Hi, this is Kate. Everyone has experienced situations that leave their palms sweaty and their stomach tied in knots, but imagine feeling this way every day from the mere thought of heading into the office. Women battling work anxiety struggle, often in silence.
Stats on Women and Work Anxiety
Women suffer from anxiety disorders at twice the rate of men, and workplace anxiety proves no exception. Workplace anxiety can cripple careers and steal much of the joy of life for those affected. Fortunately, therapy and other treatments can help you overcome anxiety and go on to many successes.
Warning Signs of Workplace Anxiety
The first step on the road to recovery from work anxiety is to recognize there’s a a problem. If you experience any of the following symptoms, workplace anxiety might be a possible culprit:
- Boundary problems. Women with work anxiety often experience difficulty with maintaining healthy boundaries and find themselves agreeing to impossible deadlines. Women who can’t say no often set themselves up to fail by agreeing to tackle tasks on tight timelines. This behavior creates a self-perpetuating cycle that shakes a woman’s confidence even further.
- Avoidance. Many women with anxiety experience avoidance symptoms. You might, for example, duck into the break room to avoid crossing paths with a difficult coworker in the hallway. Or, perhaps you avoid asking a question in a meeting for fear of appearing foolish.
- Insomnia. Physical symptoms of work anxiety often manifest in sleep difficulties. While insomnia may stem from many issues, women who find themselves tossing and turning over work woes should consider anxiousness in the workplace as a root cause.
- Changes in habits. Many women with anxiety about work likewise experience dietary changes. Some females find eating difficult and lose weight, while others may turn to food as a coping mechanism and pack on the pounds. Developing repetitious behavior such as nail biting or hair twirling may likewise indicate an underlying anxiety disorder.
Ways to Cope with Anxiety about Going to Work
Because work anxiety can derail careers and lives, women who suspect they suffer from it should practice positive self-care. Poor nutrition and exercise habits can exacerbate any health condition, anxiety disorders included. Women with anxiety about going to work will do well to eat a healthy diet and take part in at least 30 minutes of some form of enjoyable exercise each day. Women with work anxiety must learn how to say no and set reasonable limits too.
Many women with anxiety see asking for help as admitting they’re not up to the task. In reality, reaching out for help when necessary shows your supervisor that you care about doing the best-quality job. Cognitive behavioral therapy can assist women in learning how to ask for help in healthy ways.
Also, use good time management to help soothe workplace fears. Learning how to set appropriate, reachable deadlines can reduce a lot of workplace stress. So can breaking big tasks down into more manageable, small goals. Likewise, leaving for work a few minutes early in the morning to avoid a mad dash will start any workday off on the right foot.
Avoiding the water cooler gossip benefits everyone too, whether you suffer from work anxiety or not. Women who form workplace bonds based on bashing a third party not only waste emotional energy but also fear what others may be saying behind their backs. While workplace alliances may tempt, remaining neutral creates less tension.
Finally, as many anxiety disorders contain a biological component, certain anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications may balance out the brain’s neurotransmitters. Too much or too little dopamine or serotonin can lead to mental and behavioral disorders.
Thriving Despite Anxiety
While work anxiety can be an extra hurdle on the road to a winning career, with proper self-care and professional assistance, women can overcome this roadblock and reach enormous professional success. Instead of viewing work anxiety as a liability, women should use their feelings of unease to create healthy work habits that help them and their colleagues reach new professional heights.
About Today’s Writer
Kate is a lifestyle and wellness journalist from Pennsylvania. She particularly enjoys writing about topics related to women’s health and well-being. If you like her work, you can subscribe to her blog, So Well, So Woman.