Anxiety is one of the most common conditions that employees suffer from. Anxiety disorders can wreak havoc in the workplace if they are left unattended. Employees may pass on promotion and growth opportunities due to their fears and anxieties regarding more responsibility, public speaking, or even travel responsibilities.
In order to learn how to best deal with anxiety and manage it, it is best to learn about anxiety itself and what its main causes are:
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the feeling of fear, uncertainty, or avoidance that occurs alongside thinking about venturing outside one’s comfort zone. While anxiety is a very broad term for restless and fearful feelings, it centers around unresolved fears of really being strong within yourself and embracing the unknown. Many people struggle with anxiety, with over 40% of workers (both male and female) reporting that anxiety directly affects their ability to perform their best work.
Anxiety is a real medical condition that can be diagnosed by a doctor, but there is no one treatment that can help to fix anxiety.
In a survey that looked at anxiety in the workplace, people with anxiety disorders reported the following situation as causing the most anxious feelings:
- Dealing with new problems
- Setting and meeting deadlines
- Maintaining relationships
- Managing staff and colleagues
- Participating in meetings
- Making presentations
How To Reduce Anxiety At Work
Plan and Prepare
A good place to start when looking to minimize your anxiety is to practice your time management skills by planning and preparing more effectively. Make to-do lists and prioritize your work. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to complete each task in front of you. Get started on major projects as early as possible. Set mini-deadlines for yourself. The key here is to be honest with yourself about how much time and energy you can really spend on each task and to find that healthy balance between efficiency and self-care.
Face the Fear
Many experts recommend that the best way to deal with anxiety is to try to confront your fears and embrace the unknown! While this is MUCH easier said than done, it is a learned skill that can be practiced and mastered over time. Anxiety is a natural reaction in the body, and you have a choice to either let it run your day and decide how you feel, or you can take control over it. Face it. Be in the moment, and feel the anxiety helping you grow and make tough choices.
Probably the most widely agreed-upon method for reducing anxious tendencies is to practice mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation helps you learn how to disconnect yourself from the tiresome process of always being caught up in your thoughts. It teaches workers, then, how to be more present with their work and focus on their strengths and what they can achieve, rather than worrying about the future and things that are just simply out of their control.
When it comes to meditation, the key is to start slow. Take a few minutes each day to just focus on your breaths and disconnect from all of the thoughts racing through your head. As you do this more, you will learn how to stay in a more calm state of mind, rather than always worrying about things that are out of your control.
Talk To Your Employer
As we mentioned, anxiety disorders are legitimate medical conditions that are recognized by employers as serious issues to consider. This makes it important to understand that informing your employer about your anxiety problems is a must if you want to have an honest and transparent relationship with them. If you have a physical or mental disability and are qualified to do a job, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) protects you from discrimination of any kind based on your anxiety disorder.
Being qualified means you must satisfy an employer’s requirements for the job and be able to perform essential functions on your own or with “reasonable accommodation.” For example, an employer cannot punish you because your disability prevents you from performing duties that are not essential to the job. They can also not terminate you or not offer you a job without offering reasonable accommodations to help you do the best work possible.
Overall, anxiety is a very common struggle for many employees. While it is difficult, it does not define you as a worker. Try to put these tips into practice and be honest with your employer about your troubles and the difficulties of the job that are causing you the most anxiety.
HR Search and Rescue is a full-service HR consulting company. Their team offers 1-on-1 meetings and crowd consultations to discuss workplace challenges and help issue guidance on how to manage and/or resolve challenging situations. Call HR Search & Rescue today at (844) 934-3743 or contact us online to request a consultation.