As a busy global medical communications agency, we at Porterhouse understand that the demands of work can have an impact on the mental health of our valued teams. Anxiety at work can be debilitating, hindering productivity, and negatively impacting overall well-being. However, by recognising the signs, understanding its causes, and implementing effective strategies, it is possible to manage and reduce workplace anxiety.
To support the work of the Mental Health Foundation, the home of Mental Health Awareness Week, we will delve into the topic of anxiety at work and provide practical tips to help you navigate and conquer the challenges it presents.
Understanding Work-Related Anxiety
Workplace anxiety is a psychological condition characterised by excessive worry, fear, or uneasiness related to work-related tasks, interactions, or expectations. It can manifest in various ways, such as constant worrying, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty concentrating, physical symptoms like headaches or insomnia, and a diminished sense of self-confidence.
The causes of workplace anxiety may include high workloads, tight deadlines, fear of failure, feelings of pressure, conflicts with colleagues, or feeling there’s a lack of support and resources.
10 Tips to Manage Work-Related Anxiety
- Identify Triggers: Start by identifying the specific triggers that contribute to your anxiety at work. Is it a particular task, a challenging colleague, or a specific work environment? Understanding these triggers will help you devise strategies to address them head-on.
- Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Speak with a trusted colleague, your line manager, mentor about your concerns. They can offer guidance, perspective, and potential solutions to help you navigate difficult situations. Additionally, Porterhouse has a Mental Health First Aid team, which offers confidential support and can direct you to professional counselling or therapy to explore deeper-rooted anxiety issues if needed.
- Communicate Openly: Clear and open communication can alleviate anxiety in the workplace. Express your concerns or challenges with your colleagues or line managers. Honest communication fosters a supportive environment, helps manage expectations, and promotes collaboration to overcome obstacles together.
- Practice Self-Care: Prioritise self-care to build resilience against workplace anxiety. Engage in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction, such as exercise, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or pursuing hobbies outside of work. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial for maintaining balance and reducing anxiety.
- Practice Mindfulness: Incorporating mindfulness techniques into your daily routine can be highly beneficial. Take short breaks to engage in mindful breathing exercises or mindfulness meditation. These practices can help you stay grounded, reduce stress, and improve focus and clarity.
- Establish Boundaries: Setting boundaries is essential for managing workplace anxiety. Learn to let people know if your workload is becoming overwhelming and delegate tasks when possible. Communicate your limits effectively to your colleagues and line managers to prevent additional stressors from piling up.
- Break Tasks into Smaller Steps: Large projects or overwhelming assignments can intensify anxiety. Break them down into smaller, manageable tasks. Prioritise and tackle them one step at a time, celebrating your progress along the way. This approach not only reduces anxiety but also enhances productivity.
- Improve Time Management: Effective time management is vital for reducing workplace anxiety. Create a schedule, set realistic deadlines, and allocate time for breaks and relaxation. Avoid multitasking, as it can increase stress levels and decrease efficiency. Instead, focus on one task at a time, and you’ll find yourself more in control and less anxious.
- Enhance Skills and Knowledge: Sometimes anxiety stems from a lack of confidence in certain areas of your work. Invest in continuous learning and professional development to boost your skills and knowledge. Enrolling in relevant courses or workshops can increase your confidence and reduce anxiety related to specific tasks.
- Celebrate Achievements: Recognise and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Positive reinforcement can counteract anxiety and provide a sense of accomplishment. Keep a record of your successes and refer to it.
Anxiety at work is a common challenge that many people face in today’s professional landscape. Please remember, you are not alone! If you need some support, Anxiety UK provide a range of services:
- Helpline services – open from 9:30am to 17:30pm Mon to Friday, along with our text service 07537 416905 and ‘Ask Anxia’ chatbot service, available 24/7 for all anxiety queries at anxietyuk.org.uk. See Helpline services for more information.
- Psychological therapy services, including counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), clinical hypnotherapy & Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, with appointments available in person, online and by telephone. See Therapy services for more information.
- They also run a range of courses and groups including our popular Art for Anxiety Relief (AfAR) course, anxiety management courses, and online peer-led anxiety support groups. See Support Groups for more information.
At Porterhouse, we are committed to supporting the mental health of our staff and wants you to be open about any mental health issues and ask for help if needed.
Reach out for support from a colleague or one of our Mental Health First Aid team – Alex S, Emma W, Babs and Jane – who have a range of useful contacts and resources and are happy to help!