Work anxiety can drastically affect your quality of life and leave you counting down the minutes until five o’clock comes around. If you are in Lagos, the traffic is enough to deal with. Roughly, three out of every four people with stress or anxiety in their life say that it interferes with their daily lives – and the workplace is no exception. Anxiety can affect your performance at work, the quality of the work, your relationships with colleagues, and your relationships with bosses.
Here are four hacks to help ease your anxiety throughout the workweek and minimize stress levels:
You Matter Most!
The first step in managing work anxiety is understanding that you come first. If you’re getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, exercising, and engaging in social activities outside of work, then your odds for decreasing workplace anxiety are much greater. It’s essential to cut off contact with people who make you uncomfortable – even at the workplace.
But reducing anxiety in the workplace requires more than mindfulness exercises or telling yourself “you’ll be alright last last”. You must also examine how you function in the workplace system and how you deal with others.
Many workplaces are built on gossiping about coworkers or venting about others. Though this might provide temporary relief or entertainment, it only serves to build up tension and stress. You can almost feel it floating in the air when an office is full of this kind of negativity. Bonding with someone by talking about a third person is called “triangling” and it’s unhealthy for anyone.
Try changing the subject when people talk poorly of coworkers or the boss, or simply come up with a reason to leave the room. Don’t respond to texts or emails that seek to drag others down.
Ask For Help
When work is hectic, it becomes all too easy to say “yes” even when you don’t understand how to do something. When you build more solid relationships, improve communication and ask for help, the entire office will benefit. The discomfort of asking for help or clarification is worth it in the long run, and it can decrease overall anxiety about responsibilities. Asking for help also communicates to your superiors that you genuinely care about doing a good job.
Not everyone feels comfortable doing this, but speaking to your manager or boss about your anxiety disorder may help. You may be offered accommodations to help you do your job more effectively. Some people may not tell their boss for fear of appearing to be weak or unwilling to work, losing out on promotions or having it on your permanent record. However, you cannot be discriminated against because of your anxiety disorder.
Take time off when you need to
Take a brisk walk or escape for a vacation for a few days. Focus on a single task at a time and try not to think ahead to everything that needs to get done. Listen to music at work if you are allowed and if it helps you cope. Set small frequent deadlines to keep yourself focused.
If you find yourself losing concentration or focus and becoming wrapped up in worry, practice mindfulness. Become observant of your surroundings and refocus on the present moment. Try meditation or any other practice that teaches you how to bring yourself back to the present. Giving extra attention to the stressors is wholly unhelpful.
Many of us want to say we don’t feel this way but have you ever been seated in a meeting and you start getting cold sweats and a racing heart? You have a few options: Fight the feelings, remove yourself from the situation or accept the feelings and allow the anxiety to sit beside you. Either way, the anxious state will pass with time, whether you accept it or not.