Signs and Symptoms
Anxiety is a feeling of fear or apprehension about what is to come and is the body’s natural response to stress. While it is normal to feel anxious about social situations or looming deadlines, anxiety becomes a disability when it prevents people from fulfilling tasks and living their life.
People with anxiety experience intense, excessive and persistent worry about everyday situations such as phobias, separation, social situations or illness. Anxiety can also provoke panic attacks where they experience sudden episodes of intense fear that reach a peak within minutes.
Anxiety can present a range of symptoms including;
» Feeling excessively restless, tense, irritable or edgy
» Excessive fear or worry about the past, present or future
» Catastrophizing or obsessive thinking about hyptothetical situations and relationships
» Physical symptoms such as hot and cold flushes, racing heart, tightening chest, quick breathing, pins and needles, dizziness or nausea
Anxiety can be managed through medication and psychological therapies. It is important to understand that each person’s experiences are unique.
On average, 1 in 4 people will experience anxiety at some stage in their life.
Affect on Daily Life at Work
» Employees may avoid certain situations, may become easily overwhelmed or upset without an obvious prompt
» Mood or motivation may impact their relationships in the workplace
» They may be sensitive to feedback or have low confidence in their work
» They may have difficulty concentrating or managing multiple tasks at once
» Disrupted sleep patterns may lead to fatigue and irritability during shifts
» Encourage communication so you understand their condition, its fluctuations and situations that trigger anxiety
» Be aware of behaviours or triggers that indicate they’re experiencing symptoms
» Consider providing flexible work practices, hours and loads where practical
» Provide environments that facilitate coping strategies
» Eliminate uncertainty by setting clear tasks and deadlines. Monitor progress to ensure they don’t feel overwhelmed
» Avoid phrases like “you’re okay” or “calm down” when they’re having a panic attack
For additional resources and support, visit Beyond Blue
For Liz, the biggest obstacle to finding a job was her anxiety during interviews. When seeking feedback about why she wasn’t chosen for a position, employers often highlighted her reluctance to answer questions or participate in group interviews. Thankfully, during her interview at Powerdown, Liz’s boss recognised her behaviour as anxiety, calmed her nerves and gave her the job.
Liz is still affected by anxiety on the job, particularly when her workload is high, but feels comfortable communicating with her boss and asking for help. With the support of an understanding boss, Liz is now thriving in the workplace and achieving her goals.