We all dread work from time to time. Whether you have too much on your plate at the moment or have ableism in the workplace, it can make you feel uneasy and unwilling to go to work. As a result, if you are neurodivergent, you may suffer even more from the “Sunday scaries.”
In either event, you may be struggling with work anxiety. So, let’s take a look at what work anxiety actually is, and how you can prevent work anxiety from affecting your free time and weekends.
What Is Work Anxiety?
Work anxiety is when you feel anxious, nervous, stressed, tense, or uneasy about work. It could be the fact you have a big project at the moment that is making you stressed, or more pressure at work is making it difficult for you to go to work, without feeling some sort of stress or anxiousness.
Work anxiety can occur because of a number of reasons. There may be toxic colleagues who promote ableism, anxiety about your job performance, or you could have issues with public speaking, which could make you reluctant to go to work if you have a big presentation coming up. Or you may also be neurodivergent and need support with social anxiety triggers, flexible scheduling, de-masking, or executive functioning skills to feel more successful and confident at work.
If you find yourself irrationally worrying about going to work, feeling tired, masking, jittery, trembling, or you are struggling to go to sleep because of the thought of having to go to work tomorrow, then you could have work-related anxiety.
So, what can you do to stop work anxiety from getting in your way, and affecting your mental health when you are not at work or during your free time like on weekends?
How to Keep Work Anxiety from Affecting Your Weekends
We often get the Sunday scaries because we remember we have to head to work on Monday. If you feel excessive worry, anxiety, and difficulty going to sleep at the thought of what awaits you at work the next day, then you may have work anxiety.
To stop this from affecting your mood and your weekends, there are some things that you can do. For instance, it is a good idea to plan some fun activities that bring you joy on a weekend. This can help you ensure a good work/life balance and take your mind off of work during your free time.
Doing something you love can also boost your serotonin levels, and make you feel more relaxed and happier.
Another important thing you need to do to prevent work anxiety in your free time is to set healthy boundaries between yourself and your work. You should not be checking emails, your work phone, or responding to messages from work during your weekends.
For example, if you’ve had a message after your work hours about an important task that needs to be done ASAP, your mind may start spiraling and ruminating about how you are going to complete this task on time. This can only make your anxiety and stress levels worse. Ensure you are only responding to work communications during your work hours.
Finally, another way you can limit work anxiety is by identifying the stressor. If there is an issue at work that is causing your stress, speak to a colleague or manager about how you are feeling. They may be happy to have another colleague help you, or lighten your workload if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Tips to Deal with Work Anxiety
Do something after work hours. This can bring anxiety levels down.
Complete your Friday checklist.
Try to get as much done as you can on a Friday so that you can enjoy the weekend without worrying about looming tasks.
Make weekend plans.
Planning activities on the weekend can take your mind off work.
Take time for yourself.
If you feel overwhelmed, nurture your mental health with self-care or meditation.
Talk to someone.
Finally, if you feel work is getting you down, speak to someone at work, or feel free to reach out to us for more guidance and support.