ANXIETY IN THE WORKPLACE
Many of us will admit to feeling some anxiety at work. Most of us take this as completely normal, who doesn’t feel stressed at work? But sometimes things can get a little more serious. It is when the anxiety starts to become persistent or overwhelming, interfering with your ability to perform your job, manage your personal life or when it has an impact on your physical/mental health that it’s time to take action.
Workplace anxiety can be triggered by many different elements, with some cases more severe than others.
Listed below are some signs/symptoms to look out for:
- Trouble sleeping
- Over/Under eating
- Feeling irritable
- Avoiding family/friends
- Feeling down
- Loss of interest in your work
- Bad memory
- Difficulties in concentration
- Muscle tension
- Feeling like you’re going mad
- Constant worrying
- A desire to be perfect
- Irrational fear of making mistakes
So what can we do to reduce stress levels?
- Talking is very important, whether it be with friends and family, therapists and doctors or with charities like No Panic. Keeping things bottled up always makes them worse, so get your worries/thoughts of your chest.
You can join us and other sufferers for advice, help and support at;
- Learn what anxiety is. Knowledge is power, so understanding why you feel and react the way you do is essential. Check out our resources section on the No Panic website; https://www.nopanic.org.uk/resources/
- Breath and Relax. Everyone tends to think that breathing comes naturally and that there can’t be a wrong way of doing it. Unfortunately that’s not true. There is a right way and a wrong way and it is essential that correct breathing is learned, understood and established. An anxious body is not a relaxed body, which is why learning to how to relax your body in any situation is a must. (No Panic teach how to correct your breathing and relax your body). Both these exercises can be found on our website and are completely free
Once you have mastered these you can use them to keep your anxiety levels low or if you feel things are getting a bit much.
- Exercising releases endorphins which are hormones that makes us naturally feel good. Exercise also increases our body temperature which can have a calming effect as well as burning off excess energy that can lead to anxiety. You are not expected to do a marathon or a gym class five times a week but a little something EVERY day.
- Diet is very important. It is very easy to eat too little or too much. Food is energy, therefore important in the upkeep of our body and the way it functions. You wouldn’t expect your car to run properly without it having the proper fuel, it is the same for your body. There are no banned foods, just moderation. For example: Not too much caffeine but there is no need to cut out your beloved cup of tea or coffee entirely. A good balanced diet is all that is necessary. Carbohydrates are the perfect food to give staying power. Little and often is also a good tip, this keeps our sugar levels balanced. One very essential thing is the importance of breakfast. After a night’s sleep, our body needs re-fuelling. So however hard it may be for some people, please eat something after getting up, a slice of toast and porridge of even a banana.
- Practice positive thinking. This takes practice but changes everything. When you wake up in the morning, instead of looking out the window and saying, “What a grey day” Say “Great it isn’t raining today”. Instead of thinking “I really don’t want to go to work today” think “I’m lucky I have a job with so many unemployed”. If there are things you don’t like in life, change them. If you can’t change them, change the way you think about them. Thought control has an extremely strong influence on our lives. Letting your mind run away with itself is not good for anxiety. Look at the facts; Are your worries really a threat? If your thoughts are causing you to be anxious they are unbalanced and need to be put in to context. Each time you feel negative thoughts creeping in, take control and replace them with positive ones. This can take time to achieve, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
- Bring a Moment of Mindfulness into your daily routine. This has been proven to improve both physical and mental health in many ways including; lowering anxiety levels, reducing stress and decreasing depression. At the same time mindfulness can help improve memory, boost self-esteem and lower blood pressure. Here we have a very simple exercise that you can practise as often as you like, even at work and it takes just a moment of your day; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL83nLOEiPo&feature=youtu.be
- Write in a diary. Keep notes of your thoughts and feelings. Also add anything that you did to overcome the challenging times. Jot down anything positive that you can think of. Add to the diary lists of things that need to be done, then prioritize. As you get things done, tick them off.
- Cease fighting the anxiety. When our bodies slip into fear mode, the automatic response is fight. This can lead to a vicious circle of the more we fight, the more we fear. And at times, this can even lead to avoidance. Try not fighting or running from the things that are making you anxious, instead accept what you are experiencing is a bunch of symptoms that cannot actually harm you. Calm your body and mind and flow through these feelings. Using the relaxation/breathing exercises is a great way to do this.
- Rest when you need it. Anxiety can be exhausting and it is common knowledge that our bodies and minds do not function as well when we are tired. A regular bedtime routine is always recommended. If you tend to have a brain that goes into overdrive just as you are tucking down, write down on paper any worries or fears and promise yourself you will take care of them the following day. Also take time during the workday to walk away, take a few minutes to yourself. Get outside for a short break. A change of scenery is great.
If you feel you need further help then maybe you would like to consider joining one of our recovery programs?
We even provide an email recovery program if you prefer it;
The good news is that as you see from above there are plenty of things you can do to help your anxiety. Even some small changes can make a big difference and we are here for you if you need us.
‘If you would like to host our corporate anxiety workshop in your workplace delivered by our patron Ruth Cooper-Dickson, visit;
If you’re under 18 and struggling with anxiety, check out our patron Natasha Devon’s talks for schools and colleges at her website: