14 tips to learn how to stop worrying about work (with tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 30 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Worrying about work can be very detrimental to a person's quality of life and wellbeing. It can make working life even more stressful than it needs to be because, along with the pressure of doing your job, you may worry about having to work every day or actually going into work. Learning how to stop worrying about work can improve your life drastically and quelling feelings of anxiety can give you a great sense of relief. In this article, we learn how to stop worrying about work and discuss what to do if you're struggling with it.
How to stop worrying about work
Learning how to stop worrying about work can be incredibly useful for people who are prone to anxiety and feelings of apprehension about going to work. There are many different approaches to reducing feelings of anxiety and there is no single cure that works for everybody. Here are some popularly used methods of combatting anxiety about work:
1. Eat healthily
This is a factor that is often overlooked, but it can be incredibly powerful. As science has demonstrated, our physical health and mental health directly connect. For this reason, what we put in our bodies can have an impact on how we feel. Caffeine, for example, is a stimulant and is often used to amplify feelings of anxiety. Sugar has a similar effect on the body and mind. Eliminating caffeine and opting for a low-sugar breakfast can be a good way to reduce anxiety about work.
2. Complete your work
It's normal and justified to be anxious if you have left work unfinished. By ensuring that you complete all your tasks, you can stop yourself from worrying about being reprimanded by your manager. Having all of your work completed also gives a feeling of satisfaction and confidence because you can expect your manager and your colleagues to be pleased with you. It also relieves the pressure of a looming deadline, which can further exacerbate anxious feelings.
3. Stick to a schedule
Having a rigid structure in your life can free your mind from worrying about certain daily tasks. By strictly sticking to your schedule, you may do things almost automatically and you may not consciously think about them as much, reducing the amount you worry about them. This can include taking your children to school at the same exact time daily or having your breakfast at a particular time. The more tasks you incorporate into your daily schedule, the less you have to worry.
4. Organise your work
Things like your schedule can fall under organisation, but also focusing on organising your to-do list can further decrease feelings of anxiety. If you write down everything that you are responsible for doing in the coming days or weeks, then you can address your responsibilities in order of priority. Every task that you write down in a diary is one less thing for you to remember and it increases the likelihood that you complete everything you need to do, leaving you with fewer worries.
5. Practise self-care
Looking after yourself mentally, physically and emotionally on a continuous basis gives you a level of protection against anxious thoughts and feelings. If you are generally calm and happy, then you may be less prone to worrying about work and you can enjoy yourself more easily. Maybe you are in need of a holiday or you need a weekend to yourself to relax and recuperate. Whatever you decide to do as a form of self-care, tackling your negative feelings and raising positive feelings is crucial to reducing worry about work.
6. Practise mindfulness
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that seeks to draw the attention of the conscious mind to the present moment. The basic theory behind mindfulness is that both the past and the future are where your attention goes to worry about things, whereas the present moment is safe and carefree. One form of mindfulness meditation involves focusing your attention on your breathing and observing it as you inhale and exhale. This trains your mind to be in the present moment.
7. Turn off electronics
Using your devices less can help with worrying about work in various ways. One of which is that using electronic devices before bed can reduce your quality of sleep because the blue light emitted by screens signals to our brain that it's daytime. Using your devices less before bed can cause you to have better sleep and consequently feel better and less worried the next day.
8. Talk to someone
People often try to conceal their feelings of anxiety for reasons known only to the individuals. They may associate their worrying with weakness and feel embarrassed, but this is an outdated way of thinking because anxiety is very common nowadays and many people understand the struggle. Talking to someone about your worry about going to work can help in addressing your issues. It can also help significantly to discuss these feelings with your manager because if they are aware of your problem, they can understand if you are acting differently.
9. Distract yourself
Having a passion project or an activity you enjoy doing for entertainment can be a great way to divert your attention from the feelings of worry. Distraction can help you create a more positive atmosphere and reduce worries about work. Doing something that makes you happy or something that engages your attention, such as watching a film or playing a video game, can be a good way to help you forget about your worries.
10. Try anxiety reduction techniques
There are various techniques that you can use as fast-acting solutions to worrying about work. One of which is called box breathing and snipers use it in the military to quickly lower their heart rate, which is necessary for accuracy. The technique is simple, effective and quick to implement. Simply inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds and hold for four seconds. Box breathing overrides the flight or fight response, calm the nervous system and reduce stress. You can also investigate other techniques and find one you like.
11. Reflect on the causes
Knowing what causes you to worry about work can help with treatment and prevention. Unfortunately, it's not easy to identify the precise cause or causes of anxiety, because it's sometimes based on irrationality in the sense you may be having a fearful response when there is no danger present. Of course, your worry about work may be entirely rational. Maybe your job involves a level of risk and danger, you are approaching a deadline or your employer is causing you to feel stressed.
12. Decide whether your employer is treating you fairly
If you are not being treated with fairness and respect at work, then your worry about work can be justified and you may just have a bad employer. You can speak to other staff members and see if they are experiencing similar worries. If you decide that your employer is treating you unfairly and causing you to stress about your job, you can start looking for work elsewhere.
13. Complete your workload
Leaving things until the last minute causes worry because you are under the pressure of time. If you have an approaching deadline and you still have a lot of work to do, this kind of worry is normal. If this applies to you, try and ensure you are getting your work done on time in future.
14. Look after your health
Sometimes sickness can cause worry about work and induce feelings of anxiety. When you are not feeling your best, you can often worry about speaking to people or appearing sickly to your colleagues. Returning to work after time off can also cause people to worry, but this normally subsides after the first day back.
What to do if you're still struggling
Depending on the severity of your worry, you might want to speak to a doctor and see if you have a mental health condition, as advanced anxiety can be very debilitating in some cases. You can consult with your doctor as they can potentially prescribe something to fix it. Counselling can also be effective in addressing worries about work, as it can help you get to the root of the problem.
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