Over 40 million Americans experience anxiety in the workplace, a condition that can decrease productivity. A whopping 56% of respondents to a recent Anxiety and Depression Association of America survey said that anxiety hurts their job performance and work relationships. And the recent economic and employment climate has been an anxious one for employees. As some companies downsize their staff, others add more remote work capacity or close and reopen once again.
The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, a medical scale for gauging our most stressful moments, puts major business readjustments within their top 20 most stressful life events, right alongside the death of a loved one and divorce. But those who are having trouble dealing with work anxiety are not alone. Here are some ways to manage these anxious feelings on the job.
Recognize the symptoms
Whether you’re dealing with stress at work or in life, it’s important that you’re able to recognize the symptoms of stress and anxiety in order to address this problem correctly. Some symptoms display themselves like:
- Missed deadlines: Constant worries about failure and job performance can leave anxious workers in decision paralysis. When a new task or a big project feels overwhelming, stress may lead to procrastination, loss of productivity, and incomplete work.
- Strained work relationships: For fear of missed opportunities, anxiety sufferers often withdraw from colleagues to conceal their condition. This is especially true if their workplace lacks clearly defined mental health resources.
- Inability to focus: The nervous system of someone with work anxiety is on constant overdrive. Job stressors like tight deadlines can trigger their fight-or-flight response, resulting in distracting symptoms like panic, restlessness, elevated heart rate, and racing thoughts.
- Absenteeism: Overwhelming fear of failure can translate into a lack of motivation at work. In addition, anxiety can have many physical side effects. Nausea, insomnia, muscle aches, and heart trouble cause anxious employees to take more sick days and have trouble building momentum.
If this sounds like you, don’t fear. You can and will break through this funk. Below are some ways to help you work through your anxieties.
Even small changes can make workloads seem more manageable. A messy desk not only amps up frustration at being unable to find what you need, but it can also feed work anxiety. For a greater sense of control over your workflow, strive for a neat office. Organize files to take the stress out of locating paperwork and resumes or migrate to-do lists to an online notetaking app.
Break down big tasks
When large projects or vague hiring directives start to feel overwhelming, turning an objective into several micro-tasks is an easy step to make progress. Each day at work, make a personal to-do list full of manageable tasks you can complete that day. Crossing items off your list will help build the momentum, confidence, and productivity you need to reach the finish line.
Seek out help
Human resources personnel often end up being a support system for job seekers and employees who need help resolving workplace issues. However, you have needs of your own. Expectations of getting hiring decisions right the first time can put pressure on recruiters, making hiring anxiety a serious consideration.
Take advantage of mental health resources offered by your organization if you’re feeling stressed or anxious. Talking to sympathetic coworkers when you need a moment to relax or refocus after a panic attack can also result in feeling more supported and accepted on the job.
About the Author:
Hazel Bennett is a freelance writer and blogger. She has a degree in communications and lives in Northeastern Ohio. Hazel loves writing about numerous topics and showcasing her expertise with words.