Tips For Coping With Work
Dont assume the worst, accept uncomfortable feelings and avoid becoming too hungry, angry, lonely or tired.
This article is based on reporting that features expert sources.
Does your stomach clench or get flooded with butterflies when youre facing a looming work deadline? Do you fret at your desk over an upcoming performance review? If you have to give a PowerPoint presentation to a client or co-workers, do you become so filled with anxiety that you find it hard to concentrate on your tasks? After more than a year of COVID-19 lockdown, are you worried about returning to the office?
Workplace stress is very common. Overall, 83% of workers in the U.S. suffer from stress related to their work, according to The American Institute of Stress.
This widespread, work-related stress is associated with an array of negative consequences, according to the institute:
- About 1 million U.S. workers miss work each day because of stress.
- Stress related to work causes 120,000 deaths in the U.S. annually. Such stress also leads to $190 billion in health care costs on a yearly basis.
- Businesses in the U.S. lose up to $300 billion annually because of workplace stress.
In addition to the usual workplace worries about deadlines, presentations to high-ranking bosses and annual evaluations, many people are grappling with anxiety associated with working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, there are effective strategies for coping with stress related to work.
Work Has Me Crippled With Anxiety Is It Time To Quit
I saw a quote on Instagram recently from Charles Bukowskis book, Factotum, which piqued my interest
Like me, Im sure there are millions that would find themselves nodding along in agreement. It should be noted that the main character, Chinaski, was a self-confessed alcoholic bum with no ambition. The below quote is that which precedes the above one
It was true that I didnt have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved.
Thats an aside I have no doubt there isnt a soul reading this lacking in ambition. It did, however, bring my attention to the epidemic which sees many fall victim to anxiety and depression due to work pressures. Therein lies the narrative that one should be grateful for their job , giving rise to guilt on top of a condition so devastating it can cause a man to take his life.
According to the WHO, the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety has increased by nearly 50% between 1990 and 2013.
That statistic is insane. And not exactly one we should expect those suffering day in, day out to be grateful for. But why do we appear to be accepting this as a new reality? I hear many people say, oh thats just the way the world is. As if were supposed to be impervious to world hunger, climate change, and war fuelled by hate, greed, and ego.
What Do You Need To Meditate
One of the perks of meditating is that it requires few to no accessories, but there are certain prerequisites you need to keep in mind.
Clear your schedule for meditation. It doesnt require a lot of time, but you should devote a certain part of the day where you are going to fit the time for meditation. It is important to distinguish this in such a manner that you are aware that the time is especially there for you.
There is quite a lot of meditation music on the market, but I have concluded that nothing beats the powerful sound of silence. I believe there is something awe-inspiring in silence and that our minds and ears have grown overly accustomed to noise, so it feels really great to treat them with silence once in a while.
Something to sit on
It is true that meditation does not require sitting, but it is by far the easiest way to achieve calmness. I would recommend beginners to use a chair because it will help them keep their backs straight, but once you have passed that, a meditating cushion is a perfect choice.
The timer is basically the only physical thing you need to meditate, but even a timer is not essential. Individual meditations are timed to prevent you from rushing it, so a timer is mostly recommended for beginners. If you want to, you can buy a purpose timer for meditation, but I simply use the one on my smartphone.
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Identify And Stop Negative Thoughts In Their Tracks
Wolfe has had success practicing what she calls thought stopping. Thought-stopping, she explains, is as simple as it sounds. When a negative thought pops into your brainsay, you fear youll mess up your next team presentation or say something off-putting to a prospective clientyou identify that thought and stop it from going any further. Instead, remind yourself that youre good at what you do and shouldnt be wasting your time and energy thinking this way.
Bring Along A Comfort Kit
If you dont have a designated workspace, you can assemble a kit that provides a quick shot of relief during stressful moments at work, says Wilson.
Your kit can include items that soothe your senses and help you move.
Wilson offers a few examples:
- a Ziploc bag with cotton balls soaked in your favorite essential oil or perfume to smell when stressed
- a smooth rock with an inspiring word you can feel and read when upset
- a playlist to listen to during a lunchtime walk
- hard candy, gum, or dark chocolate to slowly savor
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Taking Action To Manage Your Anxiety
Once you make your way through these three steps, you can start to manage your anxiety daily in ways that allow you to grow as a leader and be more resourceful and productive.
The following tactics can help ground you.
Control what you can
Many faith traditions teach us to accept what we cannot control, without preoccupation or panic. But in the middle of an anxiety attack at work, you probably dont have time for philosophy. So heres what to do when things feel completely off the rails.
Structure your time. A solid body of research shows that improved time management disposition meaning your attitude toward how you organize and value your time has a positive impact on mental health. And its especially crucial when youre gripped by anxiety.
First thing in the morning, create a to-do list and a detailed schedule for your day. I like to do it while having my coffee. You might use 30-minute increments to spell out when youll shower, take a lunch break, make a phone call, or tackle that report that needs to get done. This is what many experts call timeboxing. While youre at it, try to avoid what cognitive behavioral therapy terms cognitive distortions. These are the catastrophic thoughts, self-judgments, and all-or-nothing ideas that often accompany anxiety.
Be careful not to overschedule or overestimate your productivity instead focus on the critical work and leave time to take care of yourself.
Develop techniques for situations you cant control
What Is Phone Anxiety
Phone anxiety is a common fear that is typically seen in those suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder , and it can extend as far as an actual phone phobia at work. However, there are those who dont have SAD, but still deal with this mental health issue each time the phone rings.
There are a number of reasons and past traumas that may contribute to phone call anxiety. When youre face to face, you can pick up on the other persons expressions and body language, while over the phone, there is a greater chance of coming off the wrong way.
One in thirteen people experience a form of anxiety. It affects people across all different job types, personalities, and backgrounds. Its no secret that millennials hate answering their phones, because talking on the phone takes up too much time.
Phone calls are interruptive, involves confrontation, and the possibility of being judgednot to mention, the fear of rejection. Anxiety talking on the phone also has to do with the indifference towards speaking on the phone in place of texting or emailing which has become the forefront of how we communicate today.
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Treatment Options For Patients With Anxiety
There are two primary treatments for individuals with anxiety:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy , which involves learning how to lower anxiety and face distressing situations.
- Medication management with antidepressants, which works well on its own but even better when coupled with CBT.
During therapy, continue to show your support by:
- Asking your loved one what you can do to help them.
- Asking if you can attend a therapy session to learn some skills to better support them.
- Making time for your own life and interests to sustain your energy.
- Encouraging your loved one to try another therapist if the first one isnt a good fit.
The Symptoms Of Phone Anxiety
Symptoms of phone call anxiety can include:
- Feeling extremely anxious before and after talking on the phone
- Delaying making calls or completely avoiding them due to feelings of nervousness
- Worrying about bothering the other person
- Worrying about what youll say or about embarrassing yourself
- Obsessing about everything that was said after the call
- Shaking while on the phone
- Sweaty palms
- Feeling nauseous during the call
- Feeling like your heart is racing
- Trouble concentrating during calls
Experiencing some of the minor symptoms such as feeling anxious before making a call or worrying about bothering the other person is normal. But if youre experiencing multiple symptoms and you find yourself avoiding calls and unable to answer the phone, it can seriously affect your job.
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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.
Let Yourself Feel Anxious
Laura Richer, MA, LMHCA, NCMHCE, CHT, founder of Anchor Light Therapy Collective recommends to Normalize anxiety. Allow yourself to feel it. It is normal to feel anxious when we are about to experience the unknown, especially when it is something that we put a lot of weight on, like a new job. Anxious anticipation and excitement trigger the same adrenaline response and can feel remarkably similar in the body.
Reframe what this feeling means:
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Is It Time For A New Job
Your work anxiety could also be an indication that its time to move on from your job. Signs its time to move on include:
- Talking to your boss didnt help. Youve spoken to your employer about how youre feeling, but they havent attempted to accommodate you or help improve the situations causing your anxiety.
- You really hate your job. If you find yourself waking up and dreading going to work every morning, or being at work makes you unhappy regardless of your anxiety, its time to look for a new job.
- Your workplace is toxic. This could be the case if theres a lot of bad communication, you and your co-workers are all unmotivated, and you have bad leadership. All of these things could have a significant impact on your mental health.
What You Feel Is Real
When I had my first anxiety attack at work, I waited until I got physically ill to ask to go home. I guess, to me, it didnt feel like mental symptoms were as palpable, significant, or real as physical ones. Only physical symptoms could validate my troubles and make me feel less guilty and embarrassed about admitting that I needed some form of help.
Thinking that mental health problems are, in some way, not as real as physical ones is not uncommon. This year, millions of Internet users have asked Google if mental illness is real, and the Internet abounds with public awareness campaigns from the government and non-profit organizations answering with a resounding Yes!
Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions just as real and serious as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes, write the ADAA.
Not only that, but Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States. In fact, the National Institutes of Health report that as many as 1 in 5 Americans are affected by anxiety disorders.
When I had my anxiety attack, my main worry was that my employer would think I was trying to skive my duties. If you feel the same, the good news is youre not alone. In fact, a recent survey on workplace stress and anxiety reports that 38 percent of those with an anxiety disorder do not tell their employers because they fear that their boss would interpret it as lack of interest of unwillingness to do the activity.
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Learn To Recognize The Signs Of Anxiety
Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health condition in the United States, affecting up to 18% of the population. Knowing the signs of anxiety can help you realize when someone you love is having fearful thoughts or feelings. Symptoms vary from person to person but can be broken into three categories: