5 things to not do while dealing with work anxiety
The corporate world is a battleground of promises and commitments, demanding timely fulfilment. Unresolved tasks and pending matters can trigger stress and anxiety, encompassing concerns such as punctuality, salary deductions, incomplete tasks, missed meetings, extended leaves, traffic delays, and vehicle breakdowns. The list of anxiety-inducing factors for corporate employees is extensive. Despite attempts to remain composed and overlook the intricate details of these issues, one undeniable commonality persists – ‘work anxiety’.
Here are 5 things that people should not do while dealing with work anxiety. Self-criticism
The initial response during work or when experiencing work-related stress is often self-criticism, a detrimental habit. This can significantly harm an individual, gradually plunging them into feelings of guilt that may even lead to life-threatening attempts. The perilous nature of such a situation is evident. Therefore, it is crucial to refrain from self-criticism. Simran Bhatnagar, content manager at W and a social media influencer, emphasizes, “Never doubt yourself; it’s simply a result of overthinking. Engage in conversations with mature, kind, and experienced individuals. Focus on honing your skills for improved work performance. Remember, quitting is not a solution.”
People often consider isolation as the optimal solution or a remedy to eliminate toxicity, anxiety, and other stress-inducing factors. However, in the context of work anxiety, the reality is quite different. Instead of calming down, individuals tend to become more agitated as negative energy intensifies when alone in such situations. Attempts at self-dialogue to find solutions often lead to increased feelings of depression. PR professional Sonia Dhyani emphasizes the importance of avoiding isolation, stating, “It is essential not to isolate oneself! When experiencing work anxiety, the temptation to withdraw from colleagues and friends may arise, assuming they won’t understand or provide support. Yet, social connection plays a crucial role in alleviating stress and anxiety. Confiding in a trusted coworker, supervisor, or friend about concerns can be beneficial. Sharing feelings and seeking support not only brings relief but also allows others to offer advice, perspective, or assistance. Additionally, connecting with others facing similar challenges, such as joining a support group or seeking therapy, can be instrumental in finding solace and effective strategies to manage work anxiety.”
Ignoring the problem
It’s a common human tendency in most problematic situations, people tend to evade circumstances and avoid facing or discussing them. While ignoring the problem may provide momentary relief, the issue persists, demanding a solution eventually. Dr. Lalitha Palle, founder of ForMen & Moderate, emphasizes, “Avoiding work-related tasks or situations may temporarily reduce anxiety, but it doesn’t address the underlying issue. In fact, avoidance can exacerbate work anxiety in the long run. Constant self-criticism can worsen work anxiety. Avoiding unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as excessive caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine, may offer temporary relief but can worsen anxiety and overall health in the long run.”
She further stated, “Work anxiety is a common experience characterized by excessive worry, fear, and nervousness related to one’s job, significantly impacting one’s well-being and productivity. While it’s crucial to address the underlying causes of work anxiety, there are certain behaviours to avoid that can make the situation worse. It’s easy to jump to the worst-case scenario and dwell on thoughts like, ‘I’ll never be able to finish this project’ or ‘I’m going to get fired.’ Instead, focus on the present moment and remind yourself that you’ve handled challenging situations in the past.”
It’s true that under tight deadlines, unrealistic targets and in an extremely pressured environment, keeping calm, motivated and holding positive attitudes becomes a need of the hour. However, it is equally difficult as negative attitudes towards work and peers automatically jumps in. People often become frustrated and irritated on petty matters, their mood swings and negative emotions go at par. Adding to this, Chetna Gogia, CHRO at Gokwik, states, “Neglecting the signs of work anxiety, especially in remote setups, can result in employee burnout, lower productivity, and compromised mental well-being. It’s crucial to not undermine or dismiss employees’ worries, promote open communication, establish clear work-life boundaries, and make mental health resources easily available. Additionally, avoiding negative influences and not completely getting consumed with imposter syndrome are also other ways to deal with the harmful effects of work anxiety. By steering clear of unhealthy practices and advocating for overall well-being, companies can foster a work culture that not only acknowledges the impact of work anxiety but actively works to alleviate it. Prioritising regular check-ins, flexible work arrangements, and proactive support can help create a strong workforce that values employee well-being and addresses work anxiety effectively.”
Neglecting self love & self-care
The definition of self-love and care varies for each individual—some express it through dressing up, while others find it in shopping. Prioritizing mental health and maintaining happiness is key. Unfortunately, during times of stress or work anxiety, this self-care often takes a back seat. People may react differently, adopting a “who cares” attitude. This negative state is counterproductive when dealing with work anxiety. Feeling pressured or demoralized? It’s okay to say no. Dr. Arpita Goyal (MBBS, MPH) from Yale and D Y Patil emphasizes, “Learn to say no when necessary, prioritize your well-being, and seek social support to reduce intense emotions and excessive stress. Adopting these behaviours contributes to a more harmonious, encouraging, and psychologically healthy work environment when dealing with workplace anxiety.”
Sonia Dhyani advises, “Dealing with work anxiety requires avoiding practices like neglecting self-love and self-care. Prioritizing work over well-being worsens anxiety symptoms. Establish a healthy work-life balance with activities like exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones to alleviate work-related anxiety.”
Dr. Arpita Goyal (MBBS, MPH) from Yale and D Y Patil emphasizes steering clear of counterproductive actions when dealing with anxiety at work. Recognize workload capacity, avoid criticizing colleagues behind their back, set reasonable deadlines, and cut back on caffeine to manage anxiety. Rajesh Kumaraswamy, senior director, Human Resources, Expleo India, suggests seeking help when battling work anxiety. Taking a deep breath, staying hydrated, and smart problem-solving during anxiety can ease the situation.