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Common Symptoms of Work Anxiety and How to Reduce Them

10 May 2023
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There is evidence to suggest that work anxiety symptoms have increased in recent years, and it is not just because we are talking about it more.

Many workers today are facing increased workloads, tight deadlines and high job demands, leading to higher levels of stress and anxiety.

According to a report by the Health and Safety Executive, work-related stress, anxiety or depression accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health cases in the UK in 2021/22.

While technology has made many aspects of work easier, it has also made it easier to be connected to work 24/7, proving more difficult to switch off and relax, leading to increased stress and anxiety.

Add global economic uncertainty to this, along with factors such as Brexit, trade tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is evident how financial stress has also increased for many workers.

While work-related anxiety has always been a concern, there is definitely a greater awareness and openness about mental health in the workplace, leading to more discussions and attention on this issue.

What are the common symptoms of work anxiety?

  • Excessive worrying or fear related to work tasks or performance.
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing on work-related activities.
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge while at work.
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, or stomachaches.
  • Sleep disturbances, including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep due to work-related thoughts.
  • Irritability or mood swings in the workplace.
  • Avoidance behaviours, such as procrastination or avoiding certain work tasks.
  • Perfectionism and excessive self-criticism regarding work performance.
  • Feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope with work demands.
  • Increased heart rate, sweating, or shortness of breath in work-related situations.

It's important to note that experiencing occasional stress or anxiety related to work is normal, but if these symptoms persist and significantly interfere with your daily functioning or well-being, it may be beneficial to seek support from a healthcare professional or mental health provider.

How can we reduce work-related anxiety?

Identify the source

Understanding the root cause of your anxiety can help you to develop effective coping strategies. Are you overwhelmed with your workload? Do you feel unsupported by your colleagues or boss? Identifying the source of your anxiety can help you to address the underlying issue.

Practice stress-management techniques

There are many techniques you can use to manage stress, including deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga. Taking a few minutes each day to practice these techniques can help you to feel more calm and centred. Try these exercises recommended by

Set realistic goals

Setting achievable goals can help you to feel more in control and reduce feelings of overwhelm. Break down your work into smaller, manageable tasks and focus on one thing at a time.

Prioritise self-care

Prioritising self-care is essential for reducing anxiety. Make time for exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep. Additionally, make time for hobbies and activities that you enjoy. The importance of taking care of the basics cannot be overstated.

Seek support

Talking to a trusted colleague, friend, or therapist can be a helpful way to manage work-related anxiety. Additionally, consider talking to your manager about your concerns and see if they are willing to work together to find a solution.

Take breaks

Taking breaks throughout the day can help to reduce stress and increase productivity. Step away from your desk, take a walk, or do a relaxation exercise to clear your mind and recharge your energy.

Reducing work anxiety symptoms requires effort and commitment, but with these strategies, you can take steps to improve your mental and physical well-being. However, if your workplace is unsupportive of your efforts to address work-related stress, it might be worth considering a new opportunity.

If you feel it is time to move forward in your career, we can help you find a role that is suitable for you and your well-being. Contact our team here

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