14 of the Best Tips To Manage Your Anxiety at Work

Jamie Birt

Updated July 6, 2022

Published August 18, 2021

Jamie Birt is a career coach with 5+ years of experience helping job seekers navigate the job search through one-to-one coaching, webinars and events. She’s motivated by the mission to help people find fulfillment and belonging in their careers.

Many workplace roles today involve multi-tasking, meeting strict deadlines and coordinating with multiple team members to reach a shared goal. These situations can cause feelings of nervousness or anxiety in some people. Understanding anxiety and knowing how to manage it while at work can help you reach your goals and maintain good health.

In this article, we discuss work anxiety and the importance of managing anxiety, and we provide 14 tips to help you manage anxiety at work.

What is work anxiety?

Anxiety can be a feeling of uneasiness, stress or worry. While facing obstacles and making life adjustments, such as starting a new career or a new degree program, you may experience some anxious feelings. In the workplace, there are various obstacles that can lead to these anxious feelings. You may experience anxiety if you have a large workload, a deadline to meet or if you need to confront a coworker about a conflict. Knowing how to manage these feelings can help you improve your mental health and ensure success at work. Common effects of experiencing work anxiety include:

  • Low job performance

  • Feeling irritable and tired

  • Avoiding social settings

  • Having less confidence in work quality and skills

Related: A Graduate's Guide To Maintaining Mental Health During the Job Search

Why is it important to manage anxiety at work?

Anxiety can influence many areas of life, including in your work. Identifying when you're feeling anxious at work can help you create healthy habits to reduce anxiety and promote work efficiency. It's important to manage anxiety at work so you can feel comfortable while fulfilling your daily job duties and enjoy your life in the workplace.

14 tips to manage anxiety at work

Here are 14 tips you may use to manage your anxiety while at work:

1. Practice self-care

Self-care can help you establish a healthy relationship with yourself and explore your needs. Practicing self-care at work is a major element of overcoming stress and burnout. You might feel more at ease and focused throughout the day if you find techniques to manage your mental and physical wellness at work. Self-care techniques you can use in the workplace include listening to your favorite music while at your desk, socializing with coworkers, packing your favorite food for lunch and documenting your workplace accomplishments.

Related: 14 Ways You Can Implement More Self-Care at Work

2. Use positive affirmations

A positive attitude can change your perspective on situations that may provoke anxious feelings. Affirmations can promote a positive attitude because they involve creating confident statements and saying them out loud to yourself to build self-esteem and belief in the statement you're making. One benefit of using positive affirmation is you can do this technique at your own leisure, which can be especially helpful during times of high stress or anxiety. Some examples of positive affirmations you can use at work include:

  • "I am confident in my skills."

  • "I can achieve any goal."

  • "I will succeed in my career."

  • "I am stronger than my anxiety."

3. Take time away from work

Personal days can be beneficial when you're feeling anxious or fatigued at work. Taking a day away from work helps you to focus on improving your well-being and restoring energy. Dedicating time to resting your mind may help you develop a positive perspective to bring back to work, which may reduce or prevent anxious feelings. While evaluating if you need a mental health day, remember to be honest with yourself regarding your feelings and needs.

Some ways to use a day off effectively can include doing chores at home like laundry, grocery shopping or cleaning, meeting with a friend or family member for lunch to talk about what you're experiencing, watching a movie or reading a book or waking up later in the morning to ensure you're well-rested.

Related: How To Request Mental Health Days

4. Enhance time-management skills

Anxiety may occur if you're facing strict deadlines and large workloads. Time management skills can assist you with prioritizing your tasks and time to meet deadlines efficiently and create quality work. Submitting work by the deadline can relieve anxiety or worry about job performance. Enhancing your time management skills may build your confidence in work and help you develop a plan for times when you're feeling anxious while completing work.

Some examples of time management strategies to use at work include creating a to-do list to prioritize your tasks, using technology such as focus applications or timers to hold you accountable for meeting a deadline, allowing yourself to focus on one task at a time and identifying what time of day you feel most productive.

Related: What Is Time Management? (Plus Useful Time Management Tips and Advice)

5. Develop healthy habits

Physical health can affect mental health depending on the habits and behaviors in your daily routine. It's important to maintain and improve your physical health if you also want to improve your mental health. Developing healthy habits may reduce anxiety and promote a sense of well-being. Healthy habits that can improve your overall health may include:

  • Eating nutritious meals

  • Sleeping for at least seven hours a night

  • Drinking water throughout the day

  • Limiting caffeine intake

  • Exercising at least three times a week if possible

6. Take breaks

Taking breaks can allow your mind to have a moment to rest and refresh itself. If you're experiencing anxiety while at work, step away from your desk for 10-15 minutes, drink water and take some deep breaths. Implementing breathing techniques and healthy habits while taking breaks can improve your well-being and relieve anxious feelings. Other anxiety-relieving strategies you can use while taking a break include:

  • Stretching

  • Eating a healthy snack

  • Going for a short walk

  • Meditating

7. Communicate with a trusted coworker or manager

If you're feeling anxious, have an honest talk with a coworker or manager. Transparent and direct communication can provide them insight into your feelings and how anxiety may affect your work habits. This can also give a coworker or manager the ability to empathize with your situation so they can give you helpful advice or feedback to relieve anxious feelings.

8. Personalize your workspace

Employees often spend about eight hours a day at work, so it's important to ensure you have a familiar and organized workspace. You may be able to prevent or reduce anxiety by adding personal items or customizations to your desk. Personal items such as your favorite plants, family photos or artwork can make you feel more comfortable and at ease, which can reduce anxiety. You can also customize a work environment by listening to music while performing tasks to promote focus, motivation and relaxation.

9. Seek professional assistance

Anxious feelings can impact work productivity and increase worry in other areas of work if you're finding it difficult to perform your job duties. When anxiety influences many areas of your life, you may want to consider seeking professional help from a mental health counselor or healthcare provider. Counselors can teach you coping mechanisms to manage anxiety effectively in work situations. Learn coping mechanisms that may reduce anxiety at work can help you be successful in your job and develop a healthy work-life balance.

10. Keep a journal

Journaling can be a great way to manage anxiety at work. Documenting your day can help you identify what causes anxious feelings and help you develop strategies to prevent them from occurring or overcome them. A journal can be a place for you to write your thoughts and express your feelings privately, which also can be a form of releasing stress and overwhelming emotions.

11. Understand your limits

While managing anxiety, it's important to be honest with yourself about what workload you're capable of handling. Setting boundaries and establishing your limits can help you understand your capabilities and identify if your current workload is beyond your limits. Talking to a manager about your situation and limits can give you an opportunity to collaborate on strategies to manage your workload, prioritize your daily tasks or temporarily decrease your duties until you improve your mental health.

12. Prepare for obstacles

Managing your anxiety at work involves understanding what causes your anxiety and taking action to prevent it from happening. Preparing and planning for obstacles while working can help you create effective solutions to prevent feeling anxious or allowing anxious thoughts to affect your quality of work. For example, if deadlines cause anxious feelings, create a plan to start your work early to ensure you meet the deadline.

13. Celebrate your accomplishments

Anxiety can affect your confidence at work and prevent you from understanding the value you bring to the workplace. Celebrating your accomplishments, such as completing challenging tasks, reaching goals and overcoming anxious feelings, can build confidence, help you remember your skills and remind you of your value at work. This can also create a sense of purpose and provide you with motivation to overcome anxious feelings to be successful in your role.

14. Remember you're not alone

Anxiety may involve isolating yourself from your peers to avoid pressure in social settings. It's important to remember to communicate with your friends or people you're close with at work as a reminder you're not alone with anxiety. Friends often want to help eliminate anxious feelings, so use them as a resource to talk about work anxiety. They may give you a new perspective and solutions for work anxiety, and they can also provide comfort to remind you your situation can get better if you're proactive about your mental health.

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