Hack your Brain: Useful Tips to Manage Work Anxiety

by Mila Kalajdzieva

Work anxiety is that uneasy feeling you get when there’s so much work to do, but you can’t seem to accomplish anything. She’s always there whenever you think you aren’t doing enough. Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes, but we’ll talk a bit about anxiety at work and provide some tips to remember when you’re going through a dark moment.

Work anxiety refers to the mounting stress a person experiences due to work. It is common and brings about many symptoms, such as irritability, nervousness, tension, insomnia, and agitation. A bit of work-related stress is usually normal and not a cause for concern. However, when anxiety is at its peak it can negatively affect your mental well-being and overall health. But don’t dread!
Here are some tips that can help you tackle work anxiety and survive until the end of the workday.

Don’t push back on anxiety

Telling yourself to stop being anxious is like telling yourself to sleep when you have insomnia. It simply does not work. But what does work is feeling your anxiety and letting it pass by itself. You can do this by stepping back from your work for a moment, taking a few deep breaths, and allowing your emotions to do their thing. Soon enough, you will notice your anxiety slowly decreasing.

Take a break from work

If work causes stress to the point where it halts your productivity and focus, take a short break. Giving your brain time to reset is crucial for efficiency. During your break, it’s beneficial to take a brisk walk or, if you work from home, try doing some light yoga. Without a doubt, you’ll feel better and calmer.

Work anxiety can severely impair your productivity

Talk to someone

A problem shared is a problem halved, don’t you agree? Whenever you’re struggling with a deadline or feeling that you lack confidence, you can help yourself by opening up to someone close. It’s astounding how many of our problems are enhanced by overthinking. Getting a fresh perspective on certain issues may assist you in coming up with efficient solutions.

Plan your workday ahead

Confucius famously stated: “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” With that said, your calendar should be your best friend when planning for your workday. It’s crucial to practice time management when you have many things requiring your attention. Set your priorities straight, and make sure to complete those first. Allocate a time for all of your duties and try to stick to the plan.

Don’t take work home with you

More often than not, we take our workload home with us. This means that we’re carrying our work anxiety where it doesn’t belong. By walking out of the office, remember to leave the stress of the day on the doorstep. You should follow this if you work remotely, as well. When you close your laptop, your workday is over. Your home should be a sanctuary unspoiled by any work-related issues. There’s plenty of time in the day to worry, so don’t do it when you should be unwinding.

All in all, it’s essential to know that work anxiety is not uncommon. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean we should suffer through it. There is a myriad of helpful tips for managing these uncomfortable feelings besides the ones stated above.

Here are some sources for further reading:

Cheng, B.H. & McCarthy, J.M. (2018) Understanding the dark and bright sides of anxiety: A theory of workplace anxiety. Journal of Applied Psychology

Jones, M. K., Latreille, P. L. & Sloane, P. J. (2011) Job Anxiety, Work-Related Psychological Illness and Workplace Performance. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5809