The problem with anxiety is that it’s irrational. You know you shouldn’t have fear or nervousness about a particular thing, and yet it’s there anyway, often preventing you from reaching your full potential.
Work anxiety isn’t any different. You determine that you want to start a project of your own or something you have to do for your job, and then you realize that you can’t. You can make a hundred excuses for it, but the fact is, you’re terrified about doing something that needs to be done.
Work anxiety is the general fear or nervousness you experience about working on something. That something can be either work for your job, your side hustle, or just a creative pursuit.
When you get work anxiety, you may feel unmotivated to work, no matter what you try. You may also question whether doing the work will even make a difference.
Obviously you know that doing the work will make you feel better, and will improve your situation, but you can’t force yourself to do it.
Work anxiety usually results from a lack of confidence. A distorted feeling of self-worth can easily translate into whatever work you produce. If you feel like you’re not worth anything, how can your work amount to anything?
This often leads to procrastination, which only worsens the situation. You start to feel guilty and even more worthless because you haven’t worked. And just because life is unfair, this has the contradictory effect of making you even less able to overcome your anxiety.
I’ve felt that way too! I’d like to share with you 4 actions I take to ease and sometimes even alleviate my work anxiety.
1. Set valuable boundaries to avoid stress and worry
This was (and sometimes still is) one of the biggest things that I struggled with. It’s easy as small business owners to feel as though we need to be on the clock all the time. And I’ve certainly felt that if I wasn’t, I would be letting down clients.
But the truth is, if we’re on the clock all the time, we’ll become stressed, anxious, and burned out. It’s reasonable and healthy to set appropriate boundaries, even (and especially!) when you own your own business.
2. Create a “safe space” that you can use if you’re hit with anxiety
Find an activity that you love to do, that is relaxing and can take your mind off of things if you feel as though anxiety is taking over. This could be a favorite show, an adult coloring book, or the latest novel you’ve been dying to read.
And if you’re not in a position to be able to do any of those things, take a few moments to focus on something relaxing and peaceful.
3. Make a list of things you’ve accomplished
If I ever feel anxiety related to my self-confidence or accomplishments, I’ll sit down and make a list of the things that I’ve done. The clients I’m working with, the amount that my business has grown, even the places that I’ve been able to travel.
Sometimes it’s just necessary to remind yourself of all of the blessings that you have and that things that you’ve been able to accomplish.
4. Find a great accountability partner
Finding someone to hold you accountable is one of the most important things you can do as a business owner, especially if you have anxiety. I always recommend that you find someone who’s in a life place that you want to be in, so they can help guide you towards that same place.
Choose someone that fits well with your personality. For example, I need an accountability partner that is encouraging, rather than one that might push me too hard (I do that enough to myself!). You might need someone a little different.
But I know you’ll find that having someone to celebrate successes with you, walk you through situations that you’re unsure about, and provide a gentle reminder when you get off track is a huge help.
Work anxiety doesn’t have to keep preventing you from reaching your potential. If you’re experiencing work anxiety, try some of the things on the list above. They can help you stay motivated, and focus on your work.
Remember though, that a common root cause of work anxiety is a lack of confidence. You need to encourage your sense of self-worth, and understand that you are capable, and can produce things worth contributing.