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How to Manage Anxiety Before Work: Tips To Enjoy Work Again

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Feeling uneasy or nervous before going to work is somewhat of a universal experience.

We’ve all found ourselves dreading a work day or wishing the weekend was a little longer.

But when does anxiety before work become pathological? Are the Sunday Scaries a normal thing?

Figuring out what the triggers for your anxiety are and managing the causes can greatly improve your experience at work.

It can also reflect positively on your productivity and relationships inside and outside of the workplace.

So let’s dive deeper into the reasons for anxiety before work and how to control this issue, as well as whether leaving a job because of anxiety is a good idea.

What is Anxiety Before Work?

Have you ever felt a deep urge to skip work on a Sunday afternoon?

Do you catch yourself procrastinating getting out of bed because you don’t want to go to work?

Do you find yourself hating the job you go to every day?

If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you might be suffering from anxiety before work.

It’s the feeling of being actively worried about what work might be like before the day begins.

It’s also called “workplace phobia” which means dislike or fear of the workplace.

What Are the Sunday Scaries?

Sunday Scaries is the name given to a feeling of uneasiness that takes over at the end of the weekend.

Some people feel a “pit in the bottom of their stomachs” that gets worse as the day wears on.

Generalized anxiety disorder can sometimes manifest as physical symptoms that can range from moderate to severe, like:

  • Tachycardia and heart palpitations
  • Hyperventilation and trouble breathing deeply
  • Sweaty palms
  • Digestive problems and acid reflux
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Full-on panic attacks that lead to crying

Is it Normal to Have Anxiety Before Work?

Feelings of nervousness at work are normal before a big event, like a solo presentation or a meeting with an important client.

This is the body’s response to adrenaline, a stress hormone that engages the body to improve its performance in fight, fright, or flight situations.

However, these feelings usually don’t linger and you tend to feel better right after the work is done.

Anxiety is a much deeper, harder-to-define feeling, almost like dread that takes over whenever you think about work or are reminded of it, no matter the situation.

Work Anxiety Symptoms

If you suffer from work anxiety, you might recognize some of these symptoms that you face on weeknights or on a Sunday evening.

These can also be more recurrent, affecting your daily life outside of work.

Avoiding Friends or Family

Feeling like distancing yourself from your loved ones because you’d rather not socialize is indicative of unchecked anxiety.

If social situations suddenly bring you unease when that wasn’t the case before, you might be trying to remedy unpleasant experiences you face at work.


Being worried when there’s an unusual task or a big day at work isn’t uncommon.

However, if you find yourself in a constant state of worry and nothing seems to fix it, you might be suffering from work anxiety.


Spontaneous crying can be the result of feeling overwhelmed and being unable to express it out loud.

Sometimes, you might feel physical symptoms like shortness of breath or heart racing before you burst out crying.

This is a sign you might be panicking and the crying helps resolve it.

Trouble Sleeping

Insomnia can present itself as trouble falling asleep, or waking up after a short time and being unable to get back to sleep.

If you find yourself having trouble sleeping before work, but sleep just fine on a Friday night, your insomnia might be work anxiety-driven.

Losing Interest in Work

Feeling like your contribution is pointless or that you have little potential in the position you’re in can be a driving force to lose interest in your work.

Many people who start out passionate about their jobs end up “quiet quitting” because they feel like they’re not making a difference and that riddles them with anxiety.

Feeling Irritated Before Work

If you get angry at the slightest inconvenience, like forgetting something at home or being out of coffee, the source of this irritation might not be related to the inconvenience at all.

It could very well be the anxiety you feel that bubbles up and creates this state of artificial anger you don’t know how to express.

Why Do You Get Anxiety Before Work?

Work anxiety could stem from issues within the workplace or from things that affect your perception of the environment you work in.

Here are some of them:

Toxic Work Environment

There are so many signs the workplace is toxic and doesn’t harbor personal growth.

These signs include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Having no personal boundaries
  • Lack of trust among coworkers
  • Being punished for the slightest mistakes
  • No room for improvement and self-actualization
  • Receiving confusing signals from your boss or higher management
  • And worst of all, micromanagement.

You Don’t Enjoy Your Work

We’ve all heard the saying “Do what you love, love what you do.”

Unfortunately, though, this isn’t a reality for many people who feel stuck at a job they don’t enjoy just to pay the bills.

Having to do work you don’t enjoy could riddle you with inexplicable anxiety.

One Task of Your Job

Your work could be in a field you enjoy, but just one task, be it phoning clients or following up with complaints, could be the cause of your anxiety.

Meetings and Social Interactions at Work

Navigating mandatory social interactions, like talking to your boss or dealing with condescending coworkers, can make you nervous and uneasy.

Meetings and presentations are huge reasons why some people feel anxious at work.

Deadline or Big Project Before Work

This is another reason to worry, since your body views big projects and deadlines as giant prehistoric predators that are out to get you.

Work stress reactions are normal before big work days.

Worst Case Scenarios

Catastrophizing and jumping to worst-case scenarios is a huge reason why you feel anxious and overwhelmed at work.

It’s especially true if your workplace doesn’t tolerate mistakes or help you through them.

Returning to Work After COVID

This is a huge reason why you might not feel at ease in the workplace.

Fear of getting sick or infecting family or friends are all very good reasons to worry, more so if your workplace pretends the pandemic is over.

This fear could be compounded if you have already lost a loved one to COVID.

How to Deal With Anxiety Before Work

You can face anxiety before work by making use of the following tools:

  • Get Help: Talking to a mental health professional can change your outlook on the work you do and the problems you face. This can help you break them down and sort them out one by one.
  • Plan Ahead: Having a plan with a routine for your day can ease your anxiety and help you navigate your day more efficiently.
  • Wake Up Early: Waking up early can make anxiety less debilitating because you’ll have enough time to properly awaken and prepare yourself mentally for the day ahead.
  • Stay Off Your Phone: “Doomscrolling” can be one of the reasons why you feel suffocated and anxious. Staying off your phone can put some distance between your mind and the awful news that might send you on a downward spiral.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to every action you take and doing it intentionally. This has the benefit of grounding your consciousness and making you less likely to ponder worst-case scenarios,
  • Improve Your Work-Life Balance: Making time for social interactions and out-of-work activities can help you balance your focus away from the unappealing work environment and more toward things you love doing and people you like spending time with.
  • Reflect on Whether Your Job is Right for: If you find yourself at a fork in the road where you know the workplace isn’t the problem, but the job itself causes you crippling anxiety, then it might be time to reconsider it.

Should You Quit Your Job Because of Anxiety?

Anxiety always has roots in reality even if most of the reasons causing it are inside your head.

If you find signs indicating that you are not valued in the workplace, or that you have no reasons to fight to improve your standing at the job, it might be time to quit.

Just make sure you have a safety net and are not facing financial insecurity should you choose this option.

Wrapping Up

If you’re facing anxiety before work, the reasons could span from dealing with unpleasant coworkers, to a toxic work environment, to just feeling out of place at the job.

Taking care of your mental health could be done by asking for help, grounding yourself in reality, and creating a good work-life balance.

So have you experienced workplace anxiety before?

What have you done to get rid of it? Let us know in the comments below!

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