How to Step Away from Work Anxiety

Skylar Wooden and Katie Butler

March 11, 2018

My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne. -Tina Fey Bossypants

Tell us if this sounds familiar: You’re are at the computer and, suddenly, you feel a panic attack coming on. It hasn’t hit yet, but still, there you are, frozen, afraid that you might do something to fully trigger those anxious feelings you try desperately to avoid.

Your anxiety may be lighter or heavier than what we’ve described. It all depends on how you and your body react to stress and anxiety. So, how do you handle that?

When we find ourselves in that moment, we have a few tricks up our sleeves.

Drink Tea: Choose Wisely!

There are certain days when you just know today’s going to be rough. Those are the days we break out the tea. Admittedly, we drink tea on a daily basis, but choosing the right one is the key. Knowing what your body needs out of the tea, is more important than the tea itself.

For example, if you haven’t eaten much and you’re feeling anxious, a highly caffeinated tea, like earl gray, will shoot your anxiety through the roof. In this case, you’d turn to a calming tea like Yogi Stress Relief, matcha, camomile, or lavender; and really any herbal tea.

Image of Stress Relief Tea

Conversely, if you need an energy push to feel more productive and less anxious, a Yogi Perfect Energy tea or any black tea will do the trick. (Make sure you’ve eaten!)

Take a Breath

Recognizing where the anxiety is coming from is the first step. Is it work stress getting to you? Or have you been obsessing over something completely different?

If it’s work: Get away from your desk, away from that email, away from that coworker. Take a breath. Go for a quick walk outside. Grab a coffee. Steal a moment in the bathroom. Whatever fits you best. Just take a moment to breath.

If it’s personal: Go find a private place. Write out what’s bothering you in a paragraph or list in a notebook. Promise yourself that you’ll revisit that problem after work, while you’re doing a more relaxing activity. Think of this thought as a tangible being that jumped on a ship and floated away. It’ll come back, but not before your work is done.

See also: Three Ways to Implement Self Care Now

Talking it Out

When tea and stepping away doesn’t do the trick, sometimes we have to talk it out. Whether this is licensed therapy or talking it through with your mom, your significant other, or your best friend, sometimes all you need if for someone to hear how you’re feeling.

Our favorite kind of therapy is spending the night talking and sipping wine, but a phone call on the commute home will do in a pinch.

Image of Stress Relief Tea

As for the people who feel embarrassed about attending therapy: it works miracles. Never feel bad about finding help for yourself. The empowering feeling you get from taking your emotional health into your own hands is like nothing else.

See also: Ten Steps to Mastering Work-Life Balance

Grounding Exercises

Skylar’s own experience with therapy taught her a few things about coping with anxiety. This is by no means professional advice, as she is in no way qualified to administer any type of therapy. But…this one grounding exercise has done wonders for her.

A grounding exercise is a way to orient your mind; to get back in touch with yourself when you’re seemingly swimming in toxic thoughts.

Sit in a quiet place. Take deep breaths. Close your eyes.

Picture yourself in a beautiful location growing roots from the bottom of your feet deep, deep into the ground. All the way to the earth’s core. Really concentrate on how the roots wind down. Be mindful of your breathing and relaxation.

Keep breathing deeply. Continue as long as you feel necessary.

How do you keep calm through anxiety at work?

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