Posted on: August 23, 2021 | Julie Winn If you’re experiencing spiking levels of work anxiety and stress, you’re not alone. Many employees report suffering from persistent anxiety that impacts their ability to function at work and at home. We all get the ‘Sunday Scaries’ from time to time — that moment on Sunday when you stop enjoying your weekend and start stressing about what the workweek will bring. But if your work anxiety is lasting a lot longer than Sunday evening and beginning to take over your life and stopping you from being able to enjoy your time away from work, it might be time to seek help. The good news is that the experienced and skilled staff at Highland Springs has helped countless clients learn new ways to manage and combat stress and anxiety. What is Work Anxiety? Work anxiety is stress that is caused by work that leads to anxiety. It can also refer to the impact of an anxiety disorder at work. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, while only nine percent of Americans are living with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, 40 percent experience ongoing stress or anxiety in their daily lives. Let’s take a look at a few other quick facts about work anxiety: 72 percent of people who experience daily stress and anxiety say it interferes with their lives in at least a moderate way. 30 percent of people who experience daily stress have taken prescription medicine to manage stress, emotional problems, lack of sleep, and nervousness. 28 percent report having had an anxiety or panic attack. Work anxiety can impact every aspect of work life. Employees report anxiety impacting their: Workplace performance (56%) Quality of work (50%) Relationships with co-workers (51%) Relationships with superiors (43%) But the impact of work anxiety is not left at the office every night. More than three-fourths of people who report stress interfering with work say it also carries over into their personal life. This is particularly true among men — 83% of men vs. 72% of women. Signs of Work Anxiety Signs of work anxiety present themselves differently in each person. But, there are some common symptoms, including: Excessive and/or irrational worrying Feeling jittery Shaking or trembling Pounding/racing heart Difficulty falling or staying asleep Tiredness or fatigue Feeling as if there is a lump in your throat Exaggerated startle reaction Dry mouth Sweating In addition to these symptoms, there are a few others to look out for if you believe you or a loved one is experiencing work anxiety. They are: Suddenly taking an unusual amount of time off work Focusing entirely on the negative aspects of the job Overreacting to situations at work Struggling to concentrate or complete tasks on time Causes of Work Anxiety Studies have found that the most common causes of work anxiety are: Deadlines (55%) Interpersonal relationships (53%) Staff management (50%) Dealing with issues as they arise (49%) In addition to those top-reported causes of work anxiety, there are many others. Since we spend so much of our time at work, it can become overwhelming when things don’t go our way. If any of the following issues are causing you to constantly feel anxious at work, contact Highland Springs: Dealing with bullying or conflicts at work Difficulty meeting deadlines Difficulty maintaining relationships with your co-workers Difficulty managing staff You are working long hours Your boss is demanding You are experiencing a workload that is overly high There is a lack of direction on tasks You are experiencing a lack of perception of fairness You feel a lack of control over the work environment Our staff is dedicated to finding personalized anxiety treatment for all of our patients. Our team will work with you to develop a custom treatment plan to teach you new, effective ways to reduce workplace anxiety and reclaim your life. Coping with Work Anxiety Chronic, untreated work anxiety takes a toll on multiple aspects of life. Let’s go over some of the most common work anxiety — which can happen in the workplace and at home: You start experiencing reduced job performance and quality of work. Your job satisfaction drops. You are seeing the effects manifest in your relationships with coworkers and superiors. You notice effects in your personal life, at home, in your personal relationships, including with your partner. You develop problems with concentration, fatigue, irritability, and reduced productivity. You start turning down opportunities because of phobias. Reduced confidence in your skills and abilities. Feeling as if what you do does not make a difference. Reduced goal-setting, ambition, and achievement. You take fewer risks and become complacent. You feel isolated. You develop clinical levels of anxiety. You experience reduced social skills and ability to function within your team. How do I Stop Anxiety at Work? The above symptoms cannot continue long before they start to cause serious issues. The good news is there are some strategies to help manage and stop work anxiety, including: Taking breaks throughout the day to talk to somebody if you feel anxious. This can be your boss, a trusted co-worker, friend, or therapist. Stay away from people who ‘stir the pot’ and aggravate your work anxiety. Use self-help techniques to calm yourself down. Avoid unhelpful coping strategies like alcohol, drugs, and binge eating. Making time for yourself away from work (and don’t check emails or do other work-related tasks during your off time!) Practice time management. Use to-do lists to help you prioritize your work. The calendar is the anxious worker’s best friend. Make sure you take some time each day to plan out your day in time blocks to prevent stress from mounting over missed deadlines and appointments. Being able to clearly see what appointments and deadlines you have approaching will allow you to effectively plan and prepare. Ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s nothing wrong with asking a co-worker to chip in or take a few tasks off your hands. Set boundaries in order to not bring work home with you, including not checking email or voicemail after hours and doing at least one thing for yourself (even as simple as cooking breakfast) in the morning before hopping on to email or meetings. Pick up a new hobby to find something else to focus on. Take your lunch break! (And leave the office to switch up the scenery) Take your PTO days! Go for walks to get some fresh air when possible. Get a gratitude journal and start writing things you are grateful for when work anxiety begins to overwhelm you. Live a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and limit caffeine and alcohol. Having a healthy and rested mind and body will help you handle challenging situations. Attend therapy. Finding a licensed therapist who you can trust is a powerful tool for combating work anxiety. Your therapist will listen to you vent and work with you to find healthy ways to cope and manage the work stress and anxiety. Group therapy is also available to connect with people in the same boat as you. Telling Your Employer About Work Anxiety If you are experiencing work anxiety, you may be wondering whether or not you should tell your employer. It’s important to know that if you have a disorder, you have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). So, although your anxiety may be telling you that your boss will fire you if they find out about your constant stress and worrying, under the ADA, your employer cannot fire you simply because your anxiety is preventing you from performing “non-essential” tasks. If stress at work is causing your anxiety, it’s essential to know that it will not resolve on its own. You may be nervous about sharing with your boss as it may lead to you being perceived as weak or being overlooked for opportunities, but the truth is, most employers will be extremely helpful and will work with you to help find a solution that gets you back to working optimally and achieving a work-life balance. If you’re an employer, it’s imperative that you create an environment where employees are comfortable sharing issues with you and creating a safe space for employees to seek help. Here’s what we recommend for helping employees with work anxiety: First and foremost, treat all employees with respect and offer open communication. Talk to employees about private/sensitive matters behind closed doors. Ask employees how things are going in general instead of tackling work anxiety right out of the gate. Give your employees time to answer while you try to see things from their perspective. How Highland Springs Can Help Being overloaded at work is a common struggle, and it’s important to know that you are not alone and help is available. Highland Springs is operated by experienced and licensed mental health professionals. Our staff specializes in multiple facets of behavioral health, which is why we are able to provide well-rounded treatment to people of all ages and backgrounds. Our staff’s mission is to provide hope, help, and healing from the moment our clients walk into our door through the completion of treatment. With multiple behavioral health centers across the Intermountain West, our goal is to be as accessible as possible. If you are experiencing mounting work anxiety that is seeping into all aspects of your life, contact Highland Springs today. What Highland Springs Programs Are We offer many programs at Highland Springs for stress and anxiety, including: Private work anxiety treatment — Our anxiety treatment takes a mind/body/spirit approach where we actively involve our clients throughout the entire course of counseling. Our work anxiety therapists administer a treatment combination of medication, psychotherapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. EMDR therapy for work anxiety treatment — EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that has been proven highly effective for a variety of anxiety disorders. The staff at Highland Springs has found success in EMDR Therapy for our clients. During EMDR, a therapist guides their client with a bar of light that pulses based on the client’s own rapid, rhythmic eye movement. This method has been proven to help clients uncover and process past traumatic events, so they can begin the healing process. Telehealth — It seems as if everything has gone remote these days, and therapy is no different. We understand that we live in unprecedented times and recognize how important it is for our clients to have access to therapy no matter the circumstances. This is why we offer telehealth therapy services where we assist our clients in healing from anxiety using the state-of-the-art technology that allows us to offer the treatment you need no matter where you are via video sessions and Telehealth therapy. We also offer medication delivery through our ValleyRX program to ensure we are able to reach every client with the medication they need for their mental health through these difficult times. “With multiple behavioral health centers across the Intermountain West that offer in-person and telehealth appointments, our goal is to be as accessible as possible. If you are experiencing mounting work anxiety that is seeping into all aspects of your life, contact Highland Springs today.” Julie WinnJulie Winn, LCSW completed her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and her Masters’ Degree in Social Worker at the University of Utah with an emphasis in Child Welfare and Trauma. After completing her Masters, she joined Valley Behavioral Health in 2014 as a Therapist at the KIDS Day Treatment Program where she provided individual and group psychotherapy for children and teens with severe behavioral or mental health issues. After receiving her LCSW license, Julie was promoted to Attending Clinicians of the Children Day Treatment Program. She became the Clinical Director of Children services in early 2018 and promoted to the Senior Clinical Director in October 2018 where she oversaw many programs and services at Valley and Highland Springs. In December 2020 Julie moved to the operations team and is the current Regional Operations Director-Expansion Services, Julie oversees the operations at Highland Springs Specialty Clinics in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona, Children, youth and family division, ValleyFIT, and the Care Navigation Team.