Anxiety is usually associated with teenagers or young adults as that is the most common time for it to make an appearance and become a problem. What happens afterwards? For some, it goes away, for others, they learn to manage it, but for some, it is a challenge they have yet to come.
My journey in the world of work was heavily impacted by anxiety. I couldn’t deal with certain types of job interviews as I couldn’t be in a group of people, even for five minutes. Most employers didn’t even want to consider me because of anxiety and even the trial positions I had, I couldn’t keep. I wasn’t reliable. However, I ended up working in a family-run business and also decided to pursue my own. So what tips did I learn?
I guess the main thing is to keep your mind focused on the tasks at hand. That can be pretty tough in the early phases as you don’t really know what you’re doing and you have to familiarise yourself with the place. Try to focus on whatever it is that you are doing and just take one moment at a time. Don’t stress yourself out with worries of your career or how long the week is or even the day! Thinking too far ahead can raise levels of anxiety, especially if you are feeling trapped.
One of the biggest pieces of advice is befriending people and talking to your colleagues. It’s easy to become withdrawn when feeling anxious. It’s hard to communicate and overthinking can be a big issue. However, having people to talk to will make the day go by quicker and having a friend will make the situation feel a lot less threatening. That’s not to say it’ll be easy to talk to everyone but there should at least be a few people you’ll be able to get along with.
Learning how to manage the physical response to anxiety is a tricky one but quite important if you’re working for someone else. Try to find ways to relax your body. That could be through breathing exercises, shrugging your shoulders, progressive muscle relaxation, those kinds of things. Helping your body to relax will help your mind to do the same. It’s not possible to be anxious and relaxed simultaneously.
The good thing about most workplaces is that you are free to move about whenever you please. Take regular little breaks to stretch your legs and burn off the adrenaline that anxiety brings. In an ideal world, you will have tasks to do that give you a reason to walk, i.e. making photocopies. Even if you work a desk job, most employers will allow you to get up and talk a short walk so that you aren’t sitting down too long.
Keep in mind the reason for you doing your job. It might be that you are passionate about the work field or it could be that you are just trying to save up enough so that you move onto the next thing. Having that at the forefront of your mind gives you the motivation you need to persevere with it. There will be some days worse than others but don’t worry too much about it.
If things get difficult or you start experiencing anxiety at work, go and see your doctor. Not only can they help provide you with certain resources but they can also write a letter to your employer. It’s not something you need to deal with alone and many employers are understanding.
Ultimately, you still want to be able to prove to your employer that you can do the job. Once they see that, they are likely to be more accommodating. Look into certain therapies that can assist such as CBT or seeing a psychologist. You first deal with the physical symptoms and then delve into the psychological side of things. Things will get better and if it doesn’t work out at a certain workplace, that might mean it’s not the place for you and better things will come.
Be sure to check out our other post on jobs for people who suffer with anxiety: https://www.zortex.co.uk/post/jobs-for-people-with-anxiety