What You Can Do About Anxiety at Work
It’s not always easy to talk about anxiety in the workplace, especially when you’re the one suffering from it.
Anxiety at work is a problem plenty of people struggle with—maybe even more than you think. In fact, more than one-third of Americans have symptoms of anxiety, depression, or both. Does it surprise you? Consider this: Only about 50 percent of employees are comfortable talking about mental health issues.
According to a Monster survey, approximately 41 percent of employees report experiencing anxiety as a result of their job. If you're one of the many people dealing with anxiety in the workplace, this scenario probably sounds familiar: You're on your way to the office when the feeling hits you. Your heart rate rises and your skin goes clammy; by the time you've walked in the front door your shirt is nearly sticking to your back. Now, go do your job and do it well. Yeah, right.
Anxiety at work throws a bunch of feelings at you at once. You're jumpy, you're on edge, you're nervous in a way you can't quite explain. Most of all, you're exhausted.
What Causes Anxiety at Work?
The causes of workplace anxiety are myriad and depend on you as a person. Some examples include
While the causes are different, for many people, the larger impact of anxiety at work is similar. Your job performance, relationships with peers, and the quality of your output all take a hit.
It's not always easy to talk about anxiety in the workplace, especially when you're the one suffering from it—and it can be even harder to know where to turn for help. However, there are more resources than you might expect that can help you learn how to deal with anxiety at work. First, though, let's cover some of the basics.
Workplace Anxiety Is Common
Just how common is anxiety at work? The answer: pretty darn common. A survey from the Anxiety Disorders Association of America notes that 18.1 percent of the US adults have an anxiety disorder, but only 36.9 percent of those adults receive treatment. At the same time, a study from the insurance company Unum notes that mental illness is one of the top causes of worker disability in the U.S., with 67% of those with a diagnosed mental health disorder also having anxiety.
As commonplace—even prevalent—as workplace anxiety is, people are generally hesitant to talk about it. In fact, another piece of research found that most would rather literally talk to a robot than have a conversation about anxiety with their manager. However, as factors like the COVID-19 pandemic showed us, there are some signs that the larger conversation around workplace anxiety may also be shifting.
The pandemic impacted everyone in one way or another and made people recognize the importance of having discussions around mental health and well-being. The resulting media coverage helped echo this sentiment, which led to a greater acceptance of talking about or even simply acknowledging our mental health.
Resources for Anxiety in the Workplace
If you're suffering from workplace anxiety or stress, what resources do you have? While the answer likely varies from one employer to the next, many provide mental health benefits through their health insurance plans. It may also be worth reaching out to your primary care provider to see how they may be able to assist.
Another, often less pursued option, is to explore Employee Assistance Plans (or EAPs), a type of benefit program designed to assist with personal issues that may impact your job performance—including, but not limited to, how to calm anxiety at work, deal with depression, face legal and financial issues, and tend to child or eldercare needs.
EAPs can be an alternative for short-term assistance, usually averaging around five visits. They're often a free service and available on a confidential basis to an employee and their dependents.
Make a Change for Your Mental Health
If you're experiencing anxiety at work and you suspect your job (or boss or coworkers) are contributing to your unhappiness, it couldn't hurt to start looking for a new employer. Could you use some help taking the first step? Monster can make it easier for you. Start by creating a profile for free. We can send you customized job alerts from companies that would be a great fit for you. Don't let anxiety hamper your success.