Dealing with Stress and Anxiety at Work

By Freelance Contributor | Strong Female Leaders

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Dealing with Stress and Anxiety at Work
While every woman is unique and responds to anxiety in her own way, we all have one thing in common. We all experience stress at work. Some of us deal with occasional work tasks that make us anxious. Others can’t seem to break the cycle of chronic, long-term stress at the office. Here are seven tips for dealing with stress and anxiety at work.
1. Set Professional Goals
As we look at a successful business such as Amazon it’s easy to think that we can be all things to all people. After all, Amazon sells everything from clothing to groceries through its online and physical affiliated stores. However, we have to remember that Amazon began its journey to retail super-stardom as a niche outlet for online book sales. Its goals were very focused, and Amazon would likely not be the household name that it is today without such strategic constraints in place.

Strategic professional goals are what you need to weather all types of storms at work. Work goals give you a roadmap for career success and help you to avoid taking on tasks that don’t support your professional growth. Instead of worrying about pouring your energy into low-impact activities you can celebrate doing an excellent job on tasks that move you towards career success.

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2. Prioritize Personal Care
Official research caught up with what we’ve known for decades. Women experience more work-related stress than their male counterparts. According to Dr. Judith Mohring the lead consultant psychiatrist at Priory Wellbeing Centre in London, the pressure is particularly intense for women aged 35 to 44 who take care of children and aging parents. While career and family are important parts of your life, the response to this type of overwhelming stress may be to take better care of yourself.

Self care begins with a healthy dietary lifestyle and a consistent exercise routine. The Standard American Diet is filled with junk foods that provide loads of calories and very little nutrients. When you replace those foods with low-calorie, nutrient-dense meals such as huge leafy green salads, blended smoothies, and cinnamon-spiced overnight oats, you’ll have more energy to do the things that you love and those that you don’t. Getting regular, heart-pumping exercise is also a great stress buster. Exercise releases endorphins that help you to better manage stress. By combining regular exercise, a clean diet, and occasional vacations, you’ll effectively manage work-related stress and look great doing it.

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3. Make a Friend at Work
The complaint that work makes me anxious is a common one for many career-oriented women. As working women, we’re stressed enough to need a vacation, but we’re often too anxious to take one for fear of being undermined by cut-throat colleagues and managers. If you’re in this situation, it’s time to make at least one like-minded friend in your office.

While this ally can’t realistically do all of your work while you’re sunning yourself on an overseas beach, she can have your back in the office when questions arise about your work assignments. She can fill you in on any impromptu meetings that happened while you were away, and alert you with a quick text message if there’s something important that you need to look at in your inbox. You’ll agree to do the same thing for her when she needs a vacation, time off to care for a sick child, or an afternoon away to take an elderly parent to a doctor’s appointment.

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4. Look the Part You Want to Play
Sexism undoubtedly still exists in many offices, and some power players still get a kick out of reinforcing the glass ceiling. However, many of us undermine ourselves by not looking the part that we want to play in the workforce. Whether we like it or not, outward appearances matter. While wearing leggings may make you feel as comfortable as if you were working in your living room, those clothing items may send the entirely wrong message to corporate colleagues who are responsible for hiring, firing, and promotions. Budgeting for quality, classic clothing items is the solution to this dilemma.

If you weren’t blessed with business fashion sense, ask for help. When you see a particularly polished sister at work, ask her where she picked up that fabulous blouse, suit, or coat. Go to that store to talk to one of the retail assistants there. Explain to them that you need a polished look for work that’s made up of classic pieces that you can mix and match. These fashionistas will often help you to achieve the look that you’re after and alert you to new clothing arrivals that’ll keep your style fresh.

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5. Pray
Sometimes you need more than retail therapy when working with depression and anxiety. Chronic, prolonged stress in the workplace leads to headaches, digestive issues, and heart trouble. If you’re experiencing these side-effects of dealing with stress and anxiety at work, it’s time to break out the big guns and pray.

Significant amounts of scientific research findings point to prayer as a key stress buster and healing agent. Dr. Harold Koenig, associate professor of medicine and psychiatry at Duke University, cited in his research that people of faith who prayed had hope during stressful situations. He said that hope was the ultimate stress eliminator.

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6. Network Beyond Your Office
While working with depression and anxiety in your office, you may forget to look around and see other opportunities that are better for your situation. As soon as you get your head above water, it’s time to look for a range of networking opportunities to put on your calendar. Events such as industry conferences, charity dinners, and trade association meetings offer ideal ways to meet other up-and-coming stars in your career field.

By developing relationships with these people, you’ll get insider tips for side-stepping common career potholes. You’ll also be one of the first to know about new positions at other firms. When job qualifications for positions in your career path become more stringent, you’ll get early notifications about the changes. This allows you to prepare for those changes at a pace that’s less stressful for you.

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7. Be a Life-Long Learner
Many women are stressed at work because they lack decision-making authority over their work activities. That’s the drawback of working for a company versus running your own business. However, there is a way to get more control over your work activities without becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur. Get educated.

Keeping your knowledge and skills sharp make you a more valuable asset to your employer and other employers in your industry. If you’re worried that you’ll get stuck doing mundane tasks for years while your peers move on to more thought-provoking work, seek out continuous education courses. Earn certifications in a high-demand functional area in which you have a professional interest such as cybersecurity, data analysis, or financial planning.

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Parting Words
While moments of work-related stress can spur you to greater levels of achievement, chronic stress has a negative impact on your physical and mental health when left unchecked. When stressed, ask yourself why work makes me anxious. Some workplace stressors are out of your control, and you’ll need to rely on your fight or flight senses to survive and thrive. Pick your battles. Whether you choose to leave that office or to stay, know that you’re more valuable than any workplace.
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[ End of Article ]

[ Disclaimer: this article includes affiliate links.]

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