Almost all of us have felt anxious and stressed in the workplace at one time or the other. There may be some important presentations coming up, high-impact decisions, or interpersonal conflicts that could trigger possible anxiety in the office.
However, anxiety doesn’t happen only before a high stakes meeting, this feeling can also happen to people consistently due to hectic routines. Mental health problems inhibit employees from giving their full selves to ongoing projects. Leaders need to be tuned in to recognize such issues and help resolve them. The outbreak of the current pandemic Covid-19 has taken a huge toll on the mental health of everyone around us.
Anxiety in Times of Covid-19
We are facing an unprecedented situation due to the pandemic of Covid-19 that brought the entire world to a standstill. Besides the financial pressure, people all over the world are also overwhelmed by the anxiety and fear associated with this pandemic.
In these times of desperation, employees have become insecure about their jobs and the health of their families. Even before the advent of Covid-19, it was difficult for some employees to cope with daily stress, but in recent times one can find that many workers are losing their nerves and feeling like their lives are falling apart.
Leaders must understand that these difficult times are impacting everyone at the same time, and it is necessary to manage associated anxiety effectively.
How to Manage Fears and Anxiety
Anxiety and stress severely hamper productivity in the workplace. When anxiety pops us, it severely affects our sleep, diet, and mindfulness. That’s why we must cultivate tools to cope with anxiety and better ourselves.
Taking insights from the recent Rant & Grow podcast featuring Ryan Haddon, a life coach, hypnotherapist, meditation teacher, and spiritual mentor, you must advise and encourage your team to focus on themselves and improve their mental well-being.
The first and the most important thing to do is to encourage people to talk about the pressures and concerns in these times — with you, their family, and their friends. Providing support and creating a safe space to listening to them is the first step towards getting rid of anxiety.
There are other important pieces of advice from Ryan Haddon that you can persuade your employees to follow, such as:
When you get over-anxious, your mind starts spinning or may even shut down. In such times, plant your feet firmly on the ground (doesn’t matter if you are sitting in a chair or standing in the office), and close your eyes.
Calm yourself and feel the earth holding you up, as the spinning energy from the top of your head flows down to your feet. Keep breathing and visualize the positive energy from the earth flowing into your heart.
This simple grounding exercise will distribute the intensity centered in the head throughout your body and bring powerful and positive energy from the earth into your body.
If you feel your heart racing and your breathing getting shallow, then you are headed towards anxiety. Instead of letting the panic set in, pause for a moment and take three deep, long, and slow belly breaths. You will immediately feel your heart rate slowing down and getting a sense of calm that will get you back on your feet in no time.
Ryan suggests that one must cultivate the idea that everything in one’s life is exactly as it is supposed to be. She doesn’t mean that you have to like your current situation, but you do have to accept it.
“In order to manage anxiety, you must not fight reality, instead work with it.”
If you recognize things as they are and believe that things are unfolding for your own highest good, you can start moving ahead. You cannot cling to the past or delve into addictions ,as they are only going to provide a temporary fix.
You must accept and embrace reality to take necessary actions and bring about a change. If you want, you can try jotting down on a piece of paper whatever is coming to your mind. Once you get it out of your system, you will find yourself calm and relaxed with no judgment.
“If you don’t let out what you are feeling, anxiety gets repressed and keeps showing up in your life unpredictably.”
Meditation can be challenging if you start thinking that you aren’t getting it right or others are better at it than you. Ryan suggests that we should be curious about the practice and not get unnecessarily distracted.
Simply set your timer for three to five minutes, sit comfortably, close your eyes, and just breathe in and out. Don’t judge if you are doing it right or try to control your thoughts and focus only on creating a small window for your brain to relax.
You can slowly increase this time as you get more comfortable. If you wish, you can opt for guided meditation as well. Just take some time out for meditation and guide yourself as your sub-consciousness is your divine right.
“How much you take care of yourself at home does impact your behavior in the workplace.“
Employees who struggle with anxiety often know that it can be paralyzing and impact their ability to think clearly and contribute their best in the workplace. That’s why it is important to let them know that anxiety can be managed and avoided if they are willing to share their concerns and work upon themselves.
As a leader, you must do everything you can to inculcate this behavior in your team and be aware of their mental health at all times. A sound team member will not only be a vital contributor in the workplace but will also admire your leadership as you become personally invested in their well-being.
Check out the Rant & Grow podcast episode with Ryan. Maybe you’ll discover some wisdom for your own life. You can listen to the podcast right here.