Stress and anxiety can occur at any time in the workplace, sometimes without a triggering moment or event, although in these cases, it may be due to the accumulation of stressors and a lack of coping skills or resources, according to Lysn Psychologist, Gabrielle McCorry.
Workplace stress and anxiety can become all-consuming and not only affect work performance but other areas of your life too, said Ms McCorry.
“Stress can affect anyone but is particularly common for those who have a history of anxiety in their family or might be experiencing other issues and emotional turmoil outside of the workplace.
“Too much work stress can lead to feelings of overwhelm, burnout and exhaustion, so it’s important to be aware of the early warning signs,” said Ms McCorry.
Do You Recognise These Symptoms?
- Feeling or being overly emotional or teary
- Feeling constantly frustrated, irritable or having anger outbursts
- Constantly feeling disappointed in your work performance
- Fear of working in groups
- Having conflicts at work
- Procrastination and avoiding commitment to tasks
- Fear of not meeting deadlines
- Reduced productivity
- Having trouble remembering things
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Social withdrawal
- Increased absenteeism or reduced attendance when at work (coming in late or leaving early)
- Fear of interacting with authoritarian figures
“If you recognise any of these symptoms, it is important to take some steps toward better emotional well-being.
“People generally report that deadlines and dealing with difficult people at work are the biggest causes of work-related stress. Perhaps it’s one person or task that’s causing you the most stress? Or maybe you’re feeling that way all the time, no matter who you’re dealing with or what is happening?
“While we don’t know exactly what causes anxiety disorders, high-pressure jobs, long hours, large workloads, strict time constraints, role conflict, micromanagement and demanding authoritarian figures can all be triggers for workplace stress and anxiety,” said Ms McCorry.
So how can you integrate stress management techniques to reduce anxiety? Ms McCorry said the first step to stress management is to build a wellness plan and incorporate self-care strategies into your life. It’s also important to identify the areas of your life where you are in control and implement small changes to help ease some pressure.
- Eating Well and Exercising
Taking care of your physical health will ensure that you’re at your physical and emotional best before entering the office. Your diet, nutrition and fitness regime can all affect your mental health, so it is essential to manage this wisely.
- Getting up and Arriving at Work Earlier
Starting the day earlier is a great way to ease any stress you might feel coming into work, especially if you’ve had time to plan your day before everyone else gets into the office. Frantically rushing to work without any breakfast does not make for a great start to the day.
- Organise Your Workspace
Taking the time to tidy your work area makes sure you’re working in a clean and ordered environment. Mess and clutter can make a person feel stressed and disorganised.
- Write a List Every Morning
Writing a daily list is a great way to manage tasks and prioritise in order of importance. This will allow you to tick off items in order of priority diligently. Anything that’s not urgent for that day can go on a different page.
- Be Mindful of Your Workload and Delegate
Learning how to delegate when necessary is a critical stress management tip. Don’t overcommit and say yes to every task – it is ok to say that you’re at capacity regarding workload. Try to manage your time and any disruptions at work.
- Take Breaks and Time Out
Taking breaks during your workday is essential. Try going for a walk at lunchtime, so you don’t spend all day sitting at your desk.
- Enjoy Your Hobbies or Interests
Make time for enjoyable activities outside of work and have things to look forward to during the week and on weekends.
- Rest and Relaxation
Meditation and mindfulness are popular stress management techniques because they are highly beneficial. Practice ways to reduce your stress levels such as relaxation, meditation and mindfulness.
- Manage Your Negative Thinking
Manage negative thought patterns related to your workplace and focus on the positive aspects and opportunities at work, rather than things over which you have no control.
- Identify and Manage Emotional Triggers at Work.
Whether it’s working through important holidays or interacting with a demanding work colleague, make sure you identify and find ways to manage these situations better.
- Build Positive and Supportive Relationships
Building positive relationships is an important stress management technique. After all, you spend a lot of time at work, so it’s vital to nurture healthy working relationships with colleagues and have positive interactions with your team.
- Know When to Seek Professional Help.
While there are small changes you can make in your day to help alleviate some of the pressure, don’t be afraid to seek outside help from a professional when stress management techniques are not enough. Seeing your GP is one of these ways to organise a referral. They may offer to set you up with a mental health care plan for the Medicare rebate. You can also access support directly through several organisations.
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