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I can't hold down a job because of anxiety. Unfortunately, this is true for many people. Considering that anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders – affecting over 40 million U.S. adults, which is 19.1% of the population – it’s not surprising that many people can’t keep a job due to anxiety disorders. There are various types of anxiety, including generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and panic disorder. Each of these affects the person differently, but all can inhibit a person from living a fulfilling life. If you can’t get a job because of anxiety or are struggling to keep your current position, below are some tips that can help.
Anxiety and Employment
Anxiety is defined as an intense, excessive, and persistent sense of worry and fear about everyday situations. Common symptoms of anxiety include rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, rapid breathing, and feeling tired or fatigued. There are different kinds of anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobia.
Symptoms of anxiety are usually common regardless of the disorder, though their duration and frequency vary, as does the diagnosis criteria for each condition. Considering that anxiety is commonly linked to stress, it’s no surprise that many people can’t get a job due to anxiety or struggle to keep their positions because of conditions like social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can severely impact a person’s ability to work and earn the income they need to pay their bills, but it can also lead to a wide range of disturbances in other areas of their lives. If you can relate, below are some common signs of anxiety at work that you might be displaying:
- Turning down the promotion due to fear of future responsibilities of the new position
- Making excuses to avoid interacting with coworkers and colleagues
- Avoiding social gatherings at workplaces like staff lunches or holiday parties
- Not being able to meet deadlines or complete your tasks consistently
- Lower job performance
- Difficulty maintaining personal relationships or friendships at work
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks
- Difficulty with public speaking, presenting, and interacting with clients
For employers who are looking to improve the workplace environment for their teams, high employee turnover not only leads to an excessive waste of money on recruitment and job applications, but it’s also a sign of high anxiety in the workplace. Although stress is not always avoidable, and sometimes it’s beneficial to ensure that everything gets done, if your company sees many turnovers, find ways to create an environment that’s calm and productive rather than stressful and anxiety-inducing.
How to Cope with Anxiety at Work
Common causes of anxiety at work include workplace harassment and bullying, deadlines, problems with coworkers, frequent deadlines, lack of control and power, lack of direction and supervision, low pay, lack of benefits, and more. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as the perfect job or work environment. There will always be that coworker you struggle to get along with or that supervisor who seems to have it out for you.
However, you can’t quit every single job, because then you’ll never have one! For those who can’t keep a job due to anxiety, here are some tips you can follow to help you manage your anxiety at work and learn how to make the most of your position.
- See a doctor: If you’ve never gone to a doctor for anxiety, but you’ve exhibited all or most of the signs listed above, then it’s time for a check-up. Receiving a diagnosis if you don’t have one can give you the peace of knowing that you have a legitimate disorder and that these symptoms aren’t all in your head.
- Learn about anxiety and what triggers you: After you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or have received guidance from a doctor, educate yourself as much as you can about your condition. This also means writing down the things that trigger your symptoms. This could be a person, place, or thing. Although it’s easy to say that work, in general, is anxiety-inducing, try to be specific to benefit the most from this exercise.
- Speak to a trusted supervisor: Especially if the source of your anxiety is a particular supervisor or manager, speaking to them about how you feel can help. Whether your anxiety stemmed from an argument or maybe you two just seem to rub each other the wrong way, it could be beneficial to speak to this person about improving your relationship at work. Your manager or supervisor might also not be aware of how you’re feeling and might have new practices set in place that can help.
- Practice time management: Learning how to have a job with anxiety also involves organizing yourself. Lack of organization adds to the stress of daily tasks, deadlines, and meetings. When we aren’t organized, things are more likely to be misplaced, meetings are missed, and tasks aren’t fulfilled. A great way to reduce stress and anxiety at work is to keep a strict agenda or create a daily to-do list for yourself to make sure you’re focused and can stay on track.
- Set achievable goals: This ties in with keeping yourself organized. Avoid spreading yourself too thin at work to prevent anxiety and stress. If your position demands exceed the benefits, then it might be time to sit down with your supervisor and come up with a different agenda.
- Avoid toxic coworkers and gossip: Who we surround ourselves with and the things we entertain greatly impact our mental health and behavior. Thus, when you are constantly entertained by gossiping and negative comments and behaviors in the workplace, you’re likely to see the impact reflected in your work and mental health.
- Ask for help from teammates: If you’re overloaded with tasks or deadlines, ask a coworker for help. You could also speak to a supervisor or manager about adjusting your workload (if possible).
- Take breaks: In addition to the occasional day off to rest and annual family vacations, it’s also important to take breaks throughout the day to prevent burning yourself out. Taking 5 to 10-minute breaks every hour (if possible) is a great way to prevent yourself from feeling overloaded and stressed. Stepping away for a few minutes to use the restroom or get water can also clear your head and help you concentrate better.
- Get a new job: If you’ve tried and tried to make your current position work, but you are still experiencing high anxiety, then maybe consider finding a different job. There are plenty of great jobs for people with anxiety that might suit you better, including being a veterinarian, landscaper, tradesperson, and more.
Anxiety Treatment in Florida
Anxiety can affect much more than just your job. It can have a huge impact on your ability to socialize and maintain strong and healthy relationships. If you or someone you care about has been struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to get help.
At Banyan Mental Health, we offer various levels of care and disorder-specific programs, including anxiety treatment, to all types of clients to help them understand their disorders and learn how to manage their symptoms properly. We’re dedicated to assisting everyone who walks through our doors to achieve a happier and more fulfilling lifestyle.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness - Anxiety Disorders
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