5 Ways to Cope with Work Stress and Anxiety
There’s a big project due, you don’t feel like you’re getting enough done, your coworkers aren’t helpful, your boss is breathing down your neck, or you feel like your work is slipping. We’ve all been in many different types of stressful situations at work. Whether it’s pressure from a deadline, difficult clients, or a task you aren’t confident with, every one of us has dealt with anxiety on some level at our job. Sometimes it’s small and manageable, but other times it can be overpowering. It can be difficult to get good work done while you’re wading through a sea of stress and trying to keep your head above water. For those stressful days, it’s helpful to know a few ways to cope with the worry.
Step Away From the Coffee
It seems impossible, but the first step to managing anxiety is to stay away from caffeine. Coffee seems to be the life source for many offices, but the effect that caffeine has on the body is the exact opposite effect that you want when you are dealing with anxiety. Caffeine can make you feel jittery, irritable, and have a negative effect on your stomach. It’s great for alertness and a much needed energy boost, but the aftereffects will make your stress and anxiety harder to deal with. Stress and anxiety show in both mental and physical forms, as does caffeine, so it’s best to lay off while you’re feeling worried at work. The use of energy drinks is also a bad idea and they have been linked to other health issues, so it’s best to steer clear of high caffeine levels of any kind. Instead of caffeine drink a ton of water, take some Vitamin B, or have some fruit. They won’t offer quite the same pick-me-up, but it’ll help a little and won’t cause the jitters.
Sometimes it can feel like technology is the last thing you need in a stressful situation, and this can be true. A lot of the times there is a sense of relief in taking a mobile break, turning off the phone and the computer and staying away from electronic distractions. At work, though, this can be impossible. Fortunately, there are some ways that technology can help alleviate your stress and anxiety. Even something as simple as a breathing gif can help calm your anxiety.
Breathe2Relax is also a great stress management app to aid in breathing exercises and other coping tools. It depends on your preference though, if a source of your anxiety is the technology surrounding you, then turn it off for a moment and take a break. If not, take a look at a few tools that technology can give you when dealing with stress.
Keep Communication Open
This can be a difficult task for many people dealing with stress and anxiety at work. Some might be worried that their superiors will be concerned with their ability to perform if they admit that they are feeling stressed or anxious. Really though, keeping an open channel of communication with your boss will help the both of you understand the situation. Perhaps you can discuss some options with your boss to help cope such as asking to come in late and stay later. Coming into work a little later can give you time to exercise to reduce stress, avoid stressful situations in congested traffic, or come to work feeling calm because you won’t feel as rushed.
Jake at RightTurn, for example, explains how these tactics helping him feel more collected and do better work. Ask your boss if you can sit out of a meeting or two or just ask if you’d be able to take a walk or two during your shift. It’ll be better for both of you if your boss understands the situation. Otherwise don’t be afraid to talk to your peers or family about your issues with anxiety. At the very least it’ll feel better to get it all out instead of keeping the issues buried.
Take a Step Back
When the stress and anxiety is becoming overwhelming, just take a step away from things for a moment. Physically or mentally just walk away from your project, desk, or office. Watch a television show you enjoy, listen to a comedy station, talk to a coworker, and laugh. Distract yourself with something you enjoy doing. Go on a walk, go get some water, or leave your office for lunch. It’s so important to take a moment away from it all and let your mind relax. Everyone has experienced stress and anxiety on some level at work, but if your anxiety is persistent, consider discussing it with a doctor.
Relax at Home
Taking your work home is generally seen as a negative, and this is true in some cases. If you are stressed already it’s not the best idea to bring your work home to complete in the literal sense. In the other sense of bringing work home, it’s perfectly okay to bring your issues home in order to sort through them and discuss them with friends and family. This is just another way of keeping the channels of communication open in your life and with your support system. Your support system may not understand the intricacies of your job, but discussing your feelings of worry and stress is something worth mentioning so your loved ones understand your personality change. Perhaps they can take some of your home responsibilities off of you for a few days, or offer some other coping tools. Or maybe they just give you a much needed hug.
Discover some hobbies that help you unwind. Exercising is a great way to combat stress and increase serotonin levels. Try yoga, take your dog on regular walks, and spend time outdoors. If you already have a hobby you love, utilize it to take your mind away from the stress and focus on doing something you enjoy.
Stress and anxiety can be difficult issues to tackle when they are related to work. Our jobs are our livelihood and there is a ton of pressure to perform no matter the circumstance. Unfortunately, we are all human. Sometimes the weight off it all can be overwhelming. The good thing is that there are many coping skills and tools lying around at your disposal so your stress and anxiety are temporary issues that you have the power to control.
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