Project deadlines, hurried coworkers, lack of sleep and all those other finicky tasks that have been lurking on your to do list for weeks on end, can create anxiety like nothing else.
Anxiety seems to be a common trait among many millennial workers.
While we can’t control demanding bosses, coworkers who always seem to be in crisis, or the impact projects have on the success of our careers, there’s plenty of ways we can control how we can become proactive instead of reactive with our work.
1. Lay off the caffeine
It seems that many of us are stuck in an endless cycle of stress, consume caffeine, work, stress more, don’t sleep, consume caffeine. While I don’t advocate kicking the habit completely, caffeine has a long half life in our systems and can do more harm than good when consumed in mass amounts. Knock down your habit to 1 or 2 cups in the morning and then consume water for the rest of the day instead. If you’re like me, you may enjoy that afternoon sweet treat of a iced coffee, so switch to decaf as a better alternative at first. You may get crazy looks from your friends, but at least you won’t like one of those crazed hyenas from The Lion King while you’re cranking out those last minute tasks before you leave the office for the day.
2. Sit down and write out to understand exactly what is causing your anxiety
A lot of times we make projects and deadlines to be bigger and scarier than they really are. What’s giving you anxiety about the project? Is it that you don’t have enough information? Are you uncomfortable with a software that you need to use to complete it? Do you lack the space to focus? Has it been too long since you’ve rested and had time to just play? Is it just too much to get done in too little time? This isn’t an exercise about giving excuses, it’s about being aware of the root of your emotions and what’s causing them. This can help you find solutions to your anxiety and seek out help, resources or more information, if needed.
3. Understand that this too, shall pass
Anxiety can make it seem like an issue is ongoing, never ending and that you’ll never be on the other side of things. That’s actually not true. In 5 years, there’s a 99% chance you won’t be doing exactly what you are doing now, but something much, much different. Now is a good time as ever to give it your all, do your best, but remember that work is just that – work. It’s only a small facet of who you really are. Failures, when handled well, create success and hard work in the right spaces of life can help you accomplish those great, big goals.
4. Talk it out with someone
It may feel strange asking a coworker to sit down and talk through things, but more often than not, you might find that they have solutions and may be experiencing the same anxiety too. In a professional setting, it’s more than ok to sit down and ask for a coworkers feedback on all the projects and deadlines you’re juggling. In fact, it’s often highly encouraged by good leadership and shows healthy collaboration with teams. If not a coworker, grab coffee with a trusted friend and go over all that you’re juggling to see what they think. Sometimes, a pair of eyes and ears that are outside of a business can see things that you and your team don’t and brainstorm solutions you would have never thought of.
Managing stress is a skill that is learned over time, but one of the best skills you can learn early on in your career. Stress wears on the body, mind and soul and is a tool Satan often uses to carry us away from our calling and the work we were created to do. However, fear is a natural part of the process of growth when we step out of our comfort zones. As 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”