If you’re a woman working in a busy and stressful environment, you are probably facing or have faced a huge amount of stress.
Women deal with significantly higher levels of stress and anxiety compared to men in the workplace which is often due to sexism at work and the stress of managing family life. Work can be incredibly difficult if you suffer from an anxiety disorder and overcoming this can be extremely daunting, but there are ways in which you can control it.
Talk about it.
One of the best things you can do to make your working day easier is to talk about any problems you have with your boss. This is a huge task to ask anyone with an anxiety disorder, but once you have taken this step you will feel a huge weight lift from your shoulders. You will feel much lighter having shared your worries. Making your boss aware of your anxiety will benefit both you and your boss. Your boss will understand what triggers your anxiety and will know what can be done to make work life more bearable and easy for you to manage and therefore improving the quality of your work.
Take a break.
When you feel a moment of panic, feel overwhelmed with your workload or your brain needs a break from all the chatter around you, then ensure to stop and take a big, deep breath. Take a long, slow deep breath in, hold your breath to the count of three and exhale slowly. If taking deep breaths does not help, go outside or into another quiet room to take a breather. Being somewhere calm with fresh air is more likely to put your mind at peace.
Focus on one work task at a time.
Work can be draining when you suffer with an anxiety disorder, especially if you’re uncontrollably busy and your workload keeps getting bigger and bigger. You often feel like you’re not getting anything done even when you feel you’re working at 100mph. Breaking your projects down into more manageable chunks will make your workload seem less daunting. Write the tasks you have to complete into a diary so you can tick off the things you have done whilst you go along (ticking things off as you go will make you feel more positive and accomplished). For example, in the morning you could focus on admin duties: one hour doing emails, two hours for the weekly meeting, half an hour doing other admin tasks such as scanning and then lunch.
Take the day off.
If the stress and anxiety of work is getting too much to the point that it’s greatly affecting your health and performance at work, then you will benefit from having a day off. Obviously talk to your boss about this and they will be able to best advise you on what to do. Sometimes we need a day off to re-charge and look after ourselves. Remember that your wellbeing is important and your mental health comes first. If you find you are taking numerous days off then it is important to discuss this with your GP.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Having a good 7 – 9 hours of sleep is essential for your health, wellbeing and productivity at work the next day. If sleep is something you struggle with, try practicing yoga or mindfulness and turning off all technology a couple of hours before you go to sleep so your mind can wind down. Listening to white noise whilst you sleep can be helpful too and if you struggle to wake up in the mornings, investing in a SAD lamp may be beneficial. Throughout the day, make sure you are taking good care of yourself. Drink 8 glasses of water and make sure you are eating enough (there are plenty of apps you can download to keep track these). Often if you’re feeling anxious at work you forget to do these simple tasks which have a huge affect on your work performance.
Knowing and finding out what your anxiety triggers are during your work day will massively help you get through the working week. Is your anxiety triggered by being late? If the thought of missing your bus or being stuck in traffic which will make you late for work induces high levels of panic, then perhaps leaving 15 minutes earlier or catching a different bus will put your mind at ease. Being early also allows you to get comfortable and settle into your surroundings before your colleagues start arriving. Do you dread small talk with people you are unfamiliar with? Sit near the colleagues you feel most comfortable with.
Learn to say no.
Are you a yes person? You want to please everyone so when someone asks if you can do some extra photocopying for them you say yes, even though you have too much on your plate already. Saying yes to too much is only going to make your anxiety worse as you will have too many tasks to manage at once. Say no if don’t have enough time to complete an extra task. Talk to your boss if you’re feeling overwhelmed with work and they can help you out, perhaps by pushing back deadlines. Don’t take on an impossible workload.
Positive self talk.
Often, we’re a lot harder on ourselves than we would be on other people. Throughout your working day, talk positively to yourself instead of putting yourself down. You just made a phone call which you often find hard to do? Well done! Telling yourself phrases such as ‘I will be ok’ and ‘I can do this’ will help to reassure you and reduce any stresses or worries you have.
If you are suffering with stress, anxiety or depression there are lots of people who will listen. Speak to your boss, partner, doctor, family or a friend you trust. You do not have to suffer in the workplace or in every day life alone.
For more support call Samaritans on 116 123
Visit the Samaritans website for more information https://www.samaritans.org/