8 Simple Ways to Manage Anxiety At Work
Most of us have had the not-so-pleasurable experience of living with anxiety or at least having to deal with it at work on an occasional basis. You're feeling amazing and productive and the next thing you know, you’re feeling absolutely overwhelmed and are worried that you’re not doing enough or you’re not doing the right things. You’ve plunged yourself right into a world of negativity and irrational thinking. You feel completely out of control.
For me, that is the worst part about anxiety. You can feel it building up in your soul (for me it’s in my chest) and before you know it you’re drowning in it and feel as though you’re stuck, completely out of control.
I have been dealing with anxiety for years so I’ve had my fair share of “everyone hates me and they are conspiring to fire me” and “I’m giving up, I’m the worst, I need to just quit and find a new job” and don’t forget the, “I’m calling in because I just physically can’t deal with bullshit today”. Been there, done that, and my goodness, I have survived.
Let’s face it, anxiety suuuucks! Bad! You’re here reading this so I know you understand where I’m coming from. I want you to know you are not alone in this experience and just because you have anxiety does not mean there is anything wrong with you, it just means you have a special challenge to learn to overcome. A challenge you WILL overcome because I know, 100% that you can kick anxiety’s ass!
Even on your worst days there are things you can try to do to calm yourself down, regain composure, and get back to knocking things off that to-do list. I want to share with you 8 simple ways I have learned to manage my anxiety at work in hopes that they may prove helpful for you. Get cozy, this is a long post!
Write a To-Do List
Spend the first 10 minutes of every day writing a to-do list for things you need to achieve that day. Do not be too strict with yourself. Start with the most important; if you do not get to all of the “least important" things push them to the next day. You also want to make sure the day is not too packed. Leave room for random day-to-day things to pop up because they more than likely will. That way you’ll have a little bit of time built in to address those things without feeling completely overwhelmed.
Leave On Time
Do not work yourself to death. When you’ve reached the time you usually go home, go home. Go home and focus your attention on doing something you enjoy. Do not think about work. I repeat, do not think about work!! This is crucial. I find if I go home and think about work or plan what I need to do tomorrow, I never really get a break, and I will likely have a breakdown soon if I keep it up.
Take Time Off
Time away from work every now and then is critical even if you absolutely adore what you do. You may be superman or superwoman but you still need to reward yourself with some down time. Although we’d all love to go on vacations to exotic destinations or travel the world every few months, that is not an easily attainable reality for most. If that’s too much, take 2 days off and do nothing, go on a little road trip, get a massage, go shopping, anything that will take you away from work and allow you to relax.
Exercising on a regular basis does wonders for your physical and mental health. Physical exertion of any kind triggers the release of endorphins, the chemicals in your body that make you feel good, physically and mentally. Not many feelings in the world beat this so work out and bask in the feel goods!
Take A Break
If you’re at work and you feel the anxiety building up in your body, take a break if you can. Find somewhere you can be alone 5-10 minutes if possible. Sometimes it helps to remove yourself from the situation.
Practice A Grounding Exercise
Your anxiety is building and you need to intervene. No matter where you are, you can practice a grounding exercise. I personally like to be somewhere alone, however, because that is not always possible, this exercise can easily be done wherever you are. That’s why I think it is such a beneficial immediate intervention.
Practice A Breathing Exercise
With anxiety, breathing is usually one of the first things we notice has changed. Breathing becomes quick and shallow, difficult. If you start to have difficulty breathing, try a calming exercise: 4 second inhale, 7 second hold, 8 second exhale. Continue this until you start to feel less strained.
Say A Mantra
When you’re not in an anxious state it may be beneficial for you to write down a list of mantras that will help you calm down when you become panicked. These may be anything of importance to you.
This feeling will pass and I will feel fine.
I have the strength to handle this.
My emotions do not have control over me, I will get through this.
Think about what made you anxious. This can be difficult to pinpoint at times. However, if you go right back to the moment before you noticed your anxiety, there will usually be something there that you can start looking into. Really look into. If you identify your triggers you can properly address them and hopefully reduce future anxiety experiences.