Job anxiety is increasingly common and it’s been said that most people will experience it at some point in their work or pre-work lives. One of the main problems is that it often creeps in along with stress. With a little awareness and some sensible precautions you can avoid becoming a victim.
What’s with job anxiety?
There are many reasons why anxiety can attach itself to your job or career. We live in a time of high expectations, and this can be compounded by the systematic implanting of inflated aspirations.
The expectation that everybody has the same opportunities in life if they just try hard enough, for example, is pernicious and obviously untrue. Nevertheless, recent generations have been raised with this message constantly bombarding them from all directions.
While it might seem harmless to suggest that success and its rewards are all based on personal merit, inevitably there will be large numbers of people who, for reasons outside their control, fail to ‘make the grade’ promised by well-meant but misguided mantras of personal empowerment.
What to do about job anxiety
If worries about work start to impact negatively on you the effects will probably be noticeable outside work. Your sleep may suffer, for example, or you might be irritable or feel your confidence slipping. There is a range of symptoms some more obvious than others. If you begin to notice that these effects, rather than battling on and trying to ignore them there are some recommendations you should try.
Where to start
First, beware of unhelpful reactions like overeating, alcohol dependence, excessive caffeine, abuse of drugs or stimulants. Symptoms of anxiety come in many forms, from mild to scary. The sooner you identify any feelings which disturb you, the easier they’ll be to deal with and correct.
Then, there are some tactics you can use at work and after work to help redi=uce the symptoms of anxiety:
- Practice self-awareness – take short ‘thinking breaks‘ for example
- Accept that some job anxiety is normal – fighting it only makes it worse
- Find things that make you laugh and smile with colleagues
- Take lunch breaks and do something which distracts you from work – visit an exhibition or read a book, for example
- Recognise the ‘good enough’ is sometimes all the situation will allow – a perfect result may not be possible withing the time-frame or resources
- Go green – take a walk outdoors on your breaks, contact with Nature improves mental wellbeing
- Learn to accept anxiety as normal – fear anxiety and you fuel it, accept it and it loses its power over you.
- Practice effective stress management – lower stress levels make you less prone to anxiety.
- Nurture your social life – do activities you enjoy to distract yourself from job anxiety
- Develop a hobby or interest – take a class if you don’t have a particular interest
- Appreciate your successes – this retrains the mind to look for real positives to counter stress
- Learn the habits of resilience – resilient people are better able to deal with the demands placed upon them
- Consider coaching or speaking to a therapist if you can’t manage these things by yourself.
There are many aspects of a job that can cause anxiety, but in the final analysius the only partt of the equation you can control is yourself. Focus on being the best you can in a given situation, rather than worrying about the job which is, after all, just a job.