Dealing with Anxiety at Work

This is a post I have been putting off for quite some time. It’s personal and scary to share. But something tells me that I’m not the only one who deals with it.

Anxiety is a word that went from never being spoken as if it didn’t exist to being thrown around casually as if it were nothing at all. But it is real. Everyone might experience it differently and sometimes it can be more debilitating. It can range from minor worrying to sleepless nights. Sometimes anxiety at work might stem from fear of the unknown, change or questioning of your abilities. For me it’s the constant quest to be perfect, making zero mistakes. I want to be the best. Unfortunately, we all make mistakes sometimes and what happens when we make that mistake?

I made a pretty big mistake recently at work and it resulted in sleepless nights, constant nausea, no appetite and fear about my job. I bottled it up making these feelings grow bigger and bigger. But then something happened, I talked to my manager and she laughed, “oh that? No big deal, it happens to all of us.” The wave of relief that flooded my body was overwhelming.

I learned a lesson, well actually a few lessons. First, I won’t ever make the same mistake again, nothing like sheer panic to teach you a lesson. Second and more importantly, I learned to talk to people and share as opposed to keeping it bottled up, chances are you aren’t the first person who made that mistake or had that question or felt that challenge.

So after that fiasco I decided to put together a list of techniques I use when I’m feeling anxious about something.

  1. Slow down. I am very fast paced and it’s easy to make mistakes when you’re rushing. Double and triple check, take your time.
  2. If you don’t know, ask. Reach out to your supervisor or a more experienced colleague to talk things through. This is also a great way to learn from others.
  3. Vent but not at work. Sometimes it feels good to vent just don’t do it at work or to your coworkers. Talk to your spouse, a friend, a parent or your cat. It’s good to let it out without causing drama at work.

Doing this helps me reduce anxiety at work but I understand sometimes you need to take it one step further. If you feel as though your anxieties are starting to get in the way of your life I would encourage you to reach out to a professional.

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