how to handle anxiety at work

With all the changes and challenges of recent years, it is no wonder that anxiety has stealthily taken over our work and home lives. Even for individuals who aren’t typically consumed by worry, the ever-changing landscape of today’s workplace has been hard to ignore. Feelings of anxiety and stress can pop up when they are least expected. 

Anxiety is contagious. 

It’s imperative to seek out methods to combat feelings of anxiety before they take over your thoughts and affect those around you. In the workplace, even if an individual’s anxiety is fear-based and not due to valid workplace concerns, it can quickly snowball into stress that affects the entire team.

As the leader, you have the power to put a halt to the damaging effects of unnecessary anxiety by creating resilience in the workplace, encouraging work-life harmony and offering strategies to help employees manage stress at work.

Successful leaders recognize that they need support to successfully roll out a culture-change initiative in the workplace. Creating a culture of resilience that relieves your team’s anxiety about going to work involves more than just implementing strategies for managing stress in the workplace. As a leader, working with a stress management speaker can help your employees cope with anxiety at work.

The First Step to Managing Stress at Work: Understanding Sunday Scaries

For many, Sunday afternoon is right when the magic of a relaxing and fun weekend starts to fade and the anxiety about going to work comes creeping in. These destructive feelings can undo any all-important rejuvenation that occurred over the weekend as the dreaded Monday morning looms ahead. 

The Sunday Scaries is an evil nemesis that needs to be defeated.

If your team spends their last hours of the weekend worrying about deadlines or running out of time to complete all their tasks, it lowers their natural resilience and energy. By the time they finish that first cup of coffee on Monday morning, the exhaustion from dealing with anxiety at work may already affect their productivity.

Leaders who foster a “got your back” culture and place a high value on building resilience in the workplace will offer strategies to help their employees better understand how to handle anxiety at work and create more harmony between work and life.

Recognizing what contributes to these feelings and acknowledging them as valid is the first step toward coping with anxiety at work. Once you unearth the cause, you can carry out the following strategies for managing stress in the workplace and help your employees defeat the big, bad Sunday Scaries once and for all. Because, like any true nemesis, they can show up at any time to ruin any day, not just Sunday.

Six Strategies to Effectively Cope with Anxiety at Work

The stress of trying to cope with anxiety at work can leave employees feeling isolated, so it is important to be empathetic in validating their feelings and encourage a “got your back” culture that lets your team know they are not alone.

Implementing the following six strategies to help your team understand how to handle anxiety at work, as well as engaging a mental health keynote speaker, are phenomenal ways to show your employees that they and their feelings matter.

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

One of the traits that makes you an exceptional leader is the ability to set aside your emotions in order to focus on getting things done. But when it comes to showing your employees how to handle anxiety at work, less is not more. Your team needs to see that you too have feelings of anxiety but have learned healthy ways to manage stress at work

Be the shining example your employees need.

By openly acknowledging your emotions, and constructively dealing with them, you are offering your team a positive role model to follow. 

Some signs of work anxiety to watch for are:

  • Feeling irritable even when thinking about work
  • Struggling to get started on work or procrastinating on assignments
  • Overwhelmed by the thought of checking emails or work notifications
  • Inability to focus or lack of concentration
  • Worrying about work during off hours or experiencing the Sunday Scaries

By acknowledging these feelings and recognizing that they are normal, you are well on your way to helping your employees cope with anxiety at work and creating a culture of resilience in the workplace that fosters positivity and productivity.

2. Find the Work Anxiety Triggers

Work anxiety can be sneaky and may not always present how you would expect it. Sometimes simply struggling to connect to your work or feeling unmotivated can actually be caused by work anxiety, even if you don’t realize it. In order to understand how to handle anxiety at work, you first need to recognize what triggers it.

Following are some common root causes of work anxiety:

  • Unclear goals or expectations
  • Unrealistic deadlines or a workload that cannot be managed within work hours
  • Lack of support
  • Unfulfillment in a position’s duties
  • Workplace conflicts or a toxic workplace environment

By recognizing these triggers, you can take steps to avoid them. For example, if working on a large project creates anxiety, simply breaking it up into smaller, more manageable tasks can generate feelings of accomplishment and limit overall stress.

By being honest with yourself about what triggers your stress, not only will you be closer to successfully dealing with anxiety at work, but you will also be setting a positive example for your team to do the same.

3. Know Your Limits and Adjust Your Workload

A main cause of the Sunday Scaries is worrying about how to accomplish everything you need to do in the time available. Those feelings of dread can stifle your creativity and productivity before you even get started. If not dealt with properly, this dread can have a serious impact on your physical and mental health.  

Understanding your limits will help reduce work anxiety.

When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a moment to step back and evaluate your workload. Taking the time to delegate or postpone tasks, rather than just powering through the work, offers an incredible return on investment. 

As you create your plan of action to complete the balance of the workload, it is critical to incorporate time for breaks. Walk away to get fresh air, hydrate or simply take a quiet moment for yourself. This will allow you to recharge and return feeling re-energized and ready to tackle the workload.

4. Set a Work Plan with Clear Boundaries

Healthy boundaries can be your best friend. By recognizing your limits and planning ahead, you will be better able to manage your time and prioritize your tasks. Understanding what needs to be accomplished, and creating a schedule to do so within business hours, establishes a work-life harmony that is vital to your overall well-being. 

Setting a work plan with clear boundaries will help you stay on track and avoid taking on additional work that leads to feeling overwhelmed. It also ensures that you build in time for doing the things in life that bring you peace and happiness, which will elevate productivity. 

As the leader, setting these boundaries shows your employees that you value their well-being and support a harmonious work-life balance.

5. Practice Energy Management

Energy is everything and creating a culture of well-being with proper energy management can increase positivity and productivity. Take time to elevate your energy by centering yourself and clearing your mind. 

Try taking a few minutes each day or whenever feelings of anxiety arise, to focus on your breath and connect with your inner peace. You’ll notice it has a profound impact on your focus and productivity levels.

These simple steps will revitalize your mood and energy, then you will be ready to tackle work at peak productivity. Encourage your employees to do the same and you will be amazed at how your entire organization’s energy and positivity level up.

6. Foster Open Communication

It’s difficult to find time for any communication in today’s fast-paced workplace, let alone the open, honest and transparent conversations necessary in facilitating a culture of well-being in the workplace. 

Not making time for these important conversations can be damaging to the success of your team and organization. Being faced with long hours demanding assignments and the constant pressure to perform can wear on you and your employees, leading everyone to the brink of burnout. 

Combat this by fostering a culture of care, empathy and wellness in the workplace. 

Build resilience in your team, by asking how they are doing and truly listening to what they say.  Nurture a culture where they feel comfortable speaking up about their challenges and seeking help when needed. It is also imperative that you not only offer paid time off, but that you encourage your team to take it and allow options to adjust their workload to accommodate it. 

Taking these steps will promote a healthy work-life balance and create a caring culture that supports your employees.

Help Employees Discover How to Handle Anxiety at Work with a Stress Management Speaker

Now that you’ve uncovered the root causes of anxiety at work and learned how to help your employees manage it, it’s time to put those strategies into action. Work closely with a mental health keynote speaker who will guide you through creating and successfully implementing a comprehensive plan to build harmony in the workplace.

Together you can be the superheroes your team needs to defeat the Sunday Scaries!