Work is a source of stress for so many of us and may even lead to anxiety. I would love to help, in this blog, I discuss 4 tips to help you overcome anxiety at work. Does your stress come from the actual work, your workplace, coworkers, or simply deadlines? Either way, if you feel a sense of dread on Sunday night because the workweek is starting then this blog is for you.
A little bit of apprehension before a transition, like the start of a workweek, is normal. When you feel a sense of anxiety and almost would rather do anything than go to work, than it’s time to take a deeper look at what is happening. I have some tips for you to improve your experience at work. If you need help with overall anxiety, check out my blog: Strategies to Combat Anxiety
4 Tips for Overcoming Anxiety at Work:
Look at the gifts of work and specifically Your Work!
It is easy to get caught up in the politics, the deadline stress, lack of control over results, or even coworkers that drive you crazy. Despite all the challenges, there is always something that is good or some benefits to most situations.
There is a gift in each situation, shifting your mindset about your current work is the first tip to decrease your anxiety. Some possibilities are the situations that teach you to stand up for yourself, you get to support your family, or you are able to contribute to the mission of your organization.
Use this tip even if you don’t want to stay at your current job. Shifting how you view your job and your emotional state will open up more possibilities than dwelling in what isn’t working.
Some of you will feel heavy resistance to the first tip because you don’t see the gifts in your work. My suggestion is for you to take some time and do a quick centering/meditation and then do a brainstorm. Get a piece of paper and on the top write “What are the benefits of my work?” then allow the thoughts to flow. You can write this in a narrative or just words, there is no wrong way.
When you are done, look at this page and take it in. Put this up where you can see it and revisit it every Sunday night.
Identify the specific situations that increase your stress
Recognize which areas of work create the most stress for you. If you aren’t sure track your stress level throughout each day for a week. You can rate stress levels on a scale of 1 to 10 or you can simply record on a piece of paper when you feel high levels of anxiety.
Once you have more clarity on specific situations, write each out on a piece of paper. Then write, what you don’t have control over and then what you have control over. For instance, if your stress comes from your interactions with coworkers, ask what part of that interaction you can control. As you know you can only control yourself, what you say and how your respond. So, ask how you can show up differently? How can you respond differently? Then apply this change to future interactions.
Choose one situation to focus on at a time, clarifying what you can control and how you can show up differently and then make sure you practice.
Check-in at the end of the week how approaching the situation or situations differently impacted how you feel about work. Is your anxiety lower? If so great! Keep going.
This may seem obvious or impossible. Sometimes when we are in a stressful situation, we want to get it done as soon as possible. We can spend hours working without a break, without even going to the bathroom. I am going to encourage you to make sure that you take breaks during your workday and step away from your desk. The idea that the more hours you put in the more work you will get done is just not true. Your productivity goes down as you get tired and as the day goes on.
One of my favorite methods to take on projects is the Pomodoro method. In this method, you create a block of time to focus on the aspect of your work. After setting a timer for 25 minutes, you focus on that task and don’t allow email or any other distractions not related to your task to interfere.
When the timer goes off, you take a 5-minute break. Repeat this pattern for four segments of time, then you take a half-hour break or longer. The idea is that you take regular breaks, walk around, get some water, or go outside. Not only will you get more done, but you also give your nervous system a break which will reduce your anxiety throughout the day.
Celebrate your successes.
How do you reward yourself? What feels like recognition to you? Is it checking off things from your list recognition/acknowledgment from your boss or coworkers, or just having fun? Take a moment and ask yourself how to do you feel celebrated? Whatever comes up for you, I am going to encourage you to do that for yourself. Don’t wait for others to provide what you need.
If it is acknowledgment, take a look at all that you have done and recognize that you are amazing. It may sound odd, but you can even acknowledge yourself out loud.
If you enjoy fun, schedule fun activities throughout your week, not just on the weekend. The idea that we work for the weekends is a sad way to live. What if you allowed yourself to have joy, fun, and enjoy your week? What if you did things that brought you joy on a Wednesday? Or during lunch? How would that decrease your anxiety?
Overcoming Anxiety at Work can be done
Dealing with anxiety at work can be done and, in fact, some of these 4 steps can even help you overcome anxiety and even increase your level of satisfaction at work. Looking at the gifts that your work brings you can help shift your focus to what is going well. Identifying situations that cause you stress and approaching them differently can help shift how these scenarios impact you. Scheduling your day with breaks allows you time for your nervous system to calm and recharge. Finally, making fun/celebration/acknowledgment part of your workweek instead of a weekend-only thing just increases your overall life satisfaction.
I would love for you to try these tips and let me know how it goes. If you need support implementing these steps or making overall changes to your life, it’s time to talk. Contact me to schedule a complimentary 30-minute clarity session.