I have dealt with anxiety for most of my life. It’s been a long and difficult journey but I now have many tips to help others deal with it. The most difficult part of my anxiety journey was dealing with it whilst I was at work.
At first, I found it extremely difficult to cope. As you know, I work in retail and even just one awkward customer would send me over the edge. The stress of getting one simple job right would completely overwhelm me.
Luckily, after the years I have taught myself to deal with these situations. I would absolutely love to share all of my tips and methods with you that I use to this day when I’m at work if I get overwhelmed. Oh, and I’m a supervisor now. So I must be doing something right.
Ever since I started using time management, I have been much less stressed. I can’t count how many times I used to run out of time to do important things. Also when I knew I didn’t do something, my anxiety would get sky high. Even though I knew it was completely my fault and could have been avoidable.
I recommend using time blocks and writing down what you are going to do each hour. Give yourself a specific time to do something and a time limit to do it in. Make sure you to stick to this schedule. It will make life so much easier. Trust me.
Everybody knows that I am a big advocate for using affirmations. It is amazing when you get into the habit of using them in the workplace when any trigger for anxiety hits.
I’m not saying you have to stand in front of all your colleagues and randomly start shouting out affirmations. I understand that many of us would find that very awkward.
Just say them to yourself in your head. There are so many amazing affirmations that you can use. Come up with a few yourself that relates to the situation that made you anxious. My personal favourites are the simple “I can do this” and “It doesn’t matter if I don’t do everything perfectly today”.
Talk About It
I know firsthand that we can all have days where you wake up and your anxiety is already spiralling. It’s like it just popped into your head for no reason but to inconvenience you and make you feel like shit.
This is why it’s really important, to be honest with your colleagues and especially management about your mental illness. Tell them as soon as you go in if your anxiety is playing up. Don’t keep it to yourself as that is the worst thing you can do. There is something really amazing about getting your feelings out there and knowing that you have support from the people you see every single day.
If you have colleagues and management that you don’t feel like you can talk too or don’t understand then I would get out of there. I worked in a place like that for 8 whole months. Never again.
Always take your time to stop and have a breather if you need it. Stand out of the way and breathe slowly in and out for at least one minute. I do this briefly when there are quiet moments in the shop. If you get into a habit of doing this very simple action, you will feel so much better.
A great breathing exercise is Bhramari pranayama, or “Bee Breath”. It is used during yoga but can be used during daily life for anxiety and stress relief. You can read more about it and how to practice it here!
All types of work can be so much easier if you just think more positively. Block out all of your negative thoughts and change every negative into some sort of positive.
For example; when I get an awkward customer. The first thing I used to do was get extremely anxious but now I just think “they must be having a bad day” and move on. You never know what’s happening behind the scenes in people’s lives. Don’t just assume they are a naturally horrible person and they dislike you for no reason.
Set Achievable Goals
Set yourself goals before you leave for work in the morning. Make sure you include a few very achievable goals. If you try and show off and give yourself too many difficult goals, the possibility of getting overwhelmed is much higher.
Setting goals for the day is also great when combating work anxiety. There is nothing better than achieving all of your goals for the day and ticking them off. Make sure you get to do this. Don’t push yourself too hard. We all have our limits.
Accept Help From Others
Last but not least. Don’t do everything yourself. Your colleagues are there for a reason and if you need help with something, just ask. 9 times out of 10 they will happily and willingly help you out. I know I would.
Alternatively, if somebody offers you help, don’t turn them down. They are doing a nice thing and you could probably benefit a lot from their help.
This will make you feel much less anxious at work. Also having someone to talk too whilst completing your work can make all the difference. As long as you are just casually chatting whilst you work and not getting completely distracted.
Anyway, work can be difficult when you have anxiety. However, there are always ways of dealing with it. One or two of my tips may only work for retail-based jobs but I sincerely hope that they help some of you in some way.
Let me know in the comments where you work and how you combat anxiety in the workplace. I would absolutely love to know and learn more about you all.