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How to Overcome Performance Anxiety at Work

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Do you feel stressed and anxious at work? According to stress.org, 62% report that their jobs cause high levels of stress, anxiety, extreme fatigue, and feelings of being out of control. Only 5% said that their jobs were not stressful.

Performance anxiety in the workplace is a physiological and emotional reaction to thoughts surrounding an employee’s abilities, worthiness, and value

When these negative thoughts interfere with job performance, the result is often a self-fulfilling prophecy—mental energy and attention, which could be allocated to getting work done, are directed toward negative thoughts, emotions, and anxiety. As a result, job performance suffers.

In this post, Klarity discusses workplace anxiety, its causes, and how to overcome it. As a novel telehealth service, Klairty has helped 30,000+ working adults find relief from anxiety symptoms, all from the comfort of home! 

If you want to discover how Klarity can help you with workplace anxiety, take our free online mental health assessment and schedule a session with an anxiety-trained healthcare provider on Klarity in under 48 hours.

Symptoms of Workplace Anxiety

As mentioned above, stress and anxiety are common in the workplace. However, there is a distinction between occasional anxiety and experiencing an all-consuming sense of dread and panic when thinking about work.

If your workplace anxiety is constantly distracting you from getting stuff done in the office and negatively affecting your personal life away from work, you might have developed an anxiety disorder, or stress at work is triggering your already-diagnosed anxiety disorder.  

Common symptoms of workplace anxiety include: 

  • Constant worrying about tasks and work
  • Catching yourself crying often 
  • Palpitation and or sweating
  • Feeling irrationally anxious and stressed at work 
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate
  • Difficulty in speaking with others and avoiding meetings
  • Losing interest in work
  • Overeating or undereating 
  • Unable to sleep at night, worrying about the next workday
  • Possibly turning down promotions to avoid more responsibilities

This type of anxiety can result from a toxic or abusive work environment, a fear of increased responsibilities, or a traumatic work experience. Additionally, people with an anxiety disorder diagnosis are more likely to respond with anxiety to negative stimuli at work. 

The Negative Impact Of Workplace Anxiety

It should be no surprise that humans don’t function their best when under constant stress. There are numerous studies showing how workplace anxiety hampers productivity. Rather than look at the toll from an employer’s perspective, let’s focus on employees.

  • Workplace anxiety can significantly impact career mobility and act as a roadblock between you and your career goals. You simply can’t thrive if you are constantly in an anxious and excited state. 
  • Workplace anxiety can limit effective communication between an employee and their co-workers, managers, and within the company as a whole.
  • People who experience workplace anxiety are more likely to feel dissatisfied at work and have to work much harder to channel the effort to complete tasks and meet deadlines.

Is Your Workplace Anxiety Internal, External, or Both?

Your approach to dealing with workplace anxiety depends on a few factors. You need to find the source of your workplace anxiety and determine whether or not it is internal, external, or both.

Examples of internal sources of workplace anxiety include

  • Negative thoughts and feelings regarding your worth as a person, your skills and abilities as an employee, and your chances of upward mobility at your current workplace
  • A pre-existing anxiety disorder or mood disorder can influence how you view your job, yourself, co-workers, workload, and other job-related factors.
  • Whether or not your heart is in the work you do.

Examples of external sources of workplace anxiety include

  • A toxic work environment
  • Cruel or abusive co-workers, managers, or work culture
  • High or unreasonable expectations
  • A heavy, unreasonable workload

You may be experiencing internal and external sources of workplace anxiety. For example, you could have an anxiety and depression diagnosis and work in a toxic work environment. It could be one or both. 

Figuring out the source can help you determine the best course of action. 

If You Have an Anxiety or Mood Disorder, Consider Treatment

If you have a pre-existing anxiety or mood disorder that is making your workplace anxiety worse, you’ll want to consider treatment. Talk with an anxiety-trained medical provider to determine if your anxiety results from an anxiety or mood disorder. 

They may recommend therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, to help treat the symptoms of anxiety and depression. If the source of your workplace anxiety is fully or partially internal, then you need to address the root causes of your anxiety with the help of a mental health professional.

Tips For Overcoming Workplace Anxiety

The following tips can help you cope with workplace anxiety, whether it comes from an external or internal source:

  1. Release Physical Tension

Operating under increased stress for long durations adds tension to your muscles and joints. Take some time out of your workday to focus on deep breathing and stretching. Do simple exercises targeting areas where you feel aches and pains. 

  1. Prepare Before Important Meetings, Assignments, and Presentations

Prior preparation prevents poor performance. 

Staying ahead of the game helps improve your confidence that you’ve done all you can do when preparing for an important meeting, deadline, or presentation. Practice going through the motions and ensure you’ve completed due diligence well before the due date. 

You can relieve some workplace anxiety by feeling confident you’ve done all you can do.

  1. Reward Yourself After a Stressful Task

Rewarding yourself after a stressful day at work will give you something to look forward to and help your brain relax and wind down from the busy day. Take yourself out for a delicious cup of coffee or purchase something special. Rewarding yourself will help carry you through stressful situations at work and give you a sense of accomplishment. 

  1. Take a Day Off or Plan a Weekend Trip

It’s always a great idea to take some personal time away from work. Taking a step back and asking for a day off is healthy and can be a crucial way to recharge.

It’s common to feel burnt out and overworked, especially by the week’s end. Take time for yourself by planning a fun and relaxing weekend trip away from work emails. 

Discover a Personalized Workplace Anxiety Treatment Plan

At Klarity, we have helped more than 30,000 patients find the proper treatment to help with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and ADHD. With just a few clicks, you will be in contact with a mental healthcare professional who can help you find an effective treatment plan for managing workplace anxiety.

The medical providers on Klarity can diagnose anxiety, ADHD, insomnia, and depression and prescribe treatment. Klarity’s fast, affordable and convenient telemedicine services are perfect for busy, working Americans who need relief from workplace anxiety. 

Sources: 

“Work Anxiety: 10 Tips to Manage Anxiety at Work & Survive – PSYCOM”

​​https://www.psycom.net, https://www.psycom.net/10-ways-manage-anxiety-work 

Accessed Sept. 1. 2022. 

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