By Janani S Ramu and Chia En (BAC Apprentices)
Did you know that stress can actually be beneficial in short bursts? This is because it helps you stay alert and pushes you to do your best, which is ideal for a working individual. While it is completely normal to find yourself getting stressed about work, once it gets to an excessive, overwhelming, and inhibiting point, this stress can develop into an anxiety disorder.
Based on a survey carried out by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults in the United States are affected by anxiety, every year. Globally, an estimate of 284 million people are currently living with anxiety. Based on these statistics, it is clear that anxiety has become a rather common mental health concern, in today’s day and age. However, many people are unaware of the important fact that stress is actually a prime trigger of anxiety.
The demands of work-life have become a significant contributor to excessive stress, consequently, workplace anxiety has also become a common phenomenon amongst working individuals. This article intends to inform its readers on everything there is to know about workplace anxiety.
Signs and Symptoms of Workplace Anxiety
Do you feel a sense of dread when you wake up on workday mornings? Here are several signs and symptoms that can help you identify if you have workplace anxiety.
Example of both general symptoms of anxiety and workplace anxiety:
- Excessive worrying
- Overreacting to daily situations
- Shaking or trembling
- Rapid heartbeat
- Focusing too much on negative aspects of the job
- Struggling to concentrate at the workplace
- Difficulty in completing tasks by the deadline
- Feeling jittery or restless
- Constantly tired
- Making excuses to get out of team events
Causes of Anxiety at the Workplace:
There are a variety of factors in working environments, that can cause workplace anxiety.
In a national survey done in the United States on Anxiety in the Workplace – staff struggling with anxiety disorders presented the following, as challenging situations:
Dealing with problems
Participating in meetings
Maintaining good personal relationships
To add to that, here are some examples of factors that commonly trigger anxiety at the workplace:
- Job insecurity
- Insufficient skills for the job
- Workplace harassment and discrimination
- Limited promotional opportunities
- Working long hours, shift work, or taking work home
- Unrealistic targets resulting in high pressure
- Conflict with colleagues
- Not receiving the needed support from colleagues and supervisors
How Does Work-related Anxiety Affect Your Work?
Work anxiety can have many negative effects. It may begin to interfere with a person’s day to day life, as well as their overall workplace performance. If you are struggling to concentrate at work, you are more prone to making costly mistakes such as overlooking high priority emails or forgetting deadlines. Work-related anxiety can also stop you from giving your own opinions and contributing valid ideas during team meetings.
How to Deal with Anxiety at the Workplace?
Starting to get worried? No need. Workplace anxiety is very much treatable. Here are few tips that can help you alleviate your anxiety during or after working hours:
- Try Reflecting on the Positive
Positive thinking is learning how to process information with an optimistic outlook. It has been proven to have many great benefits, not just for your career, but for your personal life as well. If you keep a positive mindset at work, when approaching tasks, your outlook will shift for the better – allowing you to achieve more. For example, instead of panicking and crying over negative feedback from your supervisors or a conflicting experience between you and a colleague, you may start to view these moments as opportunities for growth, as opportunities that allow you to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
- Set Clear Boundaries
Try not to bring work home with you. Once you have clocked out, focus on your personal life and stop worrying about tasks that are pending at work. Spend quality time with your friends and family, do things you enjoy, relax, and take a breather.
- Face Your Anxiety
While worrying too much about the outcome of certain things can be overwhelming – sometimes, anticipating problems and outcomes, can encourage you to change or prevent them. For example, if your anxiety stems from having too many tasks at work, you can overcome these anxious feelings by creating a schedule for yourself or delegating some of these tasks to someone else.
- Set Realistic Deadlines
Deadlines can be very stress inducing. As such, it is important to always keep track of all the deadlines that you may have, to avoid this stress. It also helps to be realistic about the workload that you can manage, do not take on more than you can handle and whatever tasks you do have, make sure to schedule enough time to complete them.
- Ask For Help
Work-related anxiety can be triggered by tasks that you have never done before or are unfamiliar with. Thus, do not be afraid to seek help! The discomfort and shame of seeking assistance often adds to the stress and prevents a lot of people from getting the guidance they need. While it can be daunting asking for help, this simple act will really save you a lot of anxiety and stress. Start by asking a trusted coworker or take a leap and ask your supervisors for their suggestions on how you could go about this little hiccup. Sometimes, just knowing that somebody is aware of your situation, can be comforting and may reduce some of that stress.
That being said, if you are struggling with long-term effects of work-related anxiety, please get help from professionals such as psychologists and therapists. Professionals can provide psychotherapy treatments and medication for anxiety.
- Establish healthy relationships with co-workers
Building solid working relationships with colleagues can make you feel supported, and more secure about your role in your workplace.
- Find Another Job
If you are struggling with work related anxiety despite putting in effort to alleviate it, you always have the option of finding another job that provides a more satisfying working environment. Don’t restrict yourself to a work culture that just may not be right for you. You have got options, don’t worry!
- Healthy Living
It is important that you maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and take breaks that allow you to fully recharge! You need to do these things to protect your mind, body, and soul, and keep yourself happy and stress free.
Stress and anxiety should not be ignored simply because they have become so common. While some stress and anxiety are appropriate, you need to address and handle it quickly, before it becomes irrational, persistent, and overwhelming.
Work is a crucial aspect of everyone’s lives. However, you need to make sure that you are also taking the time to diligently take care of yourself. Do not let anxiety dictate your life, and if it starts to feel that way, don’t hesitate to reachout to us if you need support!