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What do you do to relieve workplace anxiety?

sloan profile image Sloan ・1 min read

If you have advice or tips for relieving workplace anxiety, please leave them below. Thank you!

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I often have to remind myself that I'm not the first developer to take longer than anticipated working on a bug, and my employer won't have a problem with me being back at my desk to work on it the next day. It's easy to get caught up in "I don't know this - I'm doomed!".

 

Wow thank you, this is exactly how I was feeling today :( bad feeling but its good to hear it is normal to feel thia way from time to time

 

My advice would be, if possible, to talk to a coworker you trust about it. Explain to them what you are anxious about. Is it performance related? Is it related to a coworker? Is it related to something outside of work that is carrying over?

I find that verbalizing anxiety is the best way to face it and for me, I often come to realize that what I am anxious about is not as big of a deal as I thought. It also helps to have someone else's perspective that you trust. They can help put things into perspective for you or help you find ways to cope. Not to mention, if you are having a hard time at work you really need to find someone in your workplace that can help you through it bc they will be there with support when you need it and can really understand your situation.

You also may find that when you confide in a coworker that you are not the only one with these anxieties! I am not sure what your anxieties are over but I guarantee someone else is dealing with them or has dealt with them and can help you through it.

Wishing you all the best 🤗

 

I got two suggestions that helped me personally.

1) Morning meditation(see Headspace)

2) Reading up on Stoicism. More specifically, learn about Trichotomy of Control. This will allow you to change your perspective on projects and deadlines and alleviate some of the pressure while you are still giving it your best.

 

Do you have any good resources you can point me to for this? (Stoicism and Trichotomy of Control) or even books too!

 

If you want an overview of many of tools of the Stoic philosophers, I'd start with goodreads.com/book/show/5617966-a-... . It covers the ToC as well.

If you fancy diving deeper into Stoicism, I'd checkout the source material starting with:

  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • Discourses by Epictetus

Stoicism isn't providing (just) a framework to deal with anxiety and stress but also with general misfortune in life. It provides a way to gradually build your resilience and perspective of the world so you endure during the "bad sagas" as I like to call them.

Happy reading!

Yes! I'd also suggest The Daily Stoic podcast for a succinct, daily dose of Stoic philosophy. Occasional long-form interviews, like a recent with Guy Raz.

 

I'm terrible about sitting for hours without getting up and walking around. I always feel so much better if I get up once an hour and mosey about.

I also have to remind myself to slow down on the coffee drinking, haha. 😅 A few cups spread out across the day works alright, but sometimes I go overboard early on in the AM.

 

Yeah, I find doing simple tasks away from my desk always helps. Since we're at home these days, it's household stuff like emptying or filling the dishwasher, laundry, making or eating lunch.

And if that's not helping, talk to your colleagues.

It's also important to recognise the source of the anxiety. If it's a specific problem you're working on then these steps can help.
But for a problem that's much more systemic, you probably need to reach out in other ways, like others have suggested.

 

The most important thing is to never lose self confidence. You always know whether you are giving your 💯% or not. If yes, and people are still on you.
Then just smile nd be silent but never lose tour confidence.

Trust me, even the most senior people feel it. Just learn to live with it, and thats ok.

To all developers out there, maintain your mental health, its extremely important.

 

It took me a long time to realize that yes the Programmer's job is stressful, really stressful! We just don't recognize it as the pressures start out slow and then mount up. What works the best for me now, (but I've been at this for 25+) years, is to just take the medicine.

Just Take The Medicine?

There are different personality types, some are amenable, some antagonistic, and the entire spectrum in between. I try as hard a possible to just let the personality type fly by me (everyone has a backstory and dysfunctional past). This brings me to focus on what they want and to embrace their system of measuring it.

The kahunas in the sky (including Project Managers, Scrum leaders, and People Managers) all have pressures too. In fact the 1st line people managers have it the worst. They are squeezed somewhere in between expenditures and deliveries. They have to sit in on monthly, quarterly meetings to justify expenditure. A wonder position when deliveries are meeting/exceeding expectation, a terrible position when corrective action is needed. Just remember, the world is controlled by accountants. They pay us, the pay bills, they watch the shop and keep businesses going.

Don't fight backt

It's ok to voice comments but we should not be dogmatic and unpleasant, we should not drag people through our nightmares. No matter how true our perspectives are, we have to leave plenty of room for their passages to accomplish what they feel is the right way, even if we can see the writing on the wall.

Writing on the Wall?

Important projects take on a life of their own. In today's Agile, ScrumMaster world, the primary focus is delivery. If the daily meetings are done correctly, then impediments are identified usually within a week. However, if the impediments are not addressed by upper management like (we don't need more CPU power, more bandwidth, shoot we don't even need our own network people in on this). Then the writing is on the wall. What this means is that this particular part of the project is in a slow death spiral. The tendency of the organization is to place all responsibility on the developer. As good developers the best thing we can do is take full responsibility except where we have no control. We have to try to do uncomfortable things like make unauthorized contacts to other departments, (you know with the people too busy with other things). And then just report all our activities each day.

Bottom line is that due to the lack of focus on the impediments you as a developer will eventually have a bad mark in some upper people's minds! It's all dependent on how favorable you are presented by other's like the scrum master, the team lead, the managers etc. The problem is did they ever get the real story? Are they really vested in this?

If the answers are no, then you need to find another job, or just wait until they take you out. There's always better jobs to be found. Don't worry, be happy for the experience (even the bad ones)

 

“Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.”
Jocko Willink

I found above quote in one of the blog and recently wrote a blog on it...you can have a look at it
dev.to/maulik/success-people-prais...

 

I've generally seen people get anxious as they become overburdened with their workload. Everyone has a different level of what they can support. Just last week, I had a Dev calling me about how they weren't going to be able to finish their work for the sprint and how it was upsetting them. In these cases, I try to help them balance what they have on their plate, set priorities, and push off what might be coming at them.

Having a laugh with someone, walks (like others have said) are great ways to clear your head and reset. Also, I find making a list and writing out what you need to do a great way to get the clutter and worry out of your head. Sometimes we have all these things on our plate that are in our head, but when we start writing them down, we realize it's not as bad as we thought and we start checking them off - that visual cue can be a big help.

If anxiety in the workload is still there, I try to find the source for it - is it learning new technologies, incoming bugs, not sure where to go and do something - and work with them to figure out the steps to allay their concerns. Sometimes it can be as simple as helping them block off time to complete their work. Especially now when we're all remote, people are getting overburdened with meetings they never had before that eats into their time (not everyone wants to code 14 hours a day).

Developers put a lot on our shoulders (and it's easy for people to keep coming to us once they see what we can do) but it can raise people's anxiety in - "how do I help everyone and do all this work"?

 

For individual care: meditation, journaling and blocking out time at lunch and end of day to step away from desk.

It’s also important to care for our coworkers. Encourage them to set boundaries and respect those boundaries. Ask them how they are doing (and care about the answer).

Finally, if you are a coworker are experiencing clinical anxiety or depression, seek professional help IMMEDIATELY. The mental health system in the US is understaffed and it can sometimes take months to get an appointment if it is not an emergency.

 

Just remind yourself that people on top of you also make bigger mistakes than you and they also miss their deadlines badly. It doesn't mean you shouldn't achieve what you should, but it's alright to make mistakes(with valid justification) and miss timelines.

 

I know this is pretty basic, but since it hasn't been said yet: A lot of employers these days offer free therapy in the form of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). If you don't know for sure that your employer doesn't offer it, you should ask HR about it.

 

I don't think that really works, maybe it does but most of the times they will give generic responses to your specific queries that you already know but fail to implement.

 

We're all bad.

Programming is a very young discipline, and we have almost no answer, especially as complexity grow. We're all in the same boat. Having (serious) difficulties to understand, execute, and remember everything is totally normal.

I've wrote about stress and burnout if somebody is interested.

 

Music = Audiophile Grade IEM + Portable (DAC + Amplifier)

 

I chew gum, get up and walk, stress eat (not good), play with fidget spinners and cubes

 
 

Work from home 🏡

 

That is very much a personality specific, some thrive working from home, others not so much.

It also depends on your work environment, thriving at home, may also indicate other issues, such as, but not limited to, toxic work environment... etc