Anxiety and work seem to go hand in hand. Maybe you have a big presentation coming up. Maybe you’re gunning for a promotion. Or maybe you just have a lot on your plate. No matter what’s going on in the office, anxiety at work gets to us all. In fact, seven out of ten American adults report experiencing daily stress or anxiety, and about one-third report persistent stress or excessive anxiety, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America.
But just because work anxiety is normal, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to tackle it. High levels of anxiety affect your health, your personal life and even your performance at work.
As an executive recruiter, I see candidates in high stress situations all the time. Here are a few easy strategies I advise for taking your anxiety down a notch.
Get Some Perspective
Half the time we feel anxious, we can’t even put a finger on the cause. First, try to get a handle on what is causing your work anxiety. Then ask yourself the following questions – Is this within my control? Are there actions that I can take to address the problem? What’s the worst that can happen? Finally, adjust your attitude and get positive. It’s hard sometimes, but try to focus on only what you can control and let the rest of it go.
Everyone from doctors to yogis agree on one basic cure for anxiety: breathe. Long, slow, deep breaths are well proven to alleviate anxiety. Try starting and ended your day with a few minutes of deep breathing. Then take a moment to breathe any time you feel anxious throughout the day.
Adjust Your Diet
If you’re already feeling anxious and jittery, it’s going to be exacerbated by poor food choices. Processed foods, sugar and caffeine could all be contributing to your to anxiety. The first few days without coffee are rough but your system adjusts quickly.
Like deep breaths, almost everyone agrees that exercise is key to relieving anxiety. It sets off all sorts of positive chemical reactions in your body not only alleviating stress but also boosting your mood and helping with overall health. Some people find it difficult to sleep if they exercise too close to bedtime, so try not to work out too late.
Anxiety often comes with a feeling of being out of control, so getting organized can help soothe your nerves. Clean your workspace, organize your email, make a to-do list and schedule out your day complete with breaks. Everything feels more doable when you’re organized.
Get a good night’s sleep
Anxiety tends to cause insomnia, but not getting enough sleep contributes to anxiety. It’s a vicious circle that is important to break. First, stop looking at your phone and computer at least an hour before bedtime. This gives you time to unwind from the stresses of the workday, and screen time is also believed to reduce melatonin (the chemical that naturally makes you feel sleepy). Then, find a pre-bedtime ritual that helps you relax whether it’s a cup of herbal tea, five minutes of meditation or a hot bath.
What strategies do you use to cope with work anxiety? Share them with us below.
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