Dealing with Stress and Anxiety at Work
With everything that’s going on in the world today, it’s perfectly normal to feel stressed and anxious. Occasionally, these feelings will manifest themselves in the workplace. In this article, we’ll take a look at several expert tips to help manage those feelings and help you stay calm and productive.
Take A Break
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious during the day, one of the best things that you can do is remove yourself from the situation briefly by taking a break. Even 10-15 minutes can work wonders. Marla Deibler, licensed clinical psychologist and the founder of the Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia, notes “Changing your pace or scenery from time to time actually helps with managing anxiety. Find ways to do this while social distancing: maybe bask in the sun if you have a backyard or go for a stroll in a nearby park.”
Plan Time for Exercise
Gyms may be closed, but that doesn’t mean we should be forgoing exercise. Vivian Okirie, M.D. expounds on the advantages by saying “Exercise has a profound effect on anxiety and mental health, and should be a part of anyone’s life that has a stressful work environment. Exercise releases endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers – which improve mood and reduce physical discomfort. It also tires muscles to weaken anxiety symptoms and there is some evidence that it burns cortisol – the stress hormone – as well. Exercising before work can reduce stress throughout the work day, and exercising after work can stop the stress from affecting you when you get home.”
Try Some Stretching
During the new work from home environment that we find ourselves in, many of us are spending hours upon hours continuously slumped forward in our chairs and staring at our computer screens. This can lead to tension and stress throughout our bodies. Rebecca Jane Stokes writes on Psych Central “As awesome and getting up and moving is, sometimes we have days where this is almost impossible. We’ve got back-to-back conference calls or a deadline we have to meet. This is when doing stretching at your desk can be THE BEST for managing anxiety at work.
My favorite exercise is this: look at the top left corner of your computer, look at the top right corner of your computer, look at the bottom right corner of your computer, look at the bottom left corner of your computer. Let your neck and head move slowly while you do this. It’s a gentle, easy stretch that immediately relieves that tension scowl we all get from staring at a screen for too long.”
Utilize Available Resources
Despite our best efforts, sometimes our stress and anxieties are something that need to be shared with professionals. If that’s the case, it’s important to realize that there may be resources available to you. “Many workplaces have offer counseling through employee assistance programs (EAPs) or can connect you to mental health resources in the community to help you manage anxiety,” says Kathleen Smith PhD, LPC on PSYCOM. “Though it may be intimidating to speak up about your anxiety, when you take responsibility for your wellness, you serve as a role model for others in the workplace.”