5 steps to manage anxiety at work
If anxiety at work is becoming a concern for you, here are 5 tips to help manage your workplace anxiety:
1. Avoid triangles
To some extent, gossip will be present in every workplace; whether it’s talking about the personal lives of coworkers or venting about issues.
Bonding with your co-worker by talking about another person, or “triangling”, is an unhealthy and disruptive way to manage workplace anxiety and stress.
Examples of these situations include gossiping about another person or co-worker, using them as a scapegoat, and criticising someone behind their back.
Even though it might be tempting to talk or vent to a colleague, consider keeping your feelings to yourself or speaking directly to the individual with whom you have an issue.
It might be difficult at first, but you can reduce anxiety by approaching them, communicating the facts about the situation, and reaching a resolution.
It is natural for conflicts in the workplace to arise from time to time, but what is important is how you deal with it.
Try to consider how the other individual or colleague might be feeling about the situation, seeing it from their point of view might help you to find common ground and overcome any issues more easily.
2. Access resources
Most workplaces offer counselling through EAPs – Employee Assistance Programs – and can connect you to mental health resources to help you manage your anxiety.
It might be intimidating to speak up about your anxiety at work; however, if you take responsibility for your health and wellbeing, you can in turn become a role model for others.
Improving communication, building a more solid relationship, and asking for help can benefit the entire office; so don’t be ashamed.
You can also opt for low-cost and free resources available through non-profit organisations and advanced software and systems from the HR department.
EmpowerWork, for instance, is a confidential and free text-based service that can help you navigate tricky situations such as office anxiety.
If you have just landed yourself a new job and you are starting to get nervous, this is completely normal and we have all been through it at some point in our lives.
Here is a checklist to help you prepare for your first day of work.
If you are not already assigned a mentor at your new job, we recommend that you find someone who you can be open with.
Ask them nicely if they wouldn’t mind being your ‘mentor’ for the first few months while you are still getting the hang of things.
Most people would respect your honesty and be happy to help make you feel welcome and answer any questions you have.
3. Turn tasks into challenges
Sometimes, tasks at work can become sources of huge anxiety.
A great strategy to manage workplace stress and anxiety is to turn your least favourite tasks into challenges for yourself.
Try timing yourself to see just how many you can complete, or how quickly you can complete your task.
And by rewarding yourself when you reach a certain amount, you will encourage yourself to work more efficiently, instead of procrastinating.
There are various ways to turn your work into a personal challenge that will give you the opportunity to accomplish more, while also making your work more enjoyable and less stressful.
4. Find long-term anxiety management solutions
Therapists are often expensive, and have long waiting lists.
However, in addition to professional support, you can try local support groups, find an array of relaxation podcasts and great books on these topics to help reduce your anxiety.
Why not try an anxiety self-help course, there are loads of free materials out there – it’s just about finding the right technique for you to make positive changes.
Remember that you can also lean on your family and friends to ask for advice and support to manage your anxiety.
As the saying goes “a problem shared is a problem halved”, which is true in many ways; it can feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders if you turn to someone close to you and share your experiences with anxiety.
If you are a smoker you have probably heard it 1000 times before, but stopping smoking and cutting down alcohol and caffeine consumption really can make a huge difference to your mental wellbeing.
Instead of tea and coffee breaks at work, switch to water, squash or fruit juices as a nice little pick-me-up, to give you an energy boost.
5. Take regular breaks
Movement is crucial for reducing anxiety and stress in the workplace.
Even with perfect posture, or regular exercise, prolonged sitting for too long isn’t good for your overall health, so try to build some activity into your day.
Visit the water cooler, refill office supplies, get up and stretch for a bit and instead of emailing your colleagues, just approach them and interact with them personally.
If you are struggling every day with your mental health at work, take some time off – and consider using your sick days for your mental health.
Most workplaces offer paid time off, even if only for sick days.
Use them to listen to what you might need and seek therapy or any other way that works for you to manage your anxiety.
For more tips on how to deal with anxiety, check out our recent blog on how to relax for a graduate job interview.
Check out the career advice on our Graduate Blog, or apply for the latest jobs and graduate jobs on our Graduate Jobs board.