The following post was originally featured on Fairygodboss.
Do you feel like you're about to have a panic attack at work every other day? Are you consistently waking up from anxiety dreams at 4 a.m., then rolling over and checking your work email and never getting back to sleep? No, you're not insane — most of us have been there at one point or another. But that still doesn't make it OK.
Whether you're intimidated by your boss or feeling like you've just got way too much on your plate, you'll want to find some ways to manage your stress so that it's not debilitating. Sure, some amount of pressure is healthy and can keep you motivated. But if you're feeling panicky most of the time, just remember that the only thing worse than the stress dreams themselves is allowing them to affect your performance at work — so you need to take some action that'll help you chill the F out.
It's easier said than done, especially if you're prone to being anxious. But here are some strategies that will help you sleep through the night...and make it through the next day without biting off all your nails.
Don't sleep with your phone next to your bed. Seriously, don't. Yes, there are still old school alarm clocks — so that's not an excuse. You're staring at a screen for enough hours every day; it doesn't need to be (slash absolutely shouldn't be) the last thing you do before bed and the first thing you do when you wake up.
Checking your work during these times is bound to spike up your nerves and make you more stressed during two moments that should be peaceful. Start your sleep -- and then your day — without stressing about what's to come.
At the end of each work day, take note of what's on your agenda for tomorrow. You don't need to write a long report each evening, but jot down some notes or a quick list of things you want to accomplish the next day. Planning ahead a bit will save you from feeling overwhelmed when you arrive at your desk the next morning.
Move it, move it. Maybe you feel like there's just no time to exercise during the workday. And sometimes there isn't. But whenever you can — even if it's for 20 minutes two or three times a week — get your butt to the gym, to a class, or jog around your 'hood. Exercising relieves stress, so even if you're feeling overwhelmed about trying to fit a workout into your schedule, you'll feel a lot better after getting a quick sweat session in.
Your workout can also be a good time to reflect. There's no better time than while you're running to try to figure out how to resolve whatever's been keeping you up at night.
Give yourself a break. This doesn't just mean "don't beat yourself up." Give yourself an actual break. It doesn't have to be an hour lunch break (do those even exist?) . . . but go outside — even if for 15 minutes — to get some sun, a coffee or some food. You'll be more at ease and productive if you let yourself take a breather once or twice a day.
If it's really too much, talk to your manager. You might be concerned that it will seem like you can't handle your job. But you also may just have way too much going on — and your manager likely isn't aware of everything that you're doing. If your workload has become unreasonable, talk to someone about it before you explode. People will respect you for being responsible and assertive about what's doable, especially if it's clear that you'll be more productive if you have a bit more support.
Finally, take a step back and remember that your job is temporary. It's only one part of your life, and while it's an important one, you can always explore other options if it's starting to feel like a parasite.
And if you like what you're doing (besides the parts that cause nightmares) — and you feel like your anxiety is more a function of your personality than your actual job — try to remember that work is work, and it's going to be stressful sometimes. Everyone makes mistakes and has bad days, but no job is worth compromising your sanity.