work anxiety.

08/08/19

Top tips for reducing work place anxiety

  • Ask for help
  • Learnt to say no
  • Be organised
  • Talk to others
  • Speak to a professional

Research shows that around 1 in 6 people in the UK have some form of anxiety disorder that range from mild to severe. Anxiety is your body’s fight or flight response to feelings of stress or danger. Adrenalin is pumped through the body in order for you to deal with the issue at hand. However, this becomes a problem when the amount of adrenalin is disproportionate to the danger or stress at hand, or when this reaction happens when there is no threat of danger or stress. 

This release of adrenalin is responsible for the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety such as racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, agitation, irritability or feelings of detachment. 

Work-related anxiety can be caused by a range of issues such as performance, conflict in the workplace and workload. A range of things can cause a person to feel anxious and this article will highlight tips to help reduce feelings of anxiety in the workplace. 

Ask for help

The first tip sounds like the easiest but for someone with anxiety can be the most challenging. Asking for help can be divided into two subcategories. 

Firstly, asking for help when you start feeling overwhelmed and anxious can dramatically reduce the symptoms and side effects,creating an opportunity to prevent your anxiety attack before it spirals out of control. Ensure there is someone in the office that you feel comfortable speaking to when you can feel the anxiety starting to creep up. Sharing your thoughts can help relieve stress, and may possibly lead to finding out that someone else has the same concerns, which is comforting to many. Explaining your fears to someone outside of the situation can help rationalise your thoughts, and you can gain a new perspective on what is worrying you. 

Secondly, ask for help with your workload. We are all guilty of overloading ourselves with work, and not asking for help as we think we’ll be seen as a failure. Taking on an unmanageable amount of tasks  can result in the quality of your work diminishing, or simply not being completed. This leads us to the next tip...

Learn to say no 

Even though we feel like we’re drowning in work, we would never dream of saying no to a colleague,client or especially manager, who is asking for more work to be completed. This has to change! Understanding that your colleagues will not take it personally if you say no is key. 

Of course every job has unavoidable priorities that have to be completed, but remember that taking on more work than you can handle will more than likely reduce the quality of your work. Explaining this to your client or colleague, and emphasising how you want to ensure that you produce only high-quality work should reassure them that you will get it done. 

If you can’t quite say no yet, then manage their expectations. Politely inform your colleague and/or client, that you will have a look into their request, but at the moment you do not have the capacity to work on it. Giving them a rough time period of how long it’ll take to complete their request will also keep them happier for longer. 

Organisation 

Effectively organising your work will help reduce stress and anxiety. Instead of getting into work on Monday morning, and panicking about the amount of work you have to do, create a schedule of what you’ll do on each day. This will help manage your time effectively and allow you to prioritise more important work. Scheduling in breaks and times to work on different pieces of work will keep you motivated and reduce the likelihood of getting stuck in a rut. 

 ...with great organisation, comes great time management skills.
 Ensuring you are setting yourself realistic and honest deadlines, and managing your own and others’ expectations of the speed you can get projects done, will also reduce the pressure of approaching deadlines. 

Supportive networks

Ensuring you have a support network is vital. Whether it be your manager, your colleague or the receptionist, having a friendly face around the office, will help in reducing negative feelings surrounding your work. 

Having someone you are comfortable speaking to, will remove extra stress and anxiety when you feel the need to chat  about any problems you're having. Furthermore, similarly to point one, it can help rationalise the issue and put the situation into perspective and it can help you from feeling like you have to deal with the situation on your own, which can make the task at hand even more overwhelming.

Speak to a professional

If you feel like your anxiety is out of control, there are many places you can seek help. There are many options such as speaking to your GP or contacting organisations such as  Mind which has support and advice available to anyone experiencing a mental health problem.