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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

7 Simple Ways to Cope with Stress at Work and Stop Worrying

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7 Simple Ways to Cope with Stress at Work and Stop Worrying

The internet today is booming with posts promoting work-for-self, work-from-home, and living your passion and purpose. Quite frankly, the spike in this content has good merits! We are fed up with the stress and demands that are placed on us by other people and the companies that we work for.

According to the American Institute of Stress, numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.[1]

Blueprints, step-by-step guides, and road maps are taking over Pinterest and every social media platform regarding this new way of living. However, what about everyone who is still living and dealing with the current stress and worries at work?

How can we healthfully deal with our 9-5 jobs and leave the office feeling refreshed and energized after we put in our 8 hours? I am here to tell you that it is possible and relatively easy to not only cope with stress at work but make a difference and fulfill your passions anywhere you work!

Here are a few really simple ways for coping with stress at work and STOP worrying.

1. Identify and Take Back Control of Your Stress

Sometimes, we bulk our stress and worry into a broad category of “I HATE MY JOB” when in all reality, there are only a handful of things that are causing us grief.

Get specific – What are your top 3 worries & stressors at work?

Get clear and investigate why these are causing so much angst.

For instance, it is probably not all administration and/or your boss’s fault that you are stressed out, worried, and dreading work (don’t give them too much credit). When we put all of our blame on someone or something out of our control, then we have no power to change it (no power = STRESS)!

The best way to gain power over a stressful situation is to reverse the complaint, worry, or problem to something that YOU can change.

Does that mean that you blame yourself when it’s not your fault? Absolutely not!

But you MUST put yourself in the driver’s seat so that you can change the stressful situation.

Once you are clear on what is causing your heart palpitation’s and night sweats (I have had them), then you control the situation by taking any complaint or blame and turn it into a SOLUTION.

Your boss is unfair and never gives you the day off when you request it? (Total jerk move, by the way!)

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How are you currently requesting off? If you are requesting off electronically, could you make the request personal and far in advance so that end result is what you desire?

Complaining that your boss is a jerk will make you feel better in the moment but, it isn’t going to give you the solution that you really want. And by complaining, you are giving up ALL control.

When we feel in control of what we want, the majority of our stress is released. It is when we feel out of control that we worry!

2. An Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude is the freeway to happiness and contentment. There is no room for worry, stress, or negativity when we are in a thankful mindset.

When you begin to feel stressed at work, when the workload keeps piling up and it seems like nothing will ever get done… Take a minute to breathe deeply, close your eyes, and whisper thank you to the first thing that pops into your mind.

Thank you for today, thank you for the security this job provides, thank you for the breakroom coffee, thank you for anything you can think of!

The combination of a quiet moment and an attitude of gratitude can turn your whole day around and it is the perfect cocktail for comfort and relaxation!

3. Identify Your Weaknesses

We all have them and most of us avoid them. But it is so important to come to terms on what we can change and improve.

When we are able to improve our downfalls, then we can only progress forward.

Never accept your weaknesses as a part of your DNA and/or character. Weaknesses are only temporary if we work to improve them.

When we accept them, then they become ingrained in us and will forever hold us down. Don’t let that happen!

Get comfortable with failures and embrace your weaknesses. Never be afraid of asking powerful questions because the more that you know the more places you’ll go! (Love you, Dr. Seuss!)

Identify the areas at work that could use some improvement and then brush up in this area. Find ways to grow and learn!

New research from LinkedIn finds that people who genuinely enjoy their jobs have one thing in common:[2]

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“They make time to learn on the job. The LinkedIn research surveyed about 2,000 professionals. They found that employees who spend time learning at work are 47% less likely to be stressed”

Take a professional development course to become an expert in your area of weakness. Ask questions to someone in the office with more expertise in this particular area (they will most likely be happy to help). This will help to build your confidence and confidence kicks stress’s butt every time!

As a takeaway, never shy away or hide from your weaknesses. Instead, embrace them to gain confidence and leave worry in the dust!

4. Identify Your Strengths

Up next, ask yourself: What are my top 10 strengths?

Don’t be modest and name them all. I actually encourage you to name your top 50 strengths because I know that we all have them.

Circle the strengths that are unique to you and use this edge at work to amaze people.

Don’t just fit in at work – stand out! Better yet, pick a strength that is unique and that you are passionate about and you will leave work feeling refreshed!

By expanding your skill set, in both your strong and weak areas, creates intelligence and confidence. Both are great for combating stress and worry!

5. Prioritize and Revitalize

What is a necessity this week? Deadlines, meetings, paperwork?

Prioritize by when it needs to be done and, next to the task write down an estimated time of how long it will take to complete.

Calculate the total of time it will take you to accomplish these necessities and, then carve out 10% of your day to REVITALIZE. No one can work all day and give it their all without a reset.

What is it that gets you into the zone, what energizes you? Add restoration breaks in your day.

For me, lunch with my coworkers doesn’t restore me in the least bit. Often times, the conversations that go on at work bring me down in the dumps and drain my energy.

On my restoration breaks, I listen to a motivational video, turn out the lights, journal, walk, go outside and plan my future, make lists of how I am going to accomplish my next goal.

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I can’t stress enough how important these are to the soul. Add SOUL RESTORATION into your schedule!!

Your boss/employer will appreciate all of the extra energy you have when you come back from this break.

6. To Do ListSSS (Yes, 3 S’s for 3 Lists!)

This is nice because it piggybacks off of your priority list. What absolutely needs to get done today and how long will the task take?

When you arrive at work and you are comfortable in your chair, grab 3 pieces of paper, a pen, and a sharpie. Take a deep breath, this is your time to organize all of your thoughts and to-dos.

Write down what needs done today, in the order you plan to accomplish it. Most of the time, I even give myself a window of time to complete.

After you have finished a task, cross it out. I love to take a big black sharpie and put a big slash through my completed task (this makes me so happy!)

However, by lunch, my paper looks messy and then that makes my mind messy so it causes me stress. Therefore, I do this thing that really helps me to reduce my stress and it organizes my mind.

I make a new list.

After lunch, write another list. Brand new and fresh. Write down everything else that needs accomplished for the rest of your afternoon.

This is your chance to set your afternoon up for organization and success as opposed to a stressful, scattered mess!

If you didn’t accomplish something in the morning – no big deal. You can put that task on your afternoon list or your list for tomorrow.

A list for tomorrow? Yes, your THIRD list!

At the end of the day, create your final list that consists of what needs to be done for the following day. This strategy will help get you focused and organized for the next day and reduce your worry because it’s on paper and out of your mind. This will also help you the following morning to give you an idea of how to structure your day.

Anyway that we can organize our minds and structure our day for efficiency is a sure way of reducing stress and worry in the workplace!

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7. Stay Away from the Negative Nancy Squad

Have you ever worked somewhere with negativity?

Have you experienced something similar to this: You begin a new job and the Negative Nancy Zombies come with their Frankenstein arms to greet you.They make sure to tell you who to stay away from, that the cafeteria food is awful, all of the affairs in the office, and how you’ll probably end up working late for the next 100 years of your life. They reassure you, however, if you stick with them that you’ll be just fine…

I am here to tell you that it is BULL-OGNA!

Don’t fall into this trap! Don’t be a part of this soul sucking practice.

The Negative Nancy squad is burned out and they need to take a day off to rejuvenate (maybe even take the month off). The squad would probably benefit from this article about the burn out point at work.

Most of the time, the person they tell you to stay away from is awesome, the food is halfway decent, the affair is actually just two people being friendly, and the squad only has to stay late because they are too busy gossiping.

To make a long story short, if you have a good outlook and positive perception, everything in your work environment will look and feel brighter!

Don’t align yourself with or hang out with those type of people. Don’t gossip or assume anything about anyone until you have experienced it first-hand.

We often make things seem worse (more stressful and worrisome) in our minds. The Negative Nancy squad will only enhance these negative emotions. So, find a few positive friends, go out of your way for a few people at work, and maybe even get to know someone new and your social game at work will be great!

Having positive relationships at work will make you feel happier and more secure in your work environment. Positive relationships are great for your health and mind so embrace developing constructive relationships with your coworkers.

Final Thoughts

Make the decision that you are going to enjoy yourself at work. Anything can be made exciting with the right attitude and a little creativity.

Find one or two things to look forward to each day and treat yourself every once in awhile. You deserve to enjoy your work, your life, and the people in it.

Remember that if you are above ground, then it’s a good day and something exciting is always just a mindset shift away!

More About Stress

Featured photo credit: Christian Erfurt via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] The American Institute of Stress: Workplace Stress
[2] Linkedin: Stress at Work Report: Who is Feeling It the Most and How to Combat It

More by this author

Jacqueline Battaglia

Growth Coach, Blogger, and Creator of Life is Duck Soup. My approach will help you get to your next potential level, follow your HAPPY path and enjoy each moment fully.

13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently Nothing Makes You Happy: Here’s Why and What to Do 7 Simple Ways to Cope with Stress at Work and Stop Worrying 3 Steps to Truly Know Your Value and Realize It in Life

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Published on October 15, 2021

Does Anxiety Make You Tired And Why?

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Does Anxiety Make You Tired And Why?

When you think of anxiety, several scenarios may come to mind: the endless tossing and turning of a restless night, dread over potential future events, pandemic-related overwhelm, or full-blown panic attacks. Even if you’re not diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you’ve likely experienced anxiety symptoms at some point in your life. In these situations, you might feel a queasiness in your stomach, racing heartbeat, excessive sweating, chest tightness, some tension in your jaw/neck/shoulders, or worrisome thoughts as you prepare for the worst possible scenario. But does anxiety also make you tired?

After experiencing these symptoms, you may indeed feel fatigued. The sensation could fall anywhere on the exhaustion spectrum, from feeling like you just ran a marathon and need to sleep for two days, to just a little worn down and wanting a quick nap to recover.

Below are 7 ways anxiety zaps your energy and how to restore it.

1. Stress Hormone Overload

Anxiety can make you tired via overloading your body with stress hormones. The “fight or flight” response is a key connection between anxiety and fatigue. In fact, this process is made up of three stages: Alarm, Resistance, and Exhaustion. Anxiety triggers our body systems to go into high alert. This is a natural, involuntary reaction that developed in the human brain for survival.

When humans lived with the real, imminent threat of being attacked by a predator, it made sense for our bodies to spring into action without much preparatory thought. Such dangers are rare in modern times, but our brains continue to respond in the same way they did thousands of years ago.

The hormones and chemicals that flood our bodies to prepare us for safety can both affect and be affected by several body systems, and this interaction itself contributes to exhaustion. Adrenaline and cortisol are the two most notable hormones to address here. First, adrenaline is sent out, tensing the muscles and increasing heart rate and blood pressure in preparation to run. Later in the stress response, cortisol is released, enhancing the brain’s use of glucose. This is one of our main fuel sources, so it’s no wonder this contributes to fatigue (see #2).

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You can regulate baseline levels of these stress hormones by regularly practicing yoga, breathwork, meditation, and/or engaging in aerobic exercise.[1] It’s easier to lean into these routines for relief during stress when you’ve already mastered using them during times when you feel calm.

2. Elevated Blood Sugar Levels

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), which is shown to be associated with anxiety in diabetic patients.[2] Many people who experience hyperglycemia report feeling tired all the time regardless of their quantity or quality of sleep, nutrition, or exercise.

Although this connection has shown more prevalent and prolonged effects in diabetics, it also occurs with nondiabetics exposed to psychiatric stress.[3] In fact, for all people, the natural stress response elevates blood pressure and heart rate as well as cortisol levels, all of which increase blood sugar levels.[4] This means that anxiety causes a double-hit of exhaustion related to blood sugar fluctuations.

Instead of reaching for comfort foods like chocolate during times of stress, take a calming walk around the block. Gentle movement alone is a great stress reliever that incidentally also helps to regulate blood sugars.[5]

3. Negative Mindset

Anxiety can also make you tired because of repetitive negative thinking (RNT), which is a common symptom of anxiety. RNT involves continuous thoughts via rumination (dwelling on sad or dark thoughts focused on the past) and worry (angst regarding the future). Some researchers argue that having a longtime habit of RNT can harm the brain’s capacity to think, reason, and form memories.[6] While the brain is busy using its energy stores to fuel negative thought patterns, the energy available for these other more productive endeavors is thereby reduced.

Negative thoughts can also disrupt or prevent healthy sleep patterns, keeping our minds racing at night and effectively wreaking havoc on daytime energy. (See #7)

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Reduce these patterns by reframing your feelings over anxious thoughts. Instead of staying stuck on “what if,” focus on what you can do in the here and now. What activity can you engage in for five minutes (or more) that brings you joy? What are you grateful for, no matter what’s going on around you?

4. Digestive Issues

It’s common for people to experience both intestinal and mental issues simultaneously. This suggests a strong connection between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which is known as the gut-brain axis.[7] Simply put, what happens in our digestive tract (and as a result of what we eat) affects the brain and vice versa.

The gut microbiota is a complex population of GI tract microorganisms. When its balance is altered, the body can develop conditions that affect the gut-brain-endocrine relationship. The endocrine system produces and manages adrenaline, for starters. And the gut bacteria’s production of feel-good hormones (serotonin and dopamine—see #5) ties into this relationship as well.

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors are also found in gut bacteria. GABA is a natural brain relaxant that makes us feel good by helping the body to unwind after a stress-induced neurotransmitter release (e.g., cortisol and adrenaline). When GABA activity is low, it leads to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and mood disorders. These are just a few of the manifestations that demonstrate how gut bacteria influences behavior. All of these contribute to feeling both physically and mentally tired.

You can minimize the symptoms of depression and anxiety by keeping your gut microbiota balanced with probiotic-rich fermented foods. Yogurt with live cultures, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, kimchi, miso soup, and tempeh are great foods to include in your diet.[8]

5. Depression

Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. Research continues to indicate a complex relationship between depression and decreased serotonin—a key neurotransmitter for regulating mood and feelings of wellbeing and happiness. Anxiety is also a direct symptom of serotonin deficiency. Serotonin helps with healthy sleep, mood, and digestion.

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Serotonin is produced in the gut, almost exclusively, at an estimated 90 percent. However, a small quantity is also produced in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that is pivotal for transmitting energy balance signals. This small cone-shaped structure receives and relays signals transmitted via the vagus nerve from the gastrointestinal tract. It has a central role in mediating stress responses, regulating sleep, and establishing circadian rhythms. It senses and responds to a myriad of circulating hormones and nutrients, directly affecting our mood and energy.[9]

Dopamine is another mood-boosting neurochemical that is depleted in depression. It creates feelings of alertness and wakefulness and, when the body is operating normally, is released in higher amounts in the morning (allowing for daytime energy) and lower at night (preparing for healthy sleep). Stress is one factor that can deplete dopamine, thereby leading to depression, sleep disorders, and fatigue.

Studies show that dopamine levels in the brain can be elevated by increasing dietary intake of tyrosine and phenylalanine.[10] Both of these amino acids are naturally found in protein-rich foods like turkey, beef, eggs, dairy, soy, peas, lentils, and beans.

6. Breathing Problems

Breathlessness and anxiety are closely linked, and this is one of the ways anxiety can make you feel tired. Anxiety can lead to shallow breathing, which can cause shortness of breath while feeling breathless can exacerbate anxiety.[11] It’s a vicious cycle that often leads people to take rapid and shallow breaths, breathing into their upper chest and shoulders.

This type of breathing minimizes oxygen intake and usability. Despite comprising only two percent of the body, our brains consume 20 percent of the body’s oxygen supply. Oxygen is fuel for both mental and physical tasks. When breathing patterns compromise healthy oxygen levels, this can cause considerable fatigue.[12]

End the anxiety-fatigue cycle with focused breathing exercises. It’s important to practice this regularly while you’re not experiencing anxiety or stress, as this will help you to be prepared should a moment of breathless anxiety hit unexpectedly.

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There are several different styles of breathing exercises. There’s an easy one to try, called “Resonant Breathing.” Simply breathe in slowly through your nose as you count to five, then exhale for a count of five. Repeat this for a few minutes. It’s helpful to bring your awareness to any tension, deliberately relaxing your neck, shoulders, and jaw in particular.

7. Sleep Issues

Most of the elements we’ve already discussed inherently tie into sleep issues, which is often the reason why anxiety can make you feel tired. But it’s important to note that this is not always a directly linear cause-and-effect process. Much of it is cyclic. If we don’t get enough quality sleep, we increase our risk of excessive cortisol production, elevated blood pressure and blood sugar levels, depressed mood and mindset disorders, and dysregulation of appetite/craving hormones that affect our digestive health.

Sleep is obviously the number one antidote to feeling tired as a result of anxiety. But at the same time, many of these elements—including anxiety itself—lead to less-than-restorative sleep. We can improve our energy levels by addressing each element discussed here, as well as taking a proactive approach to our sleep health.

One simple habit to help recalibrate your circadian rhythm for healthy sleep patterns is to get outside in the morning. Sunlight exposure in the early hours of the day regulates melatonin production, helping us to feel sleepy at night.

You Don’t Have to Live Your Life Anxious and Exhausted

Times of extreme stress, like driving in heavy traffic or nerve-wracking situations like public speaking, can easily induce an anxiety response. Even “normal” everyday stressors, like feeling overwhelmed with work and home responsibilities, can build up to anxious feelings over time.

Our bodies’ response to stress and anxiety affects many of its functions in complex ways. When we unravel the interconnections of these processes, we can see how each part plays an intrinsic role in contributing to fatigue. By addressing each element individually, we can make simple lifestyle changes that resolve anxiety and diminish the ways it makes us tired as a result.

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More Tips on Coping With Anxiety

Featured photo credit: Joice Kelly via unsplash.com

Reference

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