A terrible workday is inevitable once in a while. But it doesn’t have to be your entire life—you CAN shake it off! Check out these 9 tips on how to deal with anxiety at work.
Picture this and raise your hand if it gives you déjà vu: it's Sunday night, and you don't want to go to bed. The clock says midnight is drawing near, yet you can’t resist the call of one more episode of Broad City. (I mean, it’s just 22 more minutes…)
Except it isn’t TV that’s so alluring. You’re just delaying bed because you don’t want to deal with waking up and starting the workweek.
This is a symptom of the Sunday Scaries. We’ve all been there before, probably more than once. Not every workweek can be fantastic, and not every weekend leaves you feeling ready to face Monday. But at the same time, you don’t have to suffer through the Scaries every single weekend. You spend 40 hours per week at work (or longer); why should so much of your life be constant stress?
You can’t necessarily control your boss’s bad moods or your team’s tendency to leave raging dumpster fires for you to put out. What other people do at work is within their control, not yours. But you can control how you respond to the resulting stress!
How to tell if you have a severe case of the Mondays
If you’re pondering how to deal with anxiety at work and wondering if it’s getting out of control, you could be experiencing burnout. This chronic stress state causes physical and emotional exhaustion, detachment, a negative view of the world, and feelings of inadequacy.
You might be burning out from too much work stress if you:
- Feel fatigued, drained, or depleted
- Dread the next day each night
- Have trouble focusing, thinking, and remembering
- Experience physical symptoms of stress, such as chest pain, heart palpitations, stomach problems, dizziness, headaches, or fainting
- Feel sad, depressed, angry, or anxious on the daily
- No longer enjoy anything, including hobbies and time with your loved ones
- Isolate yourself from others, including at work and home
- Have feelings of detachment, or feeling disconnected from your body and environment
The problem with letting work stress go unchecked
Okay, maybe you’re burned out. So what? Around 65% of American adults experience burnout symptoms regularly, so you're in good company.
Except you shouldn’t accept it as part of your work life. This routine anxiety and stress at work have real consequences for mental and physical health, including:
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic insomnia
- Metabolic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure
- Mood changes, including sadness, anxiety, anger, or irritability
- Substance use disorders or abuse
How to deal with anxiety at work
It might not feel like it, but you have more control over anxiety and stress than you think. You can’t necessarily control every challenging situation—it’s not on you if Debbie’s hangry because she worked through lunch.
What you can influence is your reaction to each situation. Here’s how to deal with anxiety at work in 5 steps:
#1: Stop taking your work home
Do you review work emails from the couch? Log in to check on that project while you’re on the golden throne? Take work calls while your dinner gets cold?
Stop that **** right now!
Separation of work and home is the best possible thing we can do for our mental health when we’re burning out. But you won’t ever achieve it if you never leave work at the door.
#2: Learn to cope (and take back your workday)
If a negative comment from the boss is enough to ruin your day, you’re not alone—but you don’t have to carry those bad vibes beyond the moment.
Try practicing mindfulness to focus your attention away from the negative moment and channel it into doing your best work.
Here’s a quick mindfulness exercise you can do any time you have 60 seconds to close your eyes:
- Inhale and bring your attention to the top of your head.
- Focus on how it feels for a count of 10.
- If you feel tension, imagine releasing it as you exhale.
- Move to your face and repeat steps 2 and 3.
- Move to your chest and repeat.
- Move to your belly and repeat.
- Move down your legs and repeat.
- Finish with your focus on your toes.
This is called a “body scan.” It helps redirect attention away from negative stimuli to give an anxious nervous system a chance to calm down and reboot. Think of it as “CTRL+ALT+DELETE” for your brain.
Check out some other tips for using mindfulness and some full-blown meditation at work.
How to deal with anxiety at work tip #3: Disconnecting when you need to is fundamental
Some mornings, you know that today is the day you’re going to need that mental health day—and then you slide right back into bed because the guilt of picking up the phone is too big to bear.
Not anymore. Now that you’re on burnout patrol, it’s your duty to get back into that bed and stay there as long as needed.
Personal days exist for a reason, so take them! In the long run, taking time for yourself can keep stress under wraps (even if the idea of missing work stresses you out … at first).
#4: Boundaries, boundaries, BOUNDARIES!
No one feels good saying “no” to their boss—it’s anxiety-inducing. But unless you know your limits and enforce them, no one’s going to do it for you.
The next time someone drops a project in your lap that you can’t handle, it's okay to say, "Sorry, I don't have the time for that.”
You know how much you can handle, and going beyond your limits can keep you in a state of chronic burnout. At the same time, you are the only one who knows and can set those limits. Take responsibility for creating healthy work boundaries!
#5: Listen to that favorite music on the commute
Dopamine is a great stress-buster, and you can help the ol’ brain make this feel-good neurotransmitter by jamming to some favorite beats!
When we listen to music we like, the brain anticipates the emotional reward and floods the dome with dope-ass dopamine.
What else are you doing with your commute time? You might as well use those precious minutes to get the brain into a stress-free state of mind by listening to a few awesome songs.
Vibe on the way to work to get a leg up on stress and on the after-work commute to bust burnout before it follows you home!
Sunday Scaries and the workday burnout blues
If you’ve read everything you can get your hands on about how to handle work stress and you’re still struggling, there are other solutions you can try. Some research points to cannabinoids like cannabidiol as a way to mitigate stress. For instance:
- A 2013 study concluded that “cannabinoid receptor activation could represent a novel approach to stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders”
- Another 2013 study found that “cannabinoid receptor activation prevents the effects of chronic mild stress on emotional learning” (and emotional intelligence helps buffer stress!)
Plus, users swear by this hemp hero for chilling out and relaxing after a hard day.
What’s great about CBD is that it’s easy to take anywhere, including the workplace! Take your pick of the finest broad-spectrum CBD oil tinctures or gummies that can be stashed in a work bag or lunchbox.
Sunday Scaries has your new BFF to help beat the Monday blues—so subscribe to your favorite broad-spectrum CBD and get it delivered right to your door with FREE shipping!