The shaky breath, clammy palms, an upset stomach, and the inability to start on a task. It’s a horrible feeling, but we’ve all been there, at one point or another.
Workplace-related anxieties exist, and they are alarmingly becoming commonplace.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one of the key environments that contribute to anxieties is the workplace. Since we spend at least nine hours a day at work, whatever happens there inevitably affects our health and well-being.
A jam-packed work schedule, loss of control over a project, or something as minute as a coworker raising their voice can set off a wave of anxiety you can barely control. When push comes to shove, how does the modern Filipina handle work-related anxieties?
As a person also struggling with workplace anxieties, I spent a lot of time reading up articles online for the most effective coping mechanisms.
After several hours of reading and then applying most of these practices on myself, here are 5 life-saving tips that can help you cope with workplace anxieties. (Of course, it’s important to note that these tips are more of a general guideline than a list set in stone as we all have different coping styles.}
1. Know Your Triggers (and How to Avoid Them)
Pay attention to what triggers the feeling of unrest and anxiousness within you. It could be anything from a looming deadline to a nosy coworker. To help you determine patterns in your behavior, keep a journal and document your observations.
Once you have an idea of what usually makes you uneasy, you can better anticipate these triggers and create a plan to deal with it. Sometimes, little changes in your behavior and routine can make a huge difference in managing your anxieties.
I realized that if I was sleep-deprived, I was most likely to feel cranky and anxious the entire day. The workday would feel twice as hard as it normally is when I don’t get enough sleep. Since then, I made it a point to get at least six to eight hours of sleep to start my day right. It has improved my mood and productivity exponentially.
2. Accept Uncomfortable Feelings
Stifling your feelings is counterproductive. Anxiety is a normal response to stress, and you should accept it when these uncomfortable feelings arise. Accept that things have become the way that they are instead of pushing them away.
Pushing these feelings away can lead to more stress and feeling like you’re no longer in control of your emotions. When you’re starting to feel anxious, let it be, and check-in with yourself.
Why are you feeling anxious? What should be done to dampen it?
Confront your anxieties head-on. If your anxieties in the workplace are related to a presentation or meeting someone new, then I suggest you should hold your head up high and confront these feelings head-on. Conquer the butterflies in your tummy. That way, you can set them free.
3. Practice Grounding Techniques
Anxiety activates our fight or flight response. When we feel threatened, that sets off several reactions like sweating and tunnel vision. Calm your nerves and regain control—fast—by engaging in grounding techniques.
Some grounding techniques you can do in the office are practice meditation or yoga. You can even take a power nap during your breaks to help tame your anxieties and improve your productivity. Another grounding technique you can try is box breathing.
This technique, along with meditation, has worked wonders for me. Box breathing, which consists of slow, controlled breathing, really helped calm my nerves. When you feel like a train of anxiety is on its way, just practice these grounding techniques and stay focused in the moment
4. Engage in Self-Care
No matter how much sleep you get or how long you practice meditation, if you’ve worked yourself to the bone consistently, you’re still susceptible to workplace anxieties. Working long hours every day for weeks on end will take a toll on your stress levels.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Engage in healthy lifestyle practices. This includes eating right, sleeping on time, and having enough time to yourself. You need to rest too, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Take a step back and practice healthy stress management. Trust me, you’ll be a whole lot less anxious and stressed at work when you take care of yourself.
5. Seek Professional Help
If all else fails, don’t just self-diagnose and seek professional help. A professional is the best person to talk to when it comes to matters of your mental health and well-being. They can best assess your situation and recommend solutions to your problems.
You don’t have to do this alone. Advice from friends, family, and concerned coworkers can only go so far. Talking to a trained professional can offer you a perspective you might not have considered in the past.
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. You should put yourself first, and don’t brush your workplace-related anxieties aside. If you know a friend who might be suffering from the same thing, don’t hesitate to reach out. Be the breath of fresh air in a world full of stifling responsibilities.