4 Ways to Help Manage Your Anxiety at Work

No matter what kind of job you have, there will always be times when work is more stressful than normal. Many people just power through the difficulty and deal with the ramifications later. But eventually, later creeps up, and you may find yourself feeling overloaded and overwhelmed.

From sales calls and presentations to dealing with customers, work can be nerve-wracking. However, it shouldn’t all be bad. Accumulated stress over time can contribute to anxiety, which can lead to long-lasting mental health struggles when left unaddressed. If you find yourself struggling more than usual at work, here are four ways you can help manage your anxiety.

1. Ask For Help

Some people experience brief bouts of anxiety that eventually give way over time. These can be difficult to handle in their own right, but thankfully, they’re temporary. However, others may find that their anxiety lingers, even after the stressful or anxious event has passed. If you identify with the latter, it may be worthwhile to consider seeking external help.

What help looks like varies from person to person. For some, it means opening up to friends and family about your struggles. For others, it means talking to your boss about reducing workload or hours. For others still, it might mean talking to a therapist or other medical professional. It’s not a crime to ask for help, and it’s nothing to feel ashamed about. If you suspect that you’re living with heightened levels of anxiety, it may be worthwhile to consider reaching out.

2. Get Enough Rest

Work often pushes people past their limits because that’s how you grow. But if you push yourself past them too often, you’ll burn out or hurt yourself. For example, think about exercising. You need to lift incrementally heavier weights to get stronger, but you’ll overstrain yourself if you don’t rest. In the same way, it’s important to make sure that you rest your mind.

Rest from work takes two major forms: breaks during the day and sleep at night. It’s not always possible to rest when you’re tired at work, so schedule small breaks into your day. Even just five minutes will help your mind refocus, letting you come back stronger. Likewise, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting enough hours of deep sleep at night to heal your brain. Turn off all electronics an hour before bed, so you can wind down and easily drift into sleep.

3. Practice Positive Self-Talk

Some of the most anxious moments at work come from those times when things go wrong. Maybe you’re late to a meeting or forgot to bring the documents to finalize that deal. Unfortunately, no matter how professional you are, it’s inevitable that something will eventually go wrong. It’s simply part of life. And to make matters worse, these are usually the moments you’re relentlessly harsh on yourself.

Now, you might think that negative self-talk will help you avoid making the same mistake in the future. But, in reality, it does little to prevent further mistakes and will often fuel your anxiety. Instead, do the opposite by practicing positive self-talk. Think of positive self-talk as reprogramming your mind and your self-image. By developing this practice into a habit, you’ll naturally respond more kindly to yourself when things do go wrong.

4. Pack a Healthy Lunch

A common way for many people to cope with stress at work is to eat sweets and junk food. High volumes of delicious sugars change the hormone and chemical balance of your brain. And this change can have a soothing, albeit temporary, effect on your mind. While it might serve as a quick fix now, it’s important to focus on your long-term health. The healthier you are, the more efficient and productive you’ll be when work gets tough.

What’s healthy to eat differs from person to person based on values, diets, and allergies. But while there’s really no one-size-fits-all meal or diet, there are certain nutrients you need. Packing a healthy lunch that consists of proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats will give you sustainable energy throughout the day. By ensuring you consistently eat balanced meals, you’ll stabilize your hormone and stress levels. So when things do get tough, you’ll have the energy to tackle whatever challenge comes your way.

Find What Works For You

While everyone experiences stress and anxiety at work at one point or another, the key to managing it is uniquely yours. Not all these tips will work for every person, but they’re a good place to start. Establishing a baseline of healthy habits will help you prevail over obstacles you’ll face. But it’s also important to ask for help if you ever do start to feel too overwhelmed or bogged down in depression.

Keep a journal to help you identify what works for you and what doesn’t. You may also be able to notice if there’s something particular that triggers your stress at work. Then, you’ll be able to more easily avoid it. Eventually, you’ll be able to create a smorgasbord of coping skills that will help you endure even the worst days of work.