If we're being honest with ourselves, most of us have experienced anxiety at work. It happens to be the pits because you need to deal with these uncomfortable feelings while you are in public, which often makes you even more stressed out. Research shows that the top reported stressors are deadlines, interpersonal relationships, staff management, and handling problems that arise.
For all of those times when you just want to shut your computer down and call it quits, you need coping mechanisms to tackle your workplace stress head-on. (Although, there is always that out-of-the-way office bathroom you can try to hide out in for a bit.) And, at the risk of sounding like your mother, need we remind you that it's more challenging to find a job without a job? In order to help you keep your current position—and your sanity, for that matter—and get through the stress, we've rounded up six ways to treat your anxiety at work. The best part? They require minimal effort, but the benefits are great.
Write Down the Causes of Your Stress
Just jotting down the things in the workplace that give you anxiety will be cathartic. Have you ever written a letter to an ex without sending it just to get your feelings out? This is kind of like that. Be sure to also keep track of the days you feel anxious and how you react. You may actually begin to find clues as to how you resolved these feelings on your own.
Meditate for a Few Minutes
Just the act of slowing down your breath should help calm you down when it comes to your anxiety at work. Put on a quick meditation on Buddhify or Headspace at your desk if you need a little guidance. And what if you feel like it's not working or you can't concentrate? "Even if it's for 30 seconds," says Kelli Walker, a panic and anxiety coach. "Even just drop your shoulders and release any tension. These little things help you gain altitude from the anxiety and perspective."
Don't Overdo the Caffeine
Our first instinct when we're tired and need more energy at work is to chug another coffee. Unfortunately, the caffeine may actually backfire on us and cause us to stress out more. Although it will give you more energy, it can also give you the jitters. "It's rarely a symptom or actual cause of anxiety," Walker says. "It's just that if you're already in a sensitized state, you might feel more vulnerable to the physiological effects coffee produces, and your mind may misinterpret those effects."
Make a Phone Call
If you feel like you're just going to explode, step out and call someone near and dear to you. Say, "I'm having a bad day. I just need to talk it out for a few minutes." Getting out this pent-up frustration will make you feel like you're not alone. You don't want your co-workers to see you sweat. Plus, this is a great excuse to leave the situation.
Ask for Help
When you are in the midst of a panic attack, it can feel like you're all alone. If you can't seem to get over your anxiety, talk to a therapist. They will be able to talk through your stressors when you're removed from the office as well as help you make a game plan for your day-to-day at your job. Remember that you can—and will—get through this.
Take a Vacation
Although this won't be something you can do immediately, some time away to refresh may do you some serious good. If possible, set your out-of-office response and refrain from checking emails on your trip. Side note: You shouldn't only rely on this to make you feel better since the calmness you'll feel is likely only temporary.