Say "social anxiety" and the first thing that comes to mind might be struggling with big groups of friends, or going to a party where you don't know anyone. But what about how to manage social anxiety at work? You have to show up and put in the hours to get by, but when you're surrounded by colleagues, constantly invited to meetings and potentially moments away from a confrontation at any time, the workplace can feel like a much bigger challenge than even the most intimidating of friend-based interactions.
The workplace is a fundamentally social setting, where you encounter other people, and negotiate their opinions and emotions. Add to it the pressure to perform and you've got the perfect social anxiety storm. And it's not just anxiety. Many mental health conditions are common among UK workers, with 1 in 3 in the workforce experiencing stress and depression as well as anxiety, according to a report by PWC.
And it's certainly nothing to be ashamed about, as Mind's Emma Mamotold Bustle: “These problems can affect anyone - no matter what our line of work. We all have mental health just as we all have physical health, and it fluctuates from good to poor.
"Around one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year — such as depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia — and may need extra support at work," she added.
So what can you do the next time you find yourself analysing that interaction with your desk mate over and over from all different angles, or ducking out of work drinks because you fear you'll say the wrong thing? From learning to accept your anxious feelings to arranging a candid chat with your manager, these tips should help.