Anxiety at Work: COVID and Beyond

anxiety covid-19 work Mar 31, 2020

With all the chaos and recent changes influencing our lives, organizations and teams are experiencing unprecedented challenges to their efficiency, synergy, and overall well-being. There are so many things currently out of our control.  This can make existing anxiety worse or cause new anxiety to surface. Anxiety at work is a real possibility.

How can you take ownership of your mental health and ensure your work remains productive and successful? How can you manage your anxiety in this scary time?

It can be a lot, I know. We’ve got you. I sat down in a recent episode of the Build High Performing Teams Podcast to talk with Richie Burke. He’s a business owner, podcast host and like me, has anxiety. These are the highlights from our time together.

Leveraging these four strategies can help you minimize anxiety and maximize your impact during times of change. We’ve linked to some great resources for each of the strategies and if you want more, click here for the complete (FREE) guide.

SEEK HELP: Plug your gaps with others’ strengths

You may feel pressure to do it all and do it now. (Uh, hello working remote AND being the world’s best homeschool teacher?!) STOP. What you’re best at during normal times may not be the same during this time of change and unknowns.

For me, I’m normally a strategic and futuristic leader, but with so many unknowns I have to give that type of work a rest. Instead I’m focusing on leveraging strengths like maximizer that helps me take things that are already good and make them great.

What areas of strength can you let rest right now? Which strengths can you leverage?

Resources to play to your strengths:

BUILD A ROUTINE: Establish a rhythm that puts you in a good state of mind

Everyone is pushing you to build a schedule or routine for your new virtual work and there’s good reason to listen. I first got excited about the idea of more structure in my day when I had my twins nine years ago. Not only was it a lot to manage, but even as newborns a structure and rhythm helps humans relax.

It’s not only important to construct how you will work. You should also consider when. What time of day you are at your best. I’m a morning person. In fact, when I was a senior leader in corporate America, the recruiting team knew not to put an interview on my calendar past 2 pm. If they did, it was almost certainly going to be a “NO!”

Resources to set you up for a positive routine:

CHANGE IT UP: New times may call for new habits and people

By viewing life in “seasons,” we give ourselves permission to see what may have changed in our life, how we’ve grown, what’s expected now and how you want to live/work. And if we were ever in a time of a new season, it’s now!

Give yourself permission to explore what this new season means for your life, your work and what’s next. Exciting things can, and will, happen if you’re intentional.

Resources for a new season:

  • Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, provides the needed motivation to dig deeper.
  • Setting boundaries with others may require a few difficult conversations, but these tips will help.

LIMIT TRIGGERS: Triggers can be what causes the anxiety or what can make it worse

It’s great to get to the root causes of where your anxiety comes from or what triggers it now. This is a process that requires time and could require the support of a trained professional counselor or therapist. I’ve had major breakthroughs in my own journey by leveraging numerous types of therapists during key points.

In the mean time, work on understanding the triggers that may pop-up during the day. This is especially true as many of us have been transitioned into sudden remote work. Given that it’s a time of stress and change, we may get triggered – aka “annoyed” – by things others are doing. It could be a co-worker’s habit of eating on a Zoom call or our spouse’s approach to organizing the cabinets.

Your triggers don’t have to make sense. The key is to identify what they are so you can avoid them or work through them. Here are two of our favorite resources to help build understanding:

I’m rooting for you!

It may be tough times, but we’re tough too. Keep at it and please reach out if there’s anything we can do to support you right now. And we’ll be hoping for “your best next” too!

If you want even more resources, be sure to grab the complete free guide, Anxiety at Work: A Guide for Covid-19 and Beyond.

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