Why office environments trigger my anxiety

Why office environments trigger my anxiety

  • Noise

  • Space

  • Irritating or disgusting habits

  • Germs

  • Office politics

  • The ‘bums on seats’ culture

Office survival tips

To be clear, I don’t hate everyone who works in the office. In fact, some of my closest friends were made from across a desk.

However, I didn’t thrive in that atmosphere and it was anxiety-inducing.

Some tips to help you stay sane:

  • Earphones. Self-explanatory. If I found myself getting wound up by somebody else’s noise, it was comforting to know that I could cancel it out with The Beatles, or a historical documentary.

  • Top tip – buy two pairs and leave one set at your desk. That way you’ll never make the dreaded mistake of leaving them at home, but only realising when you’re halfway through your commute. THE HORROR!

  • Aromatherapy oil. Scent goes straight to the Amygdala (responsible for emotions, especially stress and fear). It’s why certain smells makes you feel happy, like pine trees, whilst others make you angry. I used to keep a vial of lemon oil on my desk, to be sniffed if the office was sweaty, or if some dick had an egg sandwich for lunch. The lemon was so strong that it instantly overpowered all of the other smells, and reset my senses. After a good sniff, I felt energised and as though I had reclaimed the air around me. Peppermint is good too.

  • Antibacterial Gel. Never underestimate this stuff. Obviously, still wash your hands, but antibacterial gel is just an extra line of defense against germs. I used mine 3 times a day, along with hand cream to prevent dry skin. If there was a particularly nasty bug going around, I’d even put some inside my nose! (Mixed with a little moisturiser).

  • Leave the office. I don’t care if you prefer to eat lunch at your desk, that’s cool. But be sure to get out for some fresh air. It will help to clear your head and burn off any adrenaline that’s been triggered by stress. A change of environment will also change up your headspace and ultimately your mood.

  • Leave your desk. As tempting as it is, don’t just sit and stew over some annoying colleagues having a loud conversation. It’ll make you feel angry and powerless. Instead, accept that they’re not going anywhere and leave your desk for 5 minutes. Go and make a cup of tea, visit the loo, or just go for a wander. It’s a simple way to take back control and change your headspace.

  • Bigger picture. Finally, take a deep breathe and try and have a ‘bigger picture’ mentality. Rationalise that a situation is ‘annoying’ or that the people involved are ‘inconsiderate,’ but in the grand schemes of things, is it really that big a deal? Try and focus your energy in a more positive way, such as what you’ll have for dinner or plans for the weekend. Angry can be a real drain on the soul.


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