We’re all under a lot of pressure right now, right? That pressure can really build up, especially at work – everyone is working towards a common goal while also juggling life, family, trying to stay healthy, and keep up with fulfilling activities. Workplace anxiety can range from being worried your work quality has gone down, being concerned about your workload, or not knowing how to communicate effectively with your team. This can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health, as well as drastically impact your job satisfaction. Let’s break down the causes of workplace anxiety, and how to cope when it rears its head.
What Is Workplace Anxiety?
You dread going into work. You spend your whole commute ruminating on the last conversation you had with your boss, dissecting everything they said and wondering if they were trying to tell you something that you missed. You feel uneasy, nervous, and worry about work-related issues. It’s taking up a lot of your mental time and energy.
What is Causing Your Workplace Anxiety?
A High Pressure Environment: If you’re in a high-pressure role, the need to achieve quarterly targets, meet deadlines, or maintain a high performance standard can lead to workplace anxiety and possibly burnout.
Your Role Isn’t Clear: If management wasn’t clear with you on what your role is with the company and what they expect from you, or even what their metrics are for your success in this position, this uncertainty can lead to a lot of anxiety.
Workload: An overwhelming workload can result in feeling overwhelmed, and constantly scrambling to catch up, resulting in workplace anxiety.
Job Insecurity: Your company feels unstable and rumors of downsizing, restructuring, are circling the water cooler. Maybe there have already been some layoffs. Not knowing if your job is secure can cause a lot of anxiety and especially cause you to worry about your job stability and what to do if you suddenly become unemployed.
Coworker Conflict: You spend a lot of time with your colleagues and supervisors. Being in conflict with a colleague or a boss can be a big source of anxiety, especially since most workplaces rely on a modicum of social capital to function smoothly.
Unrealistic Expectations: Are you a perfectionist? Do you work for or with a perfectionist, or someone who expects things to be perfect the first time through? Or maybe you don’t have all the facts for a project so you’re worried when the results don’t match the brief. Unrealistic expectations can cause workplace anxiety.
The Impact of Workplace Anxiety
A little uncertainty and anxiety is normal. Anything that keeps you up at night, is impacting your ability to make healthy and safe choices, or is impacting your health shouldn’t be ignored. Workplace anxiety can have negative impacts on your physical and mental health. Some of those far-reaching effects include:
- Headaches, digestive problems, muscle tension
- Insomnia, depression, anxiety
- Strained personal and professional relationships
If your workplace anxiety is impacting these facets of your life, it may be time to seek the support of a licensed therapist.
How To Cope With Workplace Anxiety
With the right tools in place and the right support, you can manage and rescue your anxiety and create a healthier work environment for yourself.
Identify What Triggers Your Anxiety: Recognizing what situations or factors are causing your anxiety is your first step to effectively addressing workplace anxiety.
Communicate With Your Boss: Check in with your supervisor and address any issues you may be having with your performance. Be honest when you’re overwhelmed by deadlines or your workload. Ask for help. Your boss may not know you’re overwhelmed because you’re still producing high-quality work. Any manager worth their salt will make sure you get the support you need at work.
Time Management: Work on your time management to reduce workplace anxiety. Utilize tools like your calendar, productivity apps, and time blocking techniques to prioritize tasks and manage your time effectively.
Ask for Clarification: Speak up if instructions are unclear, or you’re unsure of what’s expected of you to eliminate guesswork and uncertainty.
Set Clear Boundaries: You spend a lot of time with your colleagues and managers, so the lines between you and your job can get a little blurry. Establish and hold clear boundaries between your work and your personal life. Be firm, respectful, and clear when upholding those boundaries like not taking work calls after hours or checking emails on the weekend. A healthy work/life balance can help you cope with workplace anxiety.
Coping with Workplace Anxiety – How to Move Forward
Workplace anxiety is a common challenge faced by many working professionals today. The good news is that it’s very manageable. If you can understand the roots of your workplace anxiety and start implementing effective coping strategies, you can reduce the impact it will have on your mental and physical health.
If you’re a mental health professional, or struggling with workplace anxiety, Lumos Clinical Research Center can provide further guidance.
Connect with us to learn more, contribute, or find support. We can help you create a work/life balance that promotes mental and emotional health, letting you find fulfillment in your life and career. We have convenient locations in San Jose, CA, and Los Gatos, CA.