That worried feeling about going to work the next day because you have a difficult or new task to manage can become all too common if we let it get to us. Being overwhelmed by stress and anxiety in the workplace is a serious issue, which can affect our health, well-being and personal life. But there are solutions!
There’s a whole raft of causes and reasons for anxiety at work, including tensions with work mates, lack of perceived job security, feeling over burdened (workload too high), lack of support from management – the list goes on!
Most commonly, we feel anxious about the unknown. Doing something new, or knowing you have to handle something on your own can be really daunting – it’s natural to be worried and stressed, even over ‘small’ tasks.
Just keep swimming.
However, if you let anxiety at work consume you and take over, it can really affect your overall performance in a negative way. It can become easy to make simple mistakes and to drown yourself in stress. But you need to “just keep swimming” (yes, I’m a big Dory fan).
You might be feeling anxious because you are outside your comfort zone – that’s actually a good thing! It’s how we grow and flourish. If you stay doing the same tasks, you’re not going to learn or develop. Ultimately, you want to work your way up the food chain. The way to do that, is to keep pushing yourself out of the norm. So embrace it but be prepared for added stress.
A friend of mine was telling me how stressed she was at work the other day and that she had so many new and big tasks to manage but then she said, “I know my company won’t let me fail”. This really struck me. It’s so true. You won’t have been given the extra responsibility or new jobs to do if your manager didn’t think you were capable. They notice a lot more about us than we sometimes realise!
One of the best answers to anxiety is to prioritize. Create a to do list and number your tasks in ranking order, so you know what to do first. If you need to, run the list by your manager or a senior colleague and get them to help you order what you need to get done that day or week. It’s also a great and satisfying feeling to cross something off the list!
Another great trick to managing anxiety and stress is to find habits that keep us happy (and productive) outside of work. Make sure you have a healthy balance between your work-life and your personal-life. For example, I horse ride once a week and I’ve recently started a walking club with a group of girl-friends and I’ve just joined a book club! Having a routine and those things to look forward to in your down time can really help you stay calm – and sane!
You also need to think positive. No one likes a stress-header around them at work. You want to be that girl that can handle stress! You want people to comment, “Wow, she’s really good at staying calm when under pressure.” Sure, it’s easier said than done but like anything, it’s just practice.
Communication is also key. If you really do feel too snowed under or so nervous about something at work, talk to your boss about it. Sometimes you just need to hear some positive encouragement from your boss or if it’s really bad, they can help with your workload and even delegate some of your tasks to others, if necessary.
Do you suffer from anxiety at work? How do you handle it? Please share your thoughts/feedback in the comments below.