Today, 1 in 13 people suffer from anxiety. Despite the fact that it is a condition that can affect anyone at any stage life, anxiety is particularly prevalent in the younger generation. Whether this generational angst is attributed to the rise of technology, the increasingly competitive job market, the luxury of too much choice, or something entirely different, there is no denying that mental health awareness is becoming increasingly important. Unfortunately, one of the most common forms of stress which people experience is related to their career. Despite the fact that the workplace is a breeding ground for stressful situations, there’s no need to panic! Although stress isn’t a decision, how you deal with it certainly is. These 4 simple steps will help to eliminate employment-based anxiety from the list of your worries, and in turn increase your productivity.
1. Establish positive relationships with your co-workers.
Human interaction is Mother Nature’s remedy to stress. It’s scientifically proven that social support decreases anxiety levels and promotes calmness. During your breaks, instead of turning your attention to your smartphone, try engaging with your colleagues. It is extremely important that you have people that you can talk to in the workplace. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. Discussing your problems with an empathetic listener is a great way to let off steam and to help you become calm and focussed. Very often, the mere act of explaining your problem out loud can be enough to solve it. Don’t forget, you’re not alone!
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
It’s important to remember that it’s OK to ask questions. No one is expecting you to know everything, so don’t panic if you don’t immediately grasp the task you’ve been given. The most important thing is how you choose to deal with the situation. There is no point torturing yourself by trying to blindly navigate a task that you really don’t understand. Not only will you end up stressing yourself out, but you’ll also end up wasting your time. It is always better to ask for help as early as possible. This is also true if you’re feeling overwhelmed. There’s nothing more stressful than knowing that there is no way you’ll finish all the work you’ve been assigned, even if you pulled an all-nighter! It happens to the best of us, but it’s important that you tell someone as soon as you know you’re not going to meet your deadlines. The sooner you’re honest about the situation, the more likely it is that everything will get done on time, and your boss will be grateful in the long run.
3. Write a to-do list.
We are all guilty of lying in bed worrying about the things we need to do the next day, the dread making it difficult to sleep. Writing a to-do list the night before work can often reduce workplace anxiety and foster a good night’s sleep. This way, you’re utilising the time you’d be spending lying awake at night, and you’ll know exactly what you’re doing in the morning. Make sure you are prioritising your tasks, with the most important ones at the top. Organising them in a list allows you to see a clear outline of your workload. This not only makes it seem much more manageable, but it also helps you stay mentally focussed. Crossing off items once they’re done is a helpful reminder that you’re making progress, giving you a sense of accomplishment that can often be missed when rushing from one task to the next.
4. Take short breaks throughout the day.
It’s great when you’re really in the zone and ideas are flowing, but unfortunately if you stretch past your summit of productivity you might find yourself feeling distracted and unfocussed. It’s a common misconception that breaks are counterproductive, but they’re actually a good way to stop you from getting bored, and keeping you focussed. They allow you to return to the task in hand with a renewed energy and sense of purpose, and are a vital element to maintaining a sound body and mind. Try getting out of the office on your lunch breaks. A change in scenery breaks up the day, and the fresh air will clear your head. It’s also helpful to start your day the way you mean to go on. Being in work early gives you time to mentally prepare yourself to start working and eases you into the day, so try leaving earlier in the mornings. Running late is one thing that you really don’t need adding to your stress levels.
And if all that fails, just remember to breathe! Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.