Take A Moment To Reset Your Brain
You restart your smartphone when it slows down or starts glitching, so why not reset your brain when anxiety takes over? You can do this by taking small breaks throughout the workday to think about what makes you happy, Cummins said. That could mean just focusing on the hot coffee in front of you or a fun concert at the end of the week.
The idea is to create space for intentional positive thoughts to increase positive emotions and help reduce the anxiety through this focus, she said.
Invite Anxiety Along For The Ride
Confront your anxieties head on. If you’re nervous about public speaking, take an online class to improve your skills. If you’re afraid of talking to your coworkers, try to strike up a conversation via video chat.
“Push yourself to enter situations that lead to anxiety in order to demonstrate to yourself that you can persevere and succeed despite anxiety,” Deibler says. “Exposing yourself to anxiety-provoking situations, rather than avoiding them, helps to change your relationship to anxiety and increase your confidence in these situations.”
Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
“Attend to your own feelings and healthy lifestyle practices: good nutrition, sleep, and exercise are important to well-being, resilience, and healthy stress management,” Deibler says.
How To Cope With Return
Eden Health Team
As more Americans receive their COVID-19 vaccinations and the CDC guidelines for masking and social distancing continue to ease for people who are fully vaccinated, employees are facing a new pandemic-related hurdle: how to cope with the anxiety of returning to their workplace.
Employers can follow specific steps to help create reopening policies that ease anxiety, but when it comes to the mental health of employees, its important to understand where they are.
Dr. Rachelle Scott, Edens Director of Psychiatry, outlines what post-vaccination anxiety is and how employees can cope with specific situations as they return to work.
THE ANXIETY EMPLOYEES ARE FEELING IS REAL.
Return-to-work anxiety can stem from a few places. Just as we felt anxious in the first few weeks of the pandemic and then slowly acclimated to working from home and being more restricted, were now going through a similar process of reacclimating to in-person activities, which can produce varying levels of anxiety.
EVEN IF YOURE VACCINATED, YOU MAY EXPERIENCE ANXIETY.
This is a situation where having reliable sources of information will help to ease anxiety. Having a trusted relationship with a medical provider that you can turn to when you have questions is essential. Ask yourself what sources of information youre utilizing and how reliable they are.
THERE IS NO TIMELINE FOR ANXIETY.
HOW TO COPE WITH FEELINGS OF ANXIETY.
HOW CAN EMPLOYERS HELP?
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Identify Your Feelings Of Anxiety
The first step to managing anxiety is to recognize how you react when you’re psychologically distressed. Anxiety is how the body reacts to the threat of danger and can show up physically as shallow breathing, tightness in your chest, restlessness, an upset stomach, headaches or neck and shoulder pain. Once you’ve identified your reaction, practice ways to ease the physical symptoms of your anxiety, says Sherry Benton, founder and chief science officer of TAO Connect, a therapy resource site.
For example, if you realize you react to stress by clenching your jaw and your breath becomes labored, you may learn to actively relax, stretch and practice deep breathing exercises when you notice these things happening in your body. More long-term, you may take up a mindfulness or meditation practice to ground yourself to take control of anxious thoughts.
In addition to finding ways to deal with the physical symptoms of anxiety, note the environmental triggers that are causing your stress, says Asha Tarry, an author, community mental health advocate, psychotherapist and certified life coach. If you become anxious when you scroll through social media during the workday, take a step back to recognize that and limit how much time you spend on your screen or eliminate it altogether.
It’s helpful to remember that your anxiety is a reaction to something, rather than an unchangeable part of your personality, Tarry adds.
Managing Anxiety At Work Is No Easy Task Especially When Youre In High
Ive had generalized anxiety disorder since I was 13, and I genuinely dont remember a life when I wasnt anxious about something. Whether it was anxiety about going to school, to the doctor, meeting someone for the first time, or starting a new job, anxiety has been around for all my adult life.
In high school, I managed my anxiety by taking medication, but when I went off to college, I said to myself, I feel fine. I dont need medication anymore. What I didnt understand at the time was that I was fine because I was on medication not because I was magically cured of my anxiety and depression.
Throughout college and graduate school, I found myself worrying about every little thing to the point where my heart would race, my breathing was heavy, and I was dizzy, nauseous, and shaky. I brushed it off as normal college stress, but deep down, I knew I was experiencing anxiety again.
Things only got worse when I started working a full-time job after college, and I found it increasingly harder to manage my anxiety especially between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM.
Managing anxiety at work is no easy task, especially when youre in high-stress situations on a daily basis and when youre trying to hide it from those around you. I dont have a magical cure, but the five tips below have helped me tremendously over the years. And its my hope theyll help you too.
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Take Time To Relax And Practice Self
Okay, you already know this blog is titled, How to cope with stress at work. But youll notice that a couple of these strategies actually happen outside of your workplace.
And thats because sometimes the training for the ability to cope at work comes from having prepared yourself before you even get to your job.
This includes the quality sleep and good nutrition I mentioned above. It also entails being physically fit. That doesnt mean you have to be able to run a marathon. It just means to factor in some physical activity into your daily routine.
During work, be vigilant about taking care of yourself mentally. Know when youre nearing your breaking point. Cushion your workday with breaks to allow yourself to regroup. Dont over-extend yourself with unrealistic deadlines.
And lastly, at the end of the day, unplug and have boundaries in place to protect your personal and private time.
When Changing Jobs May Be The Answer
Sometimes, despite all of your best efforts to maintain your sanity, its just impossible to deal with your work, whether thats because of a toxic work culture, excessive demands, or overwhelming pressure. If you have tried everything and are still stuck with anxiety at work, it may be time for you to rethink your career. Ask yourself:
- Do I want to change job roles and duties?
- Do I want to look for a job at a healthier and happier workplace?
Remember that no job is worth your physical or mental well-being.
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Maintain A Good Daily Routine
At this time, when things appear to be constantly changing, try to maintain a good routine and positive structure to your day. Scheduling in moments of happiness, and embracing the good things in our lives, can be a great mental health boost as well as a welcome distraction from our anxieties.
So during the hours when youre not in work, or in the run-up to you returning to work, spend time doing activities that you really enjoy, and make sure you do them regularly.
How To Practice Focused Meditation
Here are six tips to help you practice focused meditation. Based on your availability and interest, these tips may change and evolve. Thats the point: to create a structured practice that caters to your needs.
1. Find a Comfortable Seat
As with any meditation practice, comfort is truly key. The physical body responds to meditation practice by alerting you to whether it is comfortable and supported or stressed out and in pain. This is best observed in practitioners who tend to slouch and lose the tall, supported spine that is essential to meditation practice.
A simple rule in meditative sitting is to ensure that your hips are higher than your knees. Therefore, choosing to sit in a chair instead of on the floor may be a smart decision or perhaps propping yourself up on a cushion. For meditation techniques overall, it does not matter how you sit. All that matters is that you are supported and comfortable sitting for some time.
2. Choose Your Object of Focus
Every meditation training session is going to be different because no single day is the same for any one person. Therefore, experienced meditators know that choosing an object is more about listening to what you need at this time versus following any doctrine or rule.
3. Set Your Desired Time or Go With the Flow
Likewise, if you have the time, you can also listen to your body and come out of your meditation when you feel its right to do so. This is often a beautiful practice of listening and tuning in.
Keep Adding To Your Anxiety
Anxiety feels different for everyone. We all have different triggers, and we all react differently. Money, as I mentioned before, is a big anxiety trap for me. When I get unwelcome financial news, my brain immediately goes to a gloomy place: My business will fail, we will go broke, we will lose everything.
As you continue in your career, its crucial that you understand specifically what sets you off and how it affects your workday. Once you understand that, you can try to avoid these triggers and when you cant avoid them use specific strategies or tools that can help you move out of anxiety.
Many people I talk to for my podcast The Anxious Achiever tell me that they find making to-do lists and detailed schedules helpful, because they help them cut down on ruminating and overwork. Others know that they need to sweat, get outside or run around with their dog to dissolve that knot of anxiety. I like to cook. When Im anxious and unfocused, I make giant stockpots of broth or chili. Hey it works for me.
Its possible for you to create a remote workday that minimizes your anxiety, creates real connection and engagement with your coworkers, allows you to get your work done, and lets you feel OK about unplugging at night. But like all skills, learning how to manage your workday anxiety takes practice, time, and above all compassion for yourself. We all succumb to the cheese doodles at times, and thats OK too.
Watch her The Way We Work video here:
Tips To Manage Anxiety And Stress
Try these when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:
Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy, Manage Stress
For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity , or a combination of the two.
- 5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
- Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It’s better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
- Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
- Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find its more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
- Recruit an exercise buddy. It’s often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
- Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.
If you are the parent of a college-aged child with an anxiety disorder, here are some tips to help with managing his or her anxiety.
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How Common Is Anxiety In The Workplace
A survey conducted by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America found that while only 9% of Americans are living with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, 40% experience ongoing stress or anxiety in their daily lives.
You shouldnt feel bad about feeling anxious. After all, anxiety is often a sign of intelligence. The more intelligent you are, the more you are able to detect or anticipate threats around you, leading to more worries.
However, anxiety at work can affect your work performance, work quality, and your overall mental health. According to a 2019 study, mental health was noted as the reason 50% of millennials and 75% of Generation Z quit their jobs. Such a high attrition rate is detrimental to employees as well as employers.
Quick Ways To Cope With Anxiety
If your anxiety is sporadic and getting in the way of your focus or tasks, there are some quick natural remedies that could help you take control of the situation.
If your anxiety is focused around a situation, such as being worried about an upcoming event, you may notice the symptoms are short-lived and usually subside after the anticipated event takes place.
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Find A More Supportive Work Environment
If your job, co-workers, or boss is contributing to your depression at work, there is no sense in sticking it out. Could you use some help taking the first step but aren’t sure how? Monster can help. Create a profile for free and let recruiters know that youre interested in new opportunities. Let us take some of the stress off your shoulders so you can concentrate on your own wellbeing. There are employers out there that pride themselves on fostering a collaborative, supportive workplace where employees like you can thrive.
This article is not intended as a substitute for professional legal or medical advice. Always seek the professional advice of an attorney and/or qualified health provider regarding any legal or medical questions you may have.
Practice Good Health Habits
While anxiety can cause insomnia, try your best to stick to a regular sleep/wake cycle. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, cut down and avoid consuming it past mid-morning when it’s most likely to disrupt your nighttime sleep. In addition to getting adequate sleep, fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods and getting regular exercise can also help you manage your stress.
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