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5 Tips For Dealing With Anxiety About Going To Work Every Day

11 min read
Last Updated on 23 April, 2024

Do you twitch when you think about going back to work? Do you have second thoughts about the whole new back-to-work culture? Work-from-home has become a norm in today's society, and returning to work worsens your anxiety.

Wouldn't it be weird and oxymoronic to work from square one again after the lockdown when it has been the norm ever since? According to many studies, people are most productive when they are comfortable, so asking yourself this question isn't so absurd.

However, with the lockdown and pandemic subsiding, many people are asked to return to work, and it is only natural to feel anxious about the rapid change. The sudden transition can be challenging for most people, from sitting at home to returning to work daily.

In this article, we will discuss what anxiety about going to work is and how to prevent or minimize it.

Why Do You Get Anxious Before Going To Work?

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Workplace anxiety is a common struggle, yet it is one of the most underlooked mental health conditions. Anxiety comes in different forms for different people. While some may face trivial issues daily, like going to work every day, others might face it because they struggle with anxiety disorder.

However, one of the most common sources of stress and anxiety among adults is going to work. There are many reasons why you might dread going to work physically, whether it is to meet new people or to meet deadlines. Whatever may be the reasons, work can be stressful, and it can affect your mental health negatively.

"Anxiety about returning to work is commonly known as Workplace Phobia."

Knowing what causes anxiety is the first step towards coping with anxiety. Being nervous and feeling anxious about going to work are completely different things. Feeling nervous before starting a new job, an important or stressful event is quite normal. It is your body's natural response to stress which can make it go into fight or flight mode, preparing you for the event. It can subside and is not persistent.

On the other hand, anxiety is a mental health issue. It is the persistent feeling of worry and tension which is often difficult to stop or control without medication. It is often a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Unlike nervousness, a personality trait, anxiety symptoms can interfere with your daily functioning abilities, work performance, and productivity skills.

Ergophobia is an irrational fear of going to work, which causes intense discomfort, before or during the workday, and that can trigger an anxiety crisis.

Many factors can contribute to your anxiety about going to work every day. It can be either because you're struggling with a generalized anxiety disorder, other stressors that might trigger your anxiety at work, or the anticipation of going to work. Here are a few reasons why you might get anxious about going to work every day -

  • You dread meeting strict deadlines

  • There's too much workload pressure

  • You might suffer from underlying social anxiety

  • You are unable to meet your targets, and the thought of facing the consequences adds up the pile

  • Unable to maintain work-life balance

  • Poor work culture

  • Fear of confronting job discrimination

  • Having a demanding boss or manager

  • Unable to manage healthy relationships at work

  • Feeling the loss of control over the work environment

Let's Explore Ergophobia More In Depth.

Ergophobia, or workplace phobia, is an irrational fear of attending or working at work and specific tasks, meetings, or speaking to new people. Encounters with supervisors or colleagues can trigger workplace phobias. The symptoms are -

  • Sweating

  • Hot flashes or chills

  • Trembling

  • Dry mouth

  • Shortness of breath

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Mental confusion

  • Nausea and

  • Headache

**Suggested Read: ** Heart Rate Monitor: Positives, Mechanism, Healthy Exercises

Having explained what ergophobia is and its symptoms, we can move on to the factors contributing to workplace phobias. Besides the existing ones, like social anxiety, many other factors can cause workplace phobia. Here are some of the other factors listed below -

  • Family history of social anxiety

  • Having a prior work-related traumatic incident or experience

  • Performance-based fear

  • Stage fright or oral presentation

  • Fear of confrontation

A recent survey found that out of 4,553 office workers in five different countries, every single person reported feeling anxious about the idea of returning to in-person work.

Is It Normal To Get Anxious Before Work?

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The first thing that comes to anyone's mind when talking about anxiety, in general, is whether it is real or just a cover-up for shyness or nervousness. According to a recent study by the Anxiety Disorder Association of America, 40% of adults at work suffer from some type of anxiety or stress daily. Yet, only 9% are living with diagnosed anxiety disorders.

About 5% of mentally healthy employees reported avoiding workplace-related anxiety in a study of self-reported anxiety in a working population.

There is nothing unusual about getting anxious before heading out to work. Many people feel nervous or overwhelmed by work-related issues, which is normal. Since you spend most of your time at work, it can be uncomfortable if the culture or things don't suit you. Your anxiety level may be triggered, and you may experience panic or avoidance.

10 Symptoms Of Anxiety Before Work

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Before dealing with anxiety, here are a few symptoms to look for. Understanding what triggers your anxiety before work is the first step in managing anxiety attacks at work. The fact that it is a mental health problem doesn't mean there won't be any physical symptoms.

According to mental health professionals , an anxiety disorder can have mental and physical symptoms. Before trying to quell it, here are a few symptoms you should look into-

  • You wake up every morning with panic attacks.

  • You experience an elevated heart rate, breathing difficulties, and a racing mind throughout the day.

  • Before heading to work, excessive sweating and nervousness are common.

  • Not getting enough sleep or having trouble sleeping before bed.

  • Negative thoughts cloud your judgment.

  • Difficulty concentrating on anything else but work meetings or calls.

  • Procrastinating and delaying your day-to-day activities out of fear of conflict or disagreement.

  • Letting your work performance negatively affect your self-esteem.

  • Allowing others to put extra workload pressure on you.

  • A constant feeling of failure and the possibility of things going wrong.

Suggested Read : Learn How To Break The Cycle Of Performance Anxiety At Work

5 Tips For Dealing With Anxiety About Going To Work

Anxiety at work is inevitable, but it is not something that you cannot manage. Whether you developed anxiety because of your work or your anxiety level just spiked up because of your professional life, it is important to know how to tackle it.

The first step in managing your anxiety is looking up more information and acting on it. Here are a few tips to cope with your anxiety that will make your work life easier -

1. Take A Positive Approach To Life

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Work can be overwhelming as it requires you to be on your toes and know who you are and what you are capable of. It can affect your mental health if you end up on the other side of the spectrum. Suppose you're constantly doubting yourself or your work or experiencing imposter syndrome.

Positive thinking or eliminating negative self-talk can be your key to reducing workplace anxiety. When you talk about changing your perspective on life, you should ask yourself the age-old question, i.e., "Is your glass half empty or half full ?". According to many studies, a positive outlook on life plays an important role in managing stress and anxiety.

Positive thinking is one of the best ways to manage your emotions and change your perspective on how you look at the world. It often starts with self-talk, and eliminating negative self-talk or thoughts is the first step. Changing your attitude in the morning can help you calm down your nerves and take a brighter approach to the day.

Practicing positive thinking can help you unleash tremendous energy and power. You are more in control of yourself as it makes you more active and aware of the possibilities around you.

Suggested Read: 5 Ways To Combat Monday Morning Anxiety

2. Create A Coping Strategy Based On What Triggers Your Anxiety

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Acknowledging and understanding the reasons or factors that trigger your stress and anxiety is one of the most basic and important steps when dealing with anxiety at work. It is important to know whether your work or personal triggers make you nervous about going to work. Not everyone faces the same problem or can deal with the same strategy.

If you are aware of the factors that trigger you, you can develop a more effective and personalized strategic plan. For example, if you know that anticipation of meetings or project deadlines makes you anxious at work, you can cultivate more awareness around these issues and deal with them effectively.

You can better deal with your anxiety by practicing deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, or desk exercises.

3. Take One Task At A Time (Break Down Your To-Do List)

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If looking at your to-do list makes you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, it may be one factor contributing to your anxiety. Looking at projects or meeting goals by the end of the day can be challenging and make you procrastinate instead of tackling them individually. Instead of worrying about the would-be consequences, taking one step at a time is best. Learn when to take a pause and breathe.

But it is nothing you should be scared of, as it is normal for anyone to feel overwhelmed with piled-up work. Instead, if you find yourself with too much work, you should address the issue with the HR or manager of your company. If your anxiety stems from this, you should break it down further to make it easier to accomplish them.

Here are a few ways you can break down your to-do list -

  • Try to plan your day ahead of time by checking your priority task lists.

  • From the most important to least important, break down your work into smaller tasks.

  • Check where you are most productive. If it's at home, try to complete your important tasks or prepare them beforehand.

  • Create a morning routine to help you ease your anxiety before the day starts.

Suggested Read: 4 Benefits Of Active Pause At Work

4. Indulge In Self-Care And A Healthy Lifestyle

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A healthy work-life balance and self-care are essential to maintain good mental health. Your physical health and mental health are both intertwined. To achieve holistic wellness, you cannot ignore either. Overachievement should not come at the expense of your personal life. It is important to balance both your physical and mental health.

Poor physical health will automatically contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. If your work is asking for a lot of your space and time, it might be one of the key factors behind your anxiety.

When you are not healthy or ignore your basic needs, it also affects your productivity and performance at work. Mental exhaustion or mental blocks can arise if you are physically drained of energy. Work fatigue is one of the many reasons why you might feel dread going to work every day.

Thus, engaging yourself in self-care programs or activities is essential to take a break to rejuvenate. It would help if you practiced a more active and healthy lifestyle compared to the sedentary one, which again has its disadvantages.

You can reduce stress and anxiety by engaging in fun activities, hobbies, regular exercise, or even mindfulness sessions. Allow yourself time to recharge after a hectic day by taking breaks. When taking care of yourself, facing obstacles with a refreshed mindset is easier.

Suggested Read : 8 Surprising Benefits Of Introducing Meditation At Work

5. Discuss Your Concerns With Your Organization's Management

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Struggling with anxiety about going to work every day post-lockdown can be quite normal. The new transition from working in a home culture to returning to the office after almost two years can take a toll on your mental health. The thought of shifting, relocating, or meeting new people can trigger your social anxiety and make you more anxious with the anticipation alone.

Thus, avoiding your issues will only manifest more problems for your mental health and lead to severe anxiety disorder. Therefore, you must talk to your HR or management if you can see that things are getting worse.

You can contact the management or even your boss before returning or going to work and address the issues making you uncomfortable at work. It will help both parties discuss and develop a more suitable solution for you and your organization without costing anything.

A good organization will always prioritize its employees' happiness and health. It is better to have a healthy employee who is more productive and aware than the ones who are constantly stressed out and are finding it difficult to tackle their work.

How Can Employers Help In Creating A Supportive Work Environment?

1. Open Communication

Open and transparent communication is essential. Employers should maintain clear channels of communication with employees, allowing them to voice concerns, provide feedback, and ask questions.

Suggested Read: 37 Mental health survey questions for employees at the workplace

2. Supportive Leadership

Train managers and leaders in effective management and leadership skills. Make sure that your leaders are approachable and supportive of their teams. Leaders can also lead by example by demonstrating positive traits that they hope to promote positive thinking. It will further help employees to adopt a more positive outlook and help create a supportive work environment.

Suggested Read: 9 Best Ways Leaders Can Support Women's Health At Work

3. Provide Resources For Mental Health

Employers or leaders can provide access to mental health resources and support, including Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or counseling services.
They can also help to raise awareness about mental health issues and reduce stigma through training and awareness campaigns.

4. Provide Anonymous Feedback

One of the best ways to know if your employees are happy or not with the work culture is through anonymous feedback. You can implement regular feedback mechanisms, such as performance evaluations and surveys, to gauge employee satisfaction and gather insights for improvement.

5. Flexible Work Arrangement

Try to recognize the importance of work flexibility, especially in today's changing work landscape. Employers need to be open to accommodating different work styles and needs. Employers can achieve the same by offering flexible hours, meaning employees have some control over when they start and end their workday. For example, they might choose to work early in the morning or late in the evening.

Or you can provide flextime, i.e., allowing employees to choose their start and end times within certain limits, offering more control over their daily schedules.

Suggested Read: How To Boost The Mental Health Of Remote Workers?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. My Job Gives Me Anxiety, Should I Quit?

Anxiety about work can stem from various factors, including job-related stress, interpersonal conflicts, workload, fear of failure, or a mismatch between your job and personal values.

2. Is It Normal To Dread Going To Work Every Day?

Work-related stress is normal, but excess anxiety may negatively affect your health and well-being and cause problems in both your personal and professional life if untreated.

3. How To Deal With Anxiety Before Work?

Techniques include setting boundaries, time management, seeking support from coworkers or supervisors, practicing relaxation exercises, and considering professional help if needed.

Summing It Up

Thus, anxiety about going to work or workplace anxiety is a common issue, yet it is often overlooked. Returning to work post-pandemic can be overwhelming and challenging for many due to the drastic transitions. But with the right coping strategies, you can take matters into your own hands and try to reduce them, if not stop them.

Sometimes, you need little time and awareness to overcome these challenges. Everyone at work can experience anxiety from time to time. However, if you see that your anxiety disorder is getting worse and nothing is helping you out, you can always seek professional help.

Ready to embark on your mental health journey? Explore Vantage Fit's innovative solutions today. Schedule a demo now and let Vantage Fit take care of your organization's health and wellness.

This article is written by Neha Yasmin who is a content marketer at Vantage Circle. A selenophile with a penchant for discovering great meals and drinks. Is a self-proclaimed binge racer with a knack for cooking in her spare time. For queries, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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