Work-related anxiety can show up for various reasons. Maybe you have a new job, got a recent promotion, or were hit with a slew of new responsibilities that have you feeling frazzled. Or maybe you have a major project that everyone on the team is working on and you feel overwhelmed with the volume of work. These are times when you need to step up your self-care regimen to reduce anxiety at work.
Whatever the source or reason, you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. And if you’re like most it’s hard to separate work stress from other areas of your life which are now being affected too. If you’ve been getting headaches, having trouble sleeping, working through lunch, or feeling anxious over all you have to do – you might feel like taking a break to relax is out of reach.
Anxiety at work is something that can happen to the best of us. And here’s the good news: it’s perfectly normal.
Overwhelm or anxiety at work is a topic that comes up often with my private health coaching clients. Studies show that seven out of 10 adults experience stress or anxiety daily. And here’s some of the advice that I often share with clients. Make these simple changes to reduce anxiety, relax, and gain more control over your life at work.
How to Reduce Anxiety at Work and Regain Control Over Your Work Life
1. Makeover Your Morning Routine
What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you reach for your device and check emails right away? And when you get to work? Most likely you get in the office and start checking your emails right away. But heading straight to the inbox may be the wrong move. When your day is being dictated by others’ agendas, this is a setup for you to have a frantic day where you are always responding rather than being proactive.
Change the way you start your days. Instead of reaching for your device first thing in the morning, do some light stretching or meditation. Take time to make a healthy breakfast. Taking time for yourself in the morning will give your day a more relaxed feel as you head off to work.
2. Exercise Regularly
While exercise may be the furthest thing from your mind when you’re feeling anxious at work, it’s a great way to ease your stress and overwhelm. Exercise is not just for losing weight or toning up. Small burst of exercise can also help tone up your mind when things are feeling hectic. Find activities that you can do at the office throughout the day to alleviate anxiety.
3. Take Breaks Throughout the Day
Work is never-ending. There will always be more emails arriving in your inbox. So checking your inbox every few minutes will ultimately derail your productivity and leaving you feeling like you’re never getting anything done. Be sure to log off regularly and take a break away from the computer. Doing this will help clear your mind and rejuvenate you for your next stretch.
Go for a walk; heading outside to a natural setting is ideal. But if you can’t, still take a walk around the building or parking lot. Coming up for air – and getting some fresh air – throughout the day is a must to help alleviate stress and anxiety.
4. Evaluate Your Food and Drink
If you’ve been living on coffee and processed foods, this may very likely be the source of anxiety. Feeding your body a constant stream of caffeine, sugar, and processed foods is fueling your mind for more anxiety and worry.
Studies show that excess caffein3 consumption can worsen symptoms of anxiety. Making a few changes to your diet can bring you back into balance. Instead of coffee or soda, opt for water, herbal tea, or sparkling water. Instead of sugary foods try having healthier snacks like fresh fruit, nuts, or sliced vegetables with hummus. Choose healthier options to avoid the blood sugar spikes – and anxiety spikes – associated with sugar processed foods.
If your anxiety is so intense that it is disrupting your personal life, leaving you unable to function, sleep or otherwise get your normal day-to-day tasks accomplished – it may be time to seek help. Speak with your doctor or see a mental health professional.