Introduction to the Work Anxiety Checklist:

Work Anxiety Checklist

93% of Americans say they experience stress at work.

Stress at work can easily lead to work anxiety - a type of anxiety that's fueled by thoughts or actions related to work.

The content team at Process Street - a nifty checklist app - created this checklist template so employees can tackle work anxiety head-on.

Here's how it works.

First, an employee suffering from work anxiety launches the checklist. The first few tasks will help them to address the anxiety by defining the cause and confirming the symptoms they're feeling.

Then, they'll be guided through anxiety-quashing tasks that have been suggested by the likes of The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) and other mental health organizations.

Once the employee feels better, they'll be instructed to ease back into work slowly. If they're not feeling better, they're advised to talk to an HR staff member, an outsourced EAP professional, or their line manager.

If you're an HR staff member, outsourced EAP professional, or line manager, hand this checklist template to employees when they're feeling work anxiety.

If you don't have access to these staff members or you're just wanting to tackle work anxiety off your own back, go ahead and use this checklist, too!

This checklist should be launched whenever an employee has work anxiety and as soon as possible so it can be diminished quickly. 

Please note: The tasks in this checklist doesn't cover more complex anxiety disorders. If you're suffering from a complex anxiety disorder and you haven't yet done so, speak to a medical professional.

Work Anxiety

Addressing the anxiety:

Before diminishing the work anxiety, it's important to address it. 

This means stating why you're anxious and confirming the anxiety symptoms you're displaying and/or feeling.

The next two tasks will help you do that.

State why you're anxious

State why you're anxious.

The reason why you're feeling work anxiety could be due to many different reasons.

In the text box below, state why you're anxious.

Stating why will also help you to pinpoint the exact reasons the anxiety has come about.

This task has a stop task attached. This means you can't progress until you complete what the task is asking of you. Learn more about stop tasks here.

Confirm symptoms of anxiety

Confirm the symptoms of anxiety you're displaying or feeling.

Anxiety often results in mental symptoms, physical symptoms, or both.

Use the dropdown below (multiple options can be selected) to confirm the symptoms you're feeling.

  • 1
    Mild worry
  • 2
    Intense worry
  • 3
    Racing thoughts
  • 4
    Trouble sleeping
  • 5
    Jitters
  • 6
    Tiredness
  • 7
    Shaking/trembling
  • 8
    Sweating
  • 9
    Dry mouth
  • 10
    Pounding/racing heart
  • 11
    Tight chest
  • 12
    Lack of focus
  • 13
    Breathing quickly
  • 14
    Catastrophizing

Diminishing the anxiety:

Now that you've addressed the work anxiety, it's time to diminish it by completing the following tasks.

The tasks in this section are suggestions lifted from organizations such as The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), Mind, and Verywell Mind.

If there are tasks you'd like to add or replace, remember that editing the checklist template - or any other checklist template created with Process Street's BPM software - is incredibly easy.

Take a short break from work

Take a short break from work.

For work-related anxiety, it's important to step away from the situation to gain perspective.

Take a 30-minute break away from work so you can complete the rest of these important, anxiety-quashing tasks.

Use the widget below to state what day and time you've started your break.

Move to a different location

Move to a different location.

Whether you're working at an office or at home, move to a different location.

This is so you're not sitting in the spot where you usually get work done, which could hinder your attempts at diminishing the work-related anxiety.

The new location could be a breakout room, kitchen, or even outside - anywhere that's comfortable.

Once you've moved, write down the name of the location in the text box below.

Moving to a different location will mean taking a portable piece of technology with you - like a laptop, tablet, or phone - so this checklist can still be worked through.

Relieve tension from the neck

Relieve tension from the neck with easy exercises.

Anxiety of all kinds causes muscles to contract and tense up - most noticeably in the neck.

To help relieve anxiety-induced tension in the neck, do some easy neck stretches and exercises.

The video below - made by Australian physiotherapist Michelle Kenway - will guide you on performing these stretches and exercises safely.

Work Anxiety

Focus on relaxed breathing

Focus on relaxed breathing.

Anxiety can wreak havoc on your breathing.

To relax and fix your breathing back to a normal pace, follow the 4-7-8 breathing method.

The subchecklist below contains steps taken from Medical News Today's article How to use 4-7-8 breathing for anxiety. These steps will guide you through the 4-7-8 method properly.

Tick each step off as you complete them.

  • 1
    Empty the lungs of air
  • 2
    Breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds
  • 3
    Hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds
  • 4
    Exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds
  • 5
    Repeat four more times

Take time for mindfulness

Take time for mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a great way of being present and shedding anxiety of all kinds. 

As Process Street's Jane Courtnell rightly says:

"Meditation and mindfulness are not part of a religion, they are methods for mental training.

You can practice meditation and mindfulness from wherever you are. On the bus, walking to work, sitting down on a chair or on your bed.

Mindfulness and meditation practice doesn’t take a long time, although persistent, short-practice is key." - Jane CourtnellWork Anxiety: How To Create a Happy Workplace That Fosters Productivity

Now, take some time to practice mindfulness yourself.

The 10-minute video below - courtesy of Headspace - will help you through the process.

Work Anxiety

Consider positive outcomes

Consider positive outcomes rather than negative ones.

With work anxiety, the brain conjures up many negative thoughts.

Try flipping the switch.

Instead of thinking of negatives, consider if there are any direct or indirect positives.

For example, if you're worried about not hitting a deadline, not making the deadline could mean your manager extends the deadline, which then means you can give the task at hand the time, effort, and attention it deserves.

Write down any positive outcomes you can think of in the text box below.

Talk to somebody you trust

Talk to somebody you trust about how you're feeling.

It's good to talk to people who you trust about how you feel.

By talking, not only will you be able to gain some outside perspective on the situation, but you'll also be verbalizing the anxiety you have. The mere act of putting your feelings into words can have therapeutic effects.

After talking - be it in-person, via text, email, or voice call - to someone, write down their name and then describe how the conversation went.

If the work-related anxiety has already been lifted and you feel talking to somebody isn't necessary, go ahead and skip this task.

Get a drink of water

Get a drink of water.

Not drinking enough water and becoming dehydrated can negatively impact your headspace.

To help reduce the anxiety - and ensure you remain hydrated - get a drink of water from a nearby tap (or the fridge if there's bottled water).

It's recommended by health professionals to drink 2 liters (half a gallon) of water each day.

Eat a healthy snack

Eat a healthy, energy-boosting snack.

Healthy, energy-boosting snacks that are full of antioxidants can play a part in staving off anxiety. 

Eat one of the following snacks:

  • Avocados
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Blueberries
  • Leafy greens
  • Seeds
  • Yogurt

If you don't have easy access to one of the above snacks, eat another kind of healthy food.

Once you've eaten an appropriate snack, write down what it was in the text box below.

Stay away from products with high amounts of sugar, as they could stop your anxiety management strategies in their tracks.

Ease back into work

Ease back into work slowly.

After taking a break, being mindful, and putting yourself in a positive mindset - among other helpful activities - you should be ready to ease back into work.

To do this, Toni Bernhard recommends going about your recurring tasks 25% slower than your usual speed.

Don't worry if you're not feeling 100% recovered from work anxiety yet. You might need to give it more time before the anxiety completely subsides.

And if you feel anxious again at any other stage, run this checklist again.

If you're not ready to ease back into work, think about reaching out to an in-house HR staff member, an outsourced EAP professional, or your line-manager. 

Talking about your work-related anxiety with them could lift some of the anxiousness off your shoulders, and allow them to do what they can to help you.

Sources:

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