It is very normal and common for people to struggle with heightened levels of anxiety at some time in their life. The important part is how we manage this anxiety so we can keep ourselves well and able to continue doing the things we want or need to do.
Working out what causes your anxiety, or increases it, can be very helpful as once you know the triggers you will be better placed to manage it. If you struggle with heightened anxiety, it is good to have strategies in place to help you manage this in the workplace. It may be that you already have your own way of coping with your anxiety, and this is great. If not, there are a number of coping mechanisms you can use day-to-day - you may find some of the techniques below useful:
Practising breathing techniques can have a positive effect on managing heightened anxiety. The NHS provides a useful 10 minute breathing exercise for anxiety and stress. Click on the link below for more details:
NHS - Breathing Exercise for Stress
There are also a number of apps you can download to your phone which will guide you through breathing exercises, such The Breathing App and Breathe Easy.
This can have a very positive effect on managing anxiety in the workplace. Some employers provide in-house exercise sessions, or discounted gym membership which may be a useful and more affordable way to access an array of different classes. There are also many exercise classes at gyms and studios that take place over lunch time, so you may be able to fit this in during your working day. You may also find it beneficial to use your lunch time to leave the work environment and go on a walk to be around nature and get some fresh air.
If you are new to exercise, the thought of going to a gym or public area to work out can be quite daunting. There are many great exercise videos on YouTube you can use at home. The NHS also offers a number of 10-minute workouts. Even moving for a small amount of time each day can have a positive impact. You can view these exercises here:
NHS - 10 Minute Workouts
You might have heard the word 'Mindfulness' used before, it simply means being aware of your thoughts and feelings in the moment. By practising mindfulness, you will begin to understand how you are feeling in the present moment. It allows you to take time for yourself, away from the busy day to day. Again, you can practise mindfulness through a number of apps on your phone or via the website links below, such as:
Some of these apps are free to use, some cost money so make sure you check before downloading them.
Anxiety UK, Mind and NHS all have some excellent information and very useful resources on their websites that could help you manage your anxiety both in work and in day-to-day life. Anxiety UK also have a phone line you can call if you need support, as well as a live web chat. The different websites can be accessed via the links below:
Mind UK - How to be Mentally Healthy at Work
NHS - 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing
The NHS also have some very useful audio guides, click on the titles to visit the NHS podcast you are interested in to listen to the podcast. Each one has subtitles and a transcript to accompany it:
Depression and Low Mood (with BSL interpretation)
The STOPP method is a technique that allows you to follow a planned thought process to take a moment, breathe and reflect on how you are feeling. You can download the STOPP method document on this page and it may be useful to have a printed copy of this to hand to have something to reference when your anxiety feels heightened.
This video clip gives a little more detail on STOPP and you can download the information and worksheets below to help you practise this.
STOPP Information Sheet
Managing Anxiety in Work
If you feel overwhelmed at work due to your anxiety, speak to your line manager or supervisor and ask for a five or ten minute break to get some fresh air, do some breathing exercises or mindfulness and have some water. You can also use your lunch or break times to use the above tools to relieve your anxiety and focus on your wellbeing.
If you would like support speaking to your employer about managing your anxiety in the workplace, please speak to your Employment Coordinator who can help with this.
If you are finding it increasingly hard to manage your anxiety, you can also visit your GP who will be able to discuss options for you and signpost you to any appropriate services. You can also self-refer to the Listening Lounge or Mind peer support if you feel you would benefit from talking to someone about your anxiety.