What is Anxiety

Anxiety happens at any time, to anyone. So what is anxiety?

It is the feeling of unease, worry or fear, which can impact on daily activities and life.

Currently, there is no reliable evidence indicating what causes anxiety and if it is a genetic issue. However, factors relating to childhood trauma, bullying, poor workplace experience and other stress triggers can cause anxiety.

If persistent, it can be a sign of an anxiety disorder known as Generalised Anxiety Disorder, affecting around 5.9% of adults in England.

Going to work with anxiety is something that many people have to deal with. The number of work-related anxiety, depression and stress in 2017/18 was 595,000. Therefore, it is essential to know what it is and to know how to manage workplace anxiety.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

Anxiety can impact on your mental and physical behaviour, all of which can make doing the simplest of tasks, difficult. Below are symptoms caused by anxiety.

  • Heart palpitations

  • Shortness of breath

  • Feeling on edge

  • Sweaty palms

  • Restless

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Unable to make cohesive decisions

  • Stuttering

What causes work anxiety?

If you are already living with a diagnosed anxiety condition or experiencing it for the first time, some experiences at work can cause or make work anxiety worse, such as:

  • Poor relationships with co-workers

  • Unfair treatment and/or workplace bullying

  • High amounts of pressure to do well and complete tasks

  • Tight deadlines

  • Overworked

Dealing with work anxiety

Learning how to work with anxiety instead of fighting against it will make your days far more manageable. Here’s how:


  • Accept that it’s there - Many try to avoid talking or accepting mental disorders only due to not physically seeing it. In essence, when you begin to recognise the anxiety, knowing how to deal with it becomes less resistful.


  • Communicate with co-workers and your supervisor - Discussing your anxiety can open up opportunities to create plans which accommodate your well-being.


  • Make achievable deadlines - If you have an upcoming project or have several tasks to juggle, try and not panic. Instead, create a simple to-do list that tackles them one by one.


  • Avoid caffeine - Companies may have the luxury of a coffee machine; however, avoid caffeine. Coffee will increase your heart rate and make you feel worse.


  • Yoga - Practising yoga day and night can help elevate levels of anxiety and prepares your mind for the day ahead.


  • Meditation - Taking a 5 to 10 minute meditation session can help focus on your well-being and declutter any thoughts.


  • Concentrate on breathing - If you begin to feel short of breath, take a minute and focus on inhaling and exhaling slowly. If that does not work, calmly walk away from the situation into a quiet area and inform a co-worker.


  • Repeat - Take each day as it comes and do not neglect your mental health.

New-job anxiety?

Congratulations! You’ve got the job, and most likely, you are full of adrenaline and joy. As the first-day approaches, a profound sense of fear washes over you; this is new job anxiety. Remember, this is perfectly natural, despite the horrible feelings and worries that flush through your mind. Take these approaches to manage new work anxiety, and you will soon settle into your role.

Get plenty of sleep the night before

Undoubtedly, one of the symptoms of anxiety is difficulty sleeping. Nonetheless, there are ways to achieve this.

  • Set your alarm and put your phone to one side

  • Exercise or meditate before you go to bed

  • Prepare everything the night before, so you do not have to rush in the morning

  • Prepare light and easy meals for your body to digest

Remember, they choose you for the position!

Anxiety can cause negative reflection upon yourself, however out of a pool of candidates you were the one chosen for your skillset and the good impression you made of yourself.

Treat yourself like a sponge, ready to soak in all the new information!

Starting a new job is an opportunity to learn everything about your role and to understand your daily tasks. Therefore, do not put unnecessary pressure on yourself!

Meet all of your co-workers

Remembering the names of your new co-workers is no straightforward objective, although it is worth knowing who you will be working with. They will like to leave a good impression on you too and most likely offer their help and time to assist.

Write everything down

Bring a notepad and pen (unless the company provides them) and write down all the new information coming your way! Including login credentials, names of contact persons, and daily tasks.

Jobs not advised for people with social anxiety and general anxiety disorder

Sometimes the thought of working in a highly friendly environment is a dread. However, anxiety does not define you and will not put you off from working.

Nonetheless, knowing what jobs to not apply for will make your experience more worthwhile.


  • Call centre
  • Sales Assistant in high traffic stores
  • Events, bar work and restaurants
  • Services

Anxiety And Mental Health

Anxiety and mental health is something we all suffer with at some point in our lives. Remember, having anxiety is not a burden. Being open and honest about your mental health is good and productive for you.

Anxiety is a horrid thing that can keep you up at night, that causes you to overthink things and dwell on the negatives. We will be frank, anxiety sucks. But finding the right treatment and changing your lifestyle can help you manage those days when you just can’t even.

Maybe you’re suffering from burnout, perhaps you need to address your work-life balance. Making small positive changes to your lifestyle may help reduce work anxiety attacks and even help with potential burnout issues.

We can’t stress (no pun intended) this enough, anxiety and your mental health do not define you! Onwards and upwards, folks!

All about well-being at work