Anxiety in the workplace can interfere with your career advancement, financial security and self-esteem. How can someone with an anxiety disorder navigate the work world and self-care?
Financial, professional and personal fulfillment is still an achievable goal for everyone. An anxiety disorder can coexist with all three. However, it would help to get crystal clear on your own day-to-day needs.
The Ranch Pennsylvania has some suggestions to help you maintain your mental health and thrive, even when experiencing challenging anxiety in the workplace.
In a perfect world, every workplace would incorporate stress reducers like gentle lighting and nurturing environments. In an ideal world, massage therapists would be available at every job to loosen tight muscles resulting from workplace tension. Every boss would understand various mental health disorders and mental health stressors, so each team member felt safe and understood. Sadly, this isn’t the case, and the bills still need to be paid.
With 40 million Americans diagnosed with an anxiety disorder each year, the chances are good that you or a loved one experiences anxiety in the workplace. Chances are also good you or your loved one continue working, even on bad days.
If you think you are alone experiencing anxiety in the workplace, take a look at some statistics from 2016 published by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Take your workplace inventory
If you have an anxiety disorder, awareness is a vital tool for success. How is your workplace meeting your needs? Yes, you heard right. How is your work environment a good fit for you? Let’s take a close look at your anxiety in the workplace.
You shouldn’t have to compromise your professional success because of your anxiety disorder. Most people with a mental health disorder put things in place so that their needs are partly met, sometimes without knowing it. For instance, maybe you chose a job where you don’t interact much with the public. Without this interaction, you are less likely to have anxiety or stress triggers.
Make a pros/cons list. What about your workplace is supportive of your anxiety disorder? What isn’t?
Maybe you have a cubicle with some privacy, and this helps with your anxiety. Or, your boss is difficult and intrusive, which belongs on the cons list.
Don’t feel you have to make any changes today. A list is just a list. It’s an inventory of your situation:
- Do you dread work daily because of the anxiety work stirs up?
- Are there specific people or tasks triggering anxiety episodes?
- Where do you feel stuck? Does the weekly department meeting mean a weekly panic attack?
- What options are available to you?
What actions are necessary?
Okay. Now you have a list of what is and isn’t working in terms of anxiety in the workplace. If your cons list is really long, it may be time to reconsider your place of employment. The thought of changing jobs might feel overwhelming. Do you need a mental health professional to support you while making a transition?
Learn more by reading the article, “What to Do if Your Workplace is Anxiety-Inducing,” published in 2018 by the National Alliance on Mental Health.
Maybe you have a relatively equal list, but some tasks and individuals are causing you some anxiety symptom flare-ups.
You have the right to ask for a work environment, which supports you as an employee. In most cases, the topic of anxiety need never come up. No, this doesn’t mean you can hire a massage therapist and charge your company.
Always look for a way to resolve the problem impacting your symptoms.
If, for instance, a client is triggering symptoms for you, consider saying to your boss, “This particular client isn’t a good fit with me. Could someone else take this client? It will free me up to handle someone who is a better fit.”
Maybe you have a coworker or manager sending you texts after work hours. Consider sending an email that politely asks for after-hours conversations to stop. Document the request with an email, so you can follow up with human resources if necessary.
Living with an anxiety disorder can be overwhelming. Bringing awareness to your personal environments can make a dramatic impact on your ability to thrive. Anxiety in the workplace is something, with support, you can manage.
If you or your loved one needs extra support with your anxiety disorder or any other mental health condition, our compassionate, caring team at The Ranch Pennsylvania is here for you. We can help you understand your mental health disorder and teach you the coping skills you need to live the life you want. For more information about our mental health treatment programs, call us today at 717.969.9126.
By Heather Berry
Contributing Writer with Promises Behavioral Health