to control and may interfere with daily activities.
  • Restlessness: Feeling constantly on edge or unable to relax is a typical symptom of anxiety. This restlessness can manifest as physical discomfort, irritability, or an inability to sit still.
  • Fatigue: Despite getting adequate sleep, individuals with anxiety often feel tired and fatigued. This exhaustion can be physical and mental, affecting one’s ability to function throughout the day.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Anxiety can make it hard to focus or maintain attention. Individuals may find their minds wandering frequently or struggle to complete tasks that require sustained concentration.
  • Muscle Tension: Chronic muscle tension, particularly in the shoulders, neck, and back, is a common physical symptom of anxiety. This tension can lead to pain and discomfort if not addressed.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Anxiety often affects sleep patterns, causing difficulties falling or staying asleep. This can result in poor sleep quality, leading to increased tiredness and stress.
  • Irritability: Increased irritability and mood swings are common in those experiencing anxiety. Small frustrations may seem overwhelming, leading to outbursts or a generally short temper.
  • Heart Palpitations: Experiencing an increased heart rate or palpitations, where the heart feels like it is racing or pounding, is a physical manifestation of anxiety, often linked to the body’s fight-or-flight response.
  • Shortness of Breath: Anxiety can cause breathing difficulties, such as shortness of breath or hyperventilation. This symptom can be particularly distressing and may mimic respiratory conditions.
  • Avoidance Behavior: Individuals with anxiety might avoid situations or activities that trigger their symptoms. This avoidance can interfere with daily life and responsibilities, leading to further stress and complications.
Feeling overwhelmed at work? Learn practical tips to manage anxiety and create a calmer, more productive day. From setting boundaries to mindfulness, find your balance. #WorkAnxiety #StressRelief #MentalHealth #WellnessClick To Tweet

Essential Tips

  • Set Clear Boundaries: Establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life helps prevent burnout. Make sure to communicate these boundaries with your team and stick to them to ensure you have time to relax and recharge.
  • Organize Your Workspace: A clean and organized workspace can significantly reduce stress levels. Take some time to declutter your desk, organize your files, and create a pleasant environment that promotes focus and calm.
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  • Practice Mindfulness: Incorporating mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep-breathing exercises, into your daily routine can help manage anxiety. These practices encourage you to stay present and reduce worry about the future or past.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Avoid overwhelming yourself by setting achievable and realistic goals. Break down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps, and celebrate your progress along the way to maintain motivation and reduce stress.
  • Stay Hydrated and Eat Well: Proper hydration and a balanced diet play a crucial role in maintaining mental health. Ensure you drink enough water throughout the day and consume nutritious meals to keep your energy levels stable.
  • Take Regular Breaks: Avoid long periods of continuous work by taking regular breaks. Short breaks throughout the day can help you recharge, maintain focus, and reduce feelings of anxiety.
  • Seek Professional Help: If your anxiety becomes unmanageable, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can provide you with coping strategies and support tailored to your specific needs.
  • Stay Physically Active: Regular physical activity is a natural anxiety reducer. Incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine, whether it’s a short walk, yoga, or a gym session, to help alleviate stress and improve your mood.
  • Maintain a Support Network: Building and maintaining strong relationships with colleagues, friends, and family can provide emotional support. Sharing your feelings and experiences with trusted individuals can help alleviate stress and provide new perspectives.
  • Limit Screen Time: Excessive screen time, especially on social media, can increase anxiety levels. Set limits on your screen time and make a conscious effort to disconnect from digital devices to give your mind a rest.

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.   

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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.

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 near 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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