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What is work-anxiety?

Work-anxiety is a persistent feeling of anxiety or dread around tasks, people or situations at work, which can interfere with a person's ability to do their job.

It's a draining experience that many endure in their working lives, but one that can be solved by making lifestyle changes and getting the right support.

Signs & symptoms:

  • Struggling to sleep due to an overactive, worrying mind.

  • A sense of self-doubt, hesitance & tightness in the gut.

  • Feeling constantly under threat, like you're on high-alert.

  • Feeling frozen, or immobilised in work environments.

  • Feeling hypersensitive, like you have "exposed nerves".

  • Being easily fatigued by work tasks.

  • Feeling like your breathing is restricted around people.

  • Having strong urges to avoid situations at work.

Causes of anxiety at work:

  • Working for a toxic boss, or difficult manager.

  • A lack of self-confidence or "impostor syndrome".

  • Grinning and bearing a job you don't enjoy.

  • Having to mask your emotions to survive at work.

  • Exhaustion from working long hours.

  • Being given urgent projects with short dealines.

  • Working with a team you don't get on with.

  • A lack of assertiveness or ability to say no.

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How to better manage anxiety at work

Consider taking time off.


If your anxiety is severe (and only getting worse), you may want to consider taking time off work. In order to qualify for paid leave, you will need to get a doctor's note. Your GP may also refer you for CBT or counselling to help you address your anxious & avoidant behavioural patterns. Assertiveness training is another psychological route you may want to consider, if you find it hard to speak up for yourself, set boundaries and stay in control.

Find ways to cope with anxious feelings.


One of the difficult things about anxiety is the constant self-doubt and hesitation; it stops us from putting ourselves out there and trying new things that could help reduce it's hold over us. More and more avoidance only increases our anxieties around the things we seek to avoid. So, it's critical to put ourselves in a mindset where we can gradually confront the things that make us anxious, until they no longer do.

It's not an easy road ahead, so we need ways to cope with anxious symptoms while we build our confidence & comfortability:

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  • Set time aside for yourself, where you turn off all your devices.

  • Talk to yourself in a positive way & recognise your achievements.

  • Start practicing mindfulness — it's proven to help reduce anxiety.

  • Know that your feelings are allowed, whether sadness, anger or otherwise.

Focus on improving your health.


A healthy body is the foundation for a healthy mind, after all — the brain is part of the body!

Regular exercise has been consistently shown to reduce anxiety, improve mood, boost confidence & increase motivation. So, make an effort to exercise more. Start small, with something you can manage, then aim to build up from there. Anything is better than nothing; even 10 minutes a day is worthwhile if your mental health isn't where you want it to be. And make sure to give yourself the acknowledgement you deserve when you do!

There is also a link between our gut health & mental wellbeing, which is why we often suffer stomach problems when we're distressed. This means that alongside an active lifestyle, it's important to drink more water, cut down on caffeine & eat a nutritious diet, full of vitamins, minerals & probiotics.

  • Feel more motivated.

  • Boost your confidence.

  • Get to sleep easier.

Address the root cause of your anxiety at work.


The root cause of work-anxiety is being in a job that doesn't fit who you are. When we're in a job that fits us, we are able to be ourselves. When we're in a job that doesn't, we're constantly at odds with ourselves and feel out of place. This is because the situation we're in demands us to be something we're not. This creates an underlying sense of discord in us; a perpetual worry, based on the need to maintain the right behaviours, say the right things, have the right ideas & think the right thoughts. It can be an exhausting experience, which eventually leads to burnout.

The solution, however, is simple:

Find a job where you can be yourself, doing something you're good at, with people who's company you enjoy.

As simple as that sounds, we know it's not easy. 88% of people admit to putting up with jobs they're not engaged in. There are two reasons for this. The first is that most or us believe there isn't a solution; we have to put up with jobs that aren't right for us, and that's 'just the way it is'. Secondly, we've never been shown how to track down the right jobs, and if we find them by chance, we lack the knowledge and confidence needed to secure them.

This is where career coaching comes in. Career coaches show you how to manage your career better, find the types of jobs you'd enjoy, and maximise your chances of landing those jobs. They're people who've spent years in education, to gain the expertise needed to advise people on what's best for their working lives. And since the life & career coaching is the second-fastest growing industry in the world, more people are getting access to 1-1 careers advice than ever before.

  • Find the right job.

  • Be yourself, feel less anxious.

  • Feel supported in your career.

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We're here to talk.

We'll help you address the root cause of your anxiety at work & find the job you're meant to be doing. Book a free 20-minute consultation with one of our Career Guides today & take action against work-anxiety.

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