The digital age has increased access to numerous aspects of our lives. From numerous social circles to news that affects your personal life and the world, it’s impossible to escape the overwhelming information overload that technology can bring to your daily routine.
The numerous pressures that stem from the workplace can cause anxiety and affect the quality of your work.
However, the stress created by the increased exposure to parts of your life also applies to the workplace. If you are someone who develops anxiety specifically from your job or already suffers from an anxiety disorder, then the constant pressure to stay connected can worsen your situation.
It’s not all hopeless, though. By recognizing the signs of your anxiety and how it impacts your life, you can take multiple measures to manage your anxiety and improve your quality of life.
Anxiety is common among working people, and in situations in life where you can become stressed or worried about certain topics or outcomes. However, anxiety disorder is far worse, essentially involving consecutive patterns of anxiety, terror, and fear that escalates quickly.
Combining an existing anxiety disorder with regular workplace stress creates a combination that can affect your productivity and well-being.
How Anxiety Affects the Workplace
Anxiety disorders are also, unfortunately, common within society. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 40 million American adults over age 18, or around 18.1% of American adults, suffer from anxiety disorders each year, making it one of the most prevalent mental illnesses in the country.
As such, anxiety can affect a large portion of your workplace. Workplace anxiety, particularly when left untreated, can impact not just your own productivity, but the entire atmosphere in the workforce as well. Some of the ways that anxiety affects the entire workplace include:
- Missed deadlines and projects, which impact productivity.
- Lower quality in work, which also impacts productivity.
- Gossiping and communication breakdowns between coworkers.
- Employees who are collecting grievances, rather than addressing them.
- Some employees avoiding problems by hiding.
- An outright toxic working environment.
Symptoms of Anxiety
People sometimes suffer from anxiety without ever noticing. If you identify the symptoms of anxiety, you can take the initiative and act against the condition sooner.
- Self-doubt. Second-guessing and self-sabotaging everything you do are signs of self-doubt, which is also a symptom of anxiety. This symptom stops you from taking any action at work, affecting your productivity.
- Worry. If you are unable to let go of your worries and you show constant concern about the future, you might suffer from anxiety.
- Sleeplessness. Anxiety causes your mind to remain active with worries or fears even during your sleeping hours, causing you to lose sleep and affect your well-being in the process.
- Muscle tension. Sometimes anxiety manifests physically as well. One of the common physical symptoms of anxiety is tight muscles throughout your body.
Now that you have recognized anxiety and how it manifests throughout your life, you can take the appropriate measures to reduce its effect on you and resume your life without heightened fear.
1. Unplug From Technology
Chances are your workplace will usually involve you using a computer for hours to get work done. Computers are therefore a large source behind the anxiety and stress from your work. Remember to take the time to walk away from the computer at least an hour a day to clear your mind and avoid staring at a monitor all day.
Don’t just apply this to your work computer, but other devices you carry, especially if you use them for work. Constant contact with technology can overwhelm you with content and increase your stress levels. Walk around the office, and if you can, head to the break room to detox yourself from technology for a moment.
2. Stay Active and Stretch
The work routine usually requires you to sit in one place and stay there to remain focused and complete your tasks. Doing so can affect your physical health and increase your anxiety. Make sure to add some time to your schedule to exercise and keep your body active. Doing so will keep your mind and body healthy.
When you’re in the workplace, try to occasionally stand up and stretch your limbs. Even something as small as moving your head around brings the refreshing motion to your body. You will prevent health issues this way and it works as a small break from anything causing you stress in your work routine.
Another activity that can help you relieve workplace stress is a simple meditation. Along with your exercise, try to fit in some time for yoga or another meditation activity that assists you in finding relief and relaxation.
If you want to meditate in the middle of the workplace, you can still train your brain to relax in certain moments by using circular breathing exercises and closing your eyes. Take advantage of your work breaks to remove stress from your head.
4. Drink Water
Another simple remedy to the effects of anxiety is simply taking care of your body’s natural needs, which includes drinking water. Staying hydrated won’t cure the stress, but it can help you reduce some of the physical impact caused by it. Drinking water can also help you improve your concentration at work, thus making your day somewhat less difficult.
5. Seek Help
Sometimes, there are tasks in your job where you don’t understand all the details, or you become overwhelmed with too much work to accomplish. While asking your coworkers or your superiors for help can be intimidating, the discomfort is worth it in the long run. Your anxiety can decrease, and you will have an easier time managing your work. Plus, asking for help shows your superiors and your coworkers that you’re invested in your job.
6. Keep a Reasonable Schedule
As an anxious person, you might find times where you accept a workload and deadlines that you can’t realistically meet. Rather than create stress for yourself and cause productivity issues later, contact your coworkers or superiors and let them know you can’t reach the deadline.
This might not work for every deadline, but your bosses might prefer to maintain productivity and assign you something else than to overstress you or deliver a project late.
7. Strengthen Work Relationships
A lack of communication with others leads to misunderstandings, unsolved grievances, and other problems that affect your office culture. You can reduce your anxiety by talking to other employees and building stronger relationships with them.
To improve your communication skills and strengthen work relationships, try practicing the following measures:
- Learn everyone’s names and roles, at least within your division
- Communicate via phone or in person, whenever possible, instead of just email
- Avoid gossiping about other employees and bring up your issues directly
- Change the subject or walk away if someone else is gossiping about another employee
- Remain in contact with others, even when stressful situations tempt you to avoid them
Taking Control of Your Life
Technology and a growing connection between work and other aspects of your life that are meant to bring convenience and efficiency can also increase your anxiety, particularly when it comes to working.
Taking the appropriate measures to manage your workplace anxiety will not just improve your job performance, but also will allow you to live a healthier, more balanced life.