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8 Ways to Overcome Fear of Work (Workplace anxiety)

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Health Writer | Health content creator | Medical Researcher
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Fear of work? Yep! Workplace anxiety is a thing. In fact, it is a common problem in our professional and financial lives. Sadly, many people don’t know about it, while others just tend to ignore it entirely.

You shouldn’t ignore the huge impact fear of working has on one’s personal well-being and the overall productivity of an organization. It is an epidemic in every part of the world that must be duly addressed.

A lot of us spend relatively nine hours just working our asses off and meeting different deadlines, so it is no surprise that we suffer from workplace anxiety.

Our work environment shapes and determines our productivity and morale.

So, if you tend to feel anxious on a regular basis, this article will help you learn more about workplace anxiety, its causes and how you can effectively manage fear of working.

Fear of working, broadly called workplace anxiety, is characterized by feelings of stress, tension, nervousness and uneasiness. These feelings are all subsumed under ‘anxiety’.Unfavourable or high demanding work conditions have a direct link to physical health problems as well as mental problems such as fear and anxiety.

What is fear of work?

work-related anxiety
Credit: Canva

You can experience fear of working when you have a job that is hard to deal with or where the work demands exceed a person’s ability and capacity to cope.

This type of fear impairs mental and physical strength, resulting in actual physical symptoms such as muscle tension and fatigue. A fusion of all these negatively impact an individual’s professional and personal life. 

A bit of stress or anxiety is quite normal. It can serve as a motivator to meet up to deadlines or to-do lists both at work and at home.

Although, some stress can be a good thing, it can so easily become excessive and then a bad thing. If you don’t address the situation on time, it will inevitably cause problems for you and your health.

Can fear of working affect performance at work? 

Anxiety in the workplace can really make your day very unpleasant. It’s highly exhausting feeling stressed out and anxious for such a large part of your life, and it definitely is not healthy.

Anxiety may not be a physical malady, but it surely can affect your ability to perform even the most mundane physical tasks and cause high levels of stress that can range from mild fits of nervousness to a full-blown tantrum. 

Anxiety affects a person’s behaviour at work and attitude towards their job ranging from depression, irritability, cognitive difficulties such as inability to concentrate properly and make decisions, pessimism, and aggression.

Workplace anxiety puts a strain on a person’s creativity, work performance, interpersonal relationships and communication at work.


Common Side Effects of Stress

How to Relieve Job Stress after Work

Causes of Workplace Anxiety:

Some of the common causes of fear of working (workplace anxiety) include;

  • Lacking skills required for the job
  • Long hours of work
  • Very tight deadlines
  • Too much workload
  • Insecurity about your job
  • A non-inspiring  job
  • Micromanagement
  • Toxic work environment
  • Insufficient resources
  • Abuse/harassment.
  • Little or no opportunities for growth
  • Discrimination
  • Inability to control your work. Etc.

8 Ways to Overcome Fear of Work:

Successfully managing and handling work-related anxiety is not an easy issue to handle. In all honesty, coping with work-related anxiety takes a lot of mental effort and stamina.

Many people struggle with coping with excessive worry and other everyday issues affecting their work and personal lives as it can be completely overwhelming.  

This is why we have put together some helpful ways you can effectively cope with work-related anxiety.

1. Focus on working with your anxiety.

This might sound contradictory, but getting comfortable with your anxiety can be helpful in actually coping with it.

Anxiety is a normal response to any stressful situation, especially when it involves work. For most of us, anxiety is always the monster that prevents us from taking the necessary action needed to get things done in our jobs.

Interestingly, you can take advantage of your anxiety and hone it like a weapon instead of fighting it or always seeing it as a burden.

The rush of adrenaline in the body caused by anxiety can give you the drive you might really need to effectively run through your work schedule, thereby boosting productivity and improving job performance.

Thus, it is better to learn how to manage anxiety rather than trying so hard to completely eliminate it, which may not even be possible. 

Workplace anxiety can be draining, but putting your emotions in check and using it as a guide to making positive change is one of the first steps to coping with fear of working.

2. Step back from your desk

Every job can cause anxiety, even the best ones, but that doesn’t always imply that you have an actual anxiety disorder. In moments where you feel stressed due to tight deadlines or work overloads, give yourself a moment to catch your breath.

It is a popular belief that when confronted with so much work, the natural thing to do is work harder. Ironically, stepping away from your desk is one of the best ways to cope better.

It could be as little as a 10-minute walk just to get some air or you can simply stretch it out. If you don’t have time to take a break, figure out what to take off your plate. You can simply push your chair back, shut your eyes and control your breathing. 

Taking a break is very crucial, especially when you feel stuck. A simple mental break is all you need to recharge yourself to help you see your work in a different way and tackle it from a much better perspective with great vigour and enthusiasm. 

3. Proper communication:

Communication is key in every part of life, including work. As an employee, your health is linked to productivity at work. Conducive work environments encourage employee well-being.

Have an open conversation with your employer, boss or supervisor, lay out the things stressing you at your job and proffer solutions to manage them so that you can be at your best at work. 

Communicating with your employer, supervisor, or manager is a good way to know how they see you. Interact with co-workers and address whatever issues that would likely cause or are causing tension and anxiety at work.

4. Talk to a Licensed Therapist on KompleteCare:

work-related anxiety

If you feel overwhelmed at work and believe that anxiety may be creeping in, it is important for you to talk to a doctor for the sake of your mental health.

Having to leave work to see a therapist can equally be nerve-wracking, so online consultation helps to ease anxiety in a convenient manner from the comfort of your home or office (during lunch break).

Seeking online therapy is more flexible so it is easier to incorporate it into your work schedule while getting the help you need comfortably.

Other benefits of talking to a doctor on KompleteCare include easier access to a variety of healthcare providers, time and cost effectiveness, increased privacy and confidentiality.

5. Have an organized plan:

Be a self-starter when it comes to anything relating to your work. This will give you a good head start. It is tasking to come up with a proper strategy to effectively manage stress when you are already choked up.

Start by carving out some time to relax and think about how to reduce stress. When you remain calm and relaxed, you are very likely to develop a good plan to avoid stress.

Try putting everything you have in order. Maintain a tidy desk so you can think more clearly instead of working through tons of files and paperwork.

Getting your environment in order will give you a sense of control and motivate you to brainstorm better and come up with anti-stress plans. 

Utilize time, energy and resources strategically all through the week and this will give you a sense of accomplishment and put the spring back in your step.

6. Set boundaries:

Whatever pertains to work should stay in the workplace. Your workplace and your home are two separate realms of your life, and taking your work home with you isn’t very ideal or healthy.

Work-related anxiety can increase your absence at home, so it’s important you take a break occasionally. If you work from home, you may need to have a hard stop on when you switch from “work mode” to “home mode”.

Achieving the perfect work-life balance may be hard, but you can always start small by setting boundaries.

The world has gone digital and most of us feel the pressure to always be available online 24/7. So part of establishing boundaries may include going offline and not entertaining calls during dinner or past a certain time.

We all have our individual preferences when it comes to how we blend our work and home life, but establishing some clear boundaries between the two will abate the prospect of having work-life conflict and the stress that comes with it. 

7. Identify and avoid triggers:

Acknowledging the factors that cause your anxiety will help you cope. Many people deal with the fear of working, thus workplace anxiety is more common than you think.

Most times, anxiety is often triggered by obvious issues such as deadlines, bad management, toxic colleagues and environment, alcohol, caffeine or smoking.

Suppose you can’t identify the triggers on your own, speak with a therapist for some extra support and getting the help you need to get better. When you finally know your trigger, try to limit your exposure to them. Avoid triggers!

8. Make self-care a priority:

Prioritizing your self-care is essential for your well-being, mental health and productivity. Regular build-up of work stress affects how you sleep, eat and generally treat yourself.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by work; set aside some time for self-care. Make it a point of duty to engage in healthy self-care habits like;

  • sleeping
  • walking around and appreciating the world around you
  • having some fun
  • reading a book
  • treating yourself to a nice meal.  Etc.


Workplace anxiety is real and can be threatening to your sanity. A little push here and there can get you working with the speed and efficiency that you need to ace your job.

Nevertheless, do not pride yourself on how well you can manage stress. There is no glory in that.

It is critical that companies and organizations recognize work-related anxiety as a significant health and safety challenge and should take necessary steps to ensure that workers are not subjected to unwarranted stress.

If you experience physical symptoms of stress, like stomach pain, breathing difficulties or heart palpitations, see a doctor and get a treatment plan to address the symptoms and the underlying stress. 

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1 comment

July 5, 2023 - 8:26 pm


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Claire Essi

Claire Essi is a health researcher and freelance health content creator. As a health and wellness junkie, she enjoys all things related to quality lifestyle and healthy living.

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