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At some point in your life, you will feel stressed out at your job. It is when that stress becomes overwhelming and thought consuming that an anxiety disorder might be at play.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, generalized anxiety disorders are diagnosed in women twice as frequently as they are in men, and affect 6.8 million adult Americans.
There are five basic triggers that can spike workplace anxiety, according to Forbes. They include perfectionism, public speaking, tackling a new challenge, speaking with authority figures and a fear of being visibly nervous.
Although workplace-induced anxiety can feel overwhelming and draining, it can be managed by utilizing the following tips:
1. Become a better communicator
Communication with your coworkers and the management of your job is a necessity. Having a solid idea on what and when something is expected from you can help reduce stress. Communicating with those you work with will also help strengthen your bond to one another, which can make it easier to talk when you need help or an extension.
2. Take care of yourself
Letting your workplace stress win out over your emotional and mental well-being will just worsen the anxiety you feel. It is important to set time aside for yourself to relax, do the things you enjoy doing and forget about your job for a few hours. Talking with a friend or family member can be helpful in letting out some of the frustration you feel about your work.
3. Give yourself constructive criticism
Stop being so hard on yourself about your quality of work. Being a perfectionist can make a stressful job more so, especially when you set expectations that are outside of your capabilities. When looking over your work, give yourself constructive criticism on what can be done better, keeping in mind your amount of time and abilities.
4. Start exercising regularly
Exercise can be a tremendous tool for lowering stress. Getting in just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help to make you feel happier and more energized. If you find your days to be too time consuming for a 30 minute block, try doing smaller chunks of exercise throughout the day to keep you active and feeling good.
5. Break bad habits
If you know that you are causing your workplace anxiety by frequently coming in late or by getting tasks done after the deadline, make an honest effort to change. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier so you have more time to get to work, get a planner where you can write down and see the tasks you need to complete. Whatever your ‘bad’ workplace habit may be, the stress caused by it can be managed by making small changes.
6. Get more sleep
Not getting enough sleep not only makes it more difficult for you to complete tasks at your workplace, but it also leaves you vulnerable to developing more stress and anxiety. In turn, having extreme stress can result in sleepless nights, making it a vicious cycle. When your thoughts are consumed by work, it can make it difficult to get a full eight hours of sleep. By making slight changes to your bedroom and ensuring that it is cool, dark and quiet, you can have a better chance at getting the sleep you need.
7. Avoid over-commitment
Having a sense of the time you are able to commit to your job and turning down tasks that are simply out of the question can be a major stress reducer. Although it may be difficult for you to explain to a manager that you do not have the time or the means to commit to a particular task, doing so will be in your best interest.
8. Learn how to prioritize and manage tasks
Taking on multiple tasks at once can be a challenge that induces your anxiety. Knowing which tasks are most important and need to be done first can help reduce stress and keep your projects managed. Create a list of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done, so you have a clear order to work in and do not lose sight of what is a priority.
9. Speak with a health professional
If you cannot find any relief from your workplace-induced anxiety, try speaking with a professional about what can be done and if medication is necessary. Just having someone to talk to can help decrease your level of stress.
Help Guide, Stress at Work, September 17, 2015, http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-at-work.htm
Forbes, Do You Suffer From Workplace Anxiety?, September 17, 2015, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2011/02/08/do-you-suffer-from-workplace-anxiety-worry-stress-fear-office-most-common/
She Knows, 5 ways to beat workplace anxiety, September 17, 2015, http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/821322/5-ways-to-beat-workplace-anxiety
Calm Clinic, 7 Strategies for Dealing With Work Anxiety, September 17, 2015, http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety-types/work-anxiety
National Institute of Mental Health, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), September 17, 2015, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/index.shtml
Reviewed September 17, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN