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Anxiety disorders can have a significant influence on the workplace. People may decline a promotion or other opportunities because it requires travel or public speaking; they may create reasons to avoid workplace parties, staff lunches, and other activities or meetings with coworkers; or they may be unable to fulfil deadlines.

People with anxiety disorders frequently reported the following as challenging situations in a nationwide study on anxiety in the workplace: dealing with difficulties; setting and completing deadlines, maintaining personal connections; managing employees; participating in meetings, and delivering presentations.

Workplace stress is something that everyone experiences, and it is completely natural. However, persistent, illogical, and overpowering tension that interferes with everyday functioning may suggest an anxiety condition. Make sure to contact your doctor for some mental health treatment, as this can be a significant medical issue that you should not have to go through alone.

In addition to medical treatment, here are some suggestions to keep in mind to make your work life more manageable:

Learn to recognise your disorder’s symptoms and how to deal with them if they occur at work.

Talk to someone. Knowing that someone understands your illness may be reassuring, and it may alleviate any concern about having a panic attack at work. Ask to speak to a mental health first aider in your workplace, or if there is not one available, suggest that it might be helpful.

Be honest with yourself. If you do not have enough time, do not overcommit or volunteer to take on assignments. If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask management to help you with your workload. Your boss may be unaware that you are overworked, so request a meeting and explain, professionally, that you have too much to do.

Try to avoid workplace criticism and gossip. This can make you feel negative about other people, and in turn, about yourself.

Filing and cleaning your desk and computer desktop may be low on your priority list, but a tidy workplace can help soothe your busy mind and save you time as well.

Take a rest and time out for yourself. It is good to recognise when you need a break. Something as simple as a walk around the block, or some deep breathing, may help you clear your mind and come back to tackle things with a fresh start.

Remember your work-life balance and, if you can, make an effort not to carry work home with you. After hours, try and make space. Try not to check your work email or voice mail.

Try and look after your body. Think about your diet, sleep, and exercise. It can be hard when you are struggling with your mental health, but if you can take care of your body and mind, it will help you to deal with difficult situations. Try to make just one positive change each week.

Make sure to follow the plan set out by your doctor or mental healthcare provider, or if it is not working for you, make sure to book an appointment to discuss changes you can make to suit you better. Remember that this is a journey, and it might take a while to find the right treatment to work for you.

And finally – pat yourself on the back. Take pride in what you have accomplished and recognise what you have achieved. Even the tiny things are worth celebrating.

If you want to be able to help people in your workplace, or need a mental health first aider in your workplace, contact us for the next available course dates.