What are the signs and symptoms of workplace anxiety?

Some commons symptoms of workplace anxiety include:

Constant worry

Imposter syndrome

A desire to be perfect

Irritability or muscle tension

Lack of concentration or memory loss

Lack of motivation or losing interest in your work

Can an anxiety disorder make someone more likely to experience workplace anxiety?

While it is normal to experience some anxiety, those diagnosed with an anxiety disorder experience symptoms beyond regular nervousness and slight fear that is experienced day to day. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder often interfere with an individual’s ability to function and control responses to situations. These symptoms can spill over and be exacerbated or triggered in the work environment.

What’s an example of an anxiety disorder vs. workplace anxiety?

Some symptoms of workplace anxiety can include:

  • Loss of interest in in work
  • Avoiding loved ones
  • Feeling irritable, tired, or tense
  • Trouble with concentration or remembering things

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can be the same. The difference is that symptoms of an anxiety disorder are consistent, persistent, and affect daily life.

What are the key signs it’s time to see a therapist for your workplace anxiety?

Whenever you find that it is difficult to get through a typical workday for an extended period of time, it may be appropriate to seek a licensed therapist- that is, if you find that stress is constant, overwhelming, and prevents you from living your life regularly.  

How can you tell the difference between an anxiety disorder that affects your work and workplace anxiety?

In order for health symptoms to be characterized as a disorder, the symptoms must be persistent, consistent, and negatively affect several aspects of your life. In the case of anxiety disorders, a person will have feelings of anxiety or panic that are often difficult to control, can happen for long periods of time, and typically do not seem to match the situation at hand. Workplace anxiety is more generalized to feelings of panic and stress in a person’s place of work and is quite common for a lot of people.

Coping with workplace anxiety

Create a safe space in your workplace. Having a place to retreat when things get overwhelming at work can prove to be beneficial. Try making your office or cubicle a mini sanctuary. Hang family photos, purchase some fidget toys, or add a diffuser to your small space. Soothing music can also provide solace in times of high anxiety.

Identify your triggers. Tracking your feelings of stress and anxiety can help to identify your triggers. Writing out moments when you feel nervous throughout the day will help you find patterns or triggers. Are you more anxious in the morning? Is it only when you are tasked with facilitating a meeting? Or maybe it’s whenever you meet with your supervisor. Identifying your triggers will allow you to be better prepared and establish effective coping strategies.

Protect your peace of mind. Try your best to avoid workplace gossip and toxic coworkers. Constant negativity can affect your overall mood and levels of uneasiness. Actively engage in self care on the job.

Know your limits and listen to your body. Don’t take on tasks or projects that you do not have the capacity to handle. Also, take several small breaks during your workdays. This can be walking to the water fountain or walking to a colleague’s office instead of sending an email.

Celebrate small wins. Incorporate time to celebrate when you complete a project or task and thank those that assisted you. Oftentimes we get so caught up in completing our checklists that we don’t take time to reflect on our progress.