Do you tend to act differently at work due to nervousness? Do you dread going to work Monday mornings and feel a heaviness in your chest? You may be struggling with workplace anxiety, and you are not alone! Roughly 58% of employees report feeling anxious throughout their work day.
Dealing with workplace anxiety can decrease performance and quality at work and interfere with work and personal relationships. If you think you may be experiencing signs of workplace anxiety, you do not have to suffer in silence. Keep reading to understand why this might be occurring and how you can learn to manage it.
Is this Workplace Anxiety or Anxiety at Work?
Figuring out whether what you are experiencing is just workplace anxiety or anxiety at work is the most important step in managing it. While both may present similar symptoms, when these symptoms present themselves is the key difference.
You will know if you are experiencing just workplace anxiety if symptoms only arise when you are at work or dealing with work situations. When you feel scared talking to coworkers because there is drama in the office, or feel overwhelmed with too many tasks and not enough time, this is when workplace anxiety kicks in.
Anxiety at work on the other hand, is having a diagnosed anxiety disorder and having to deal with it at work. When workplace anxiety happens in response to work related stress, anxiety disorders are more persistent and occur regardless of work. A diagnosed anxiety disorder can be much more serious and may need the help of therapy or medication.
Symptoms of Workplace Anxiety
Workplace anxiety symptoms are similar to regular anxiety symptoms, except they happen specifically to work related occurrences. Some symptoms include:
- Feeling dread going to work
- Feeling nervous or jittery at work
- Trouble focusing or zoning out
- Exhaustion after work
- Constantly thinking about work even when you are not working
When these symptoms occur for long periods of time, it could increase burnout and the development of an anxiety disorder.
What Causes Workplace Anxiety?
Workplace anxiety can occur for many different reasons and can look differently with every individual. Some of the main reasons why people experience it include performance anxiety, a sense of urgency in the workplace, and imposter syndrome.
Performance anxiety happens when someone is fearful of performing a specific task. This usually occurs when someone has to present or speak to the public or a group of people. If you do not experience symptoms of anxiety throughout a normal work day, but it kicks in as soon as you find out you have to lead a presentation, your workplace anxiety might be performance related.
This kind of anxiety appears when you must make quick decisions or are constantly dealing with crises at work. Urgency also creates anxiety in a fast-paced work environment. Feeling like you have to work as fast as possible or if you can’t keep up with everyone around you increases your sense of urgency which increases stress and anxiety.
Imposter syndrome happens most often when starting a new job or role and feeling like you do not deserve the success that comes with it. Someone dealing with imposter syndrome will constantly second guess what they do and fear that their success is only based on luck and that they will eventually be found out. Many people who deal with imposter syndrome also deal with perfectionism and the pressure to always make high achievements.
No matter what kind of workplace anxiety you may be dealing with, know that they should not be permanent. Most cases of anxiety should pass once the stressful event is over, however, if it persists longer it may be time to reassess if your current job is worth it.
How Can I Manage My Workplace Anxiety?
Sometimes workplace anxiety is unavoidable, so it is important to know how to manage it when it arises. Here are some easy tips to go through when you feel symptoms of anxiety coming.
- Talk to your manager or a co-worker: If you feel comfortable enough, a manager may be able to provide accommodations to help decrease workplace anxiety or provide words of encouragement when dealing with imposter syndrome. Confiding in a co-worker may help you realize you are not the only one dealing with these anxieties at work and can help support you when anxiety strikes.
- Take breaks when needed: Do not overwork yourself to keep up with others, in the end your work may be lower in quality because you rushed to get it done! Instead, try taking short breaks that focus on grounding yourself to help you focus on finishing your tasks. Try some breathing techniques and clear your head when the sense of urgency becomes too much.
- Plan in advance: Creating a schedule for yourself every day can help you to not get overwhelmed with tasks and help you get work done more efficiently. Plan and practice speeches and presentations in advance so that you feel more confident when the day finally comes.
If none of the tips above help to alleviate your anxiety symptoms, it might be time to seek help from a therapist. Seeing a therapist can help you unpack work related anxieties and even set up more specific strategies to manage your anxiety.
Worried About Employees Dealing with Workplace Anxiety?
It’s important for managers and leaders to look out for their employees if they are dealing with workplace anxiety. If you’re unsure how to approach your employees, hug can help. hug provides analysis on employee well-being through the use of surveys and helps to highlight services, benefits, and resources for employees who may be struggling. Request a demo here to start helping your employees today!
Workplace anxiety is not something that should be taken lightly. While some anxiety at work is normal and can even increase productivity or performance, too much anxiety can be a bad thing. Your work should not be a source of constant dread and worry, but rather something that brings fulfilment to your life. Learning what causes your workplace anxiety and what you can do to manage it can drastically help lower anxiety and work related stress.