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10 Lesser-known Ways to Combat Anxiety in the Workplace

by Melissa Bell
4 minutes read

It’s no secret that a large percentage of the population spend their working hours darting around at blinding speeds, trying to outrun the hyperactive demands which blare from all corners of the office. If this sounds like you, you might tend to short circuit slightly, struggling to cope beneath the piles of paper and deadlines, until the weight manifests into persistent anxiety or even full-blown panic attacks.

If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, you are not alone, and what’s more, you’ve taken the first important step in fixing the problem: by searching for help. Here is a list of small steps you can take to get started.

1. Start the Day Right

Everyone knows you need a good night’s sleep in order to function properly (which includes going to bed at a reasonable hour), but there are other habits you can develop which will help you hit the ground running. For example: running! Morning exercise releases endorphins and gives your metabolism a boost, so consider an early yoga class or a quick jog. Another tip: try leaving for work earlier, as the additional breathing space of time will reduce the chances of any frenzied rushing.

2. Limit Coffee

Caffeine starts a party in your central nervous system, famous for hyping you up, getting the heart excited, and ultimately triggering panic. The same goes for soda or anything needlessly sugary. Replace their role in your life with some soothing herbal tea until you get on top of your stresses. This should be a much more common defense against anxiety than it currently is.

3. Put Together a To-do List Every Morning

To better manage an overpowering schedule, break the day down into bite-size pieces. Put what needs to be done on paper, set aside a reasonable timeframe per project, and do not worry if you don’t finish everything. Make a note to check those items off later, and move on. This approach gets all the chaos out of your mind and into a tangible environment, meaning you don’t have to remember anything, it’s all written down!

4. Keep Your Desk Tidy

It is impossible to have a clear mind with a cluttered desk, as there will be far too much disorder in your line of vision, and locating an urgent object could prove stressful. The good news is that the organization process itself will feel constructive and therapeutic, as you throw the disarray away.

5. Keep Therapy Putty on Hand

During bouts of overwhelming worry, force the pressure out of your head and into something else. With versatile and trusty exercise putty hidden inside of your pocket at all times, you can focus your attention elsewhere, spending that excess energy quickly, and improving your overall hand muscles while you’re at it too.

6. Escape Through Your Ears

Are your senses feeling overwhelmed? Then why not block one out? If work permits, plugging in your headphones and zoning away whilst you tackle your daily tasks could provide a much needed calm to your life. Listen to calming music, your favorite songs, stand up comedy, or even whale sounds, if you think it will help.

7. Distract Yourself

Take a quick break to remove your mind from your current self, and divert your attention towards something on the outside. Complete a puzzle, play an online game, read an article, or scribble a little doodle. Obviously, don’t let your boss catch you, but rest assured that they’d prefer this momentary breather over an office panic attack.

8. Eat the Correct Lunch

As previously mentioned, sugary snacks and junk food will only serve to lift you up and then drop you off in a worse place. Instead eat foods proven to be good for your energy levels and your brain’s overall happiness, such as spinach, tofu, walnuts, almonds, flaxseed, oranges, asparagus, avocado, and blueberries. Also, ensure you never skip a meal!

9. Speak to Your Supervisor

Maybe your restlessness is due to an impossible workload or unreasonable deadlines? If so, consider having an honest word with your boss, explaining the situation and asking for his/her opinion. Even if your mental concerns are not specifically work-related, just knowing your manager is aware of the situation can provide some relief, as trying to hide the struggle often amplifies the turmoil.

10. Get Checked Out

Visiting a therapist is a common suggestion for good reason because an outside perspective from a seasoned professional could uncover the root cause you’re looking for. At the same time, it is also worth visiting your doctor for a full physical, just to rule out there isn’t some other underlying illness playing a role here.

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