Going through stress at work, unfortunately is a common situation that many of us go through. But when talking about stress on a daily basis, we might be talking about an anxiety disorder.
What is an anxiety disorder exactly?
According to the NHS, anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe and that everyone can experience at some point in their life. Quite often it can be brought on by stress.
For example, everyone can have feelings of anxiety. For example, a job interview, a presentation, or a medical test.
Some people find it harder to deal with their worries, making their anxiety constant, affecting their quality of life.
Where does anxiety come from?
Anxiety can have many different sources or factors that put it at risk. Here are some of them:
- Personality: people with certain personalities are more prone than others to experience it.
- Build-up of stressful life situations: various personal situations (stress at work, family loss, moving home…) you might experience in the same period of time can lead to excessive stress, and so anxiety.
- Other mental health disorders: as PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and depression.
- Drugs or alcohol: substance abuse can cause a worsening of your anxiety, making you feel anxious due to not using or when using itself.
- Illness: having a health condition can cause significant worry about your treatment and future.
Coping with anxiety in the workplace
Having anxiety at work can have a big impact on your life and career. It can affect your decisions, like rejecting work offers, public speaking, promotion due to social or management responsibilities etc.
As we said there’s many employees going through stressful situations on a weekly basis, as well as others that might be experiencing an anxiety disorder, without co-workers and managers realizing.
Luckily there’s different techniques when it comes to coping with anxiety.
- Get to know your anxiety: understand what triggers you, when it’s at its best or worst. Try to plan your weeks keeping that in mind.
- Be kind to yourself: don’t forget the condition doesn’t define you.
- Be organised: keeping things clean and in place will help you, even if you think that it’s not a priority. Organise your desk and your projects, set deadlines and check lists.
- Be honest with yourself: If you already have a busy week, don’t take tasks, projects, or assignments you can’t handle before it’s deadline.
- Stay away from negativity: avoid getting involved with gossip or toxic colleagues.
- Celebrate your achievements: congratulate yourself for the smallest achievements, thank those who helped you and celebrate your finished task before passing to the next one.
- Ask for help if you need it: again, be honest with yourself, let others know if you can’t handle a project or a situation, they might not realise that you’re feeling unwell otherwise.
- Take breaks when needed: go out for a walk, have some air, enjoy your lunch in a different space, practice breathing techniques. Take some time off.
- Work-life balance: work at your working times, keeping yourself busy might help to distract yourself from an anxious feeling. Don’t bring your work home, if you struggle set boundaries such as not checking your email or calendar.
- Take care of your body: get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, and don’t overuse alcohol or caffeine.
- Talk to someone: talk to your manager or a colleague who you trust. Also, many companies have hired an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), that would give access to a free counsellor. If not, do research on different therapists or helplines.
And remember, anxiety is real and it’s a condition anyone can go through, it shouldn’t be ignored by you or your work environment. Professionals like therapists and counsellors will be ready to help you.