Your question: Should I quit my job because of my anxiety?

My reply:

Hi, I hope this message finds you well. My name is Cesar Guedez, a psychologist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy.

Anxiety is part of life and we must learn to deal with it. However, not everyone feels anxiety in the same way, and for some people it can be paralyzing and overwhelming, causing problems in their daily lives.

If you’re reading this, your anxiety is probably at its limit, to the point where you’re considering quitting your job. It’s a feeling that can make you feel vulnerable and lost, however, there is a solution to this, and through this blog I would like to help you make that decision.

Anxiety can come from many places and affect you in different ways. One of the most common sources of stress and anxiety is work. At the same time, job performance is one of the most affected areas in people with anxiety. Therefore, since the relationship between anxiety and work is mutual, you need to determine what it is that is affecting you to the point where you are considering quitting: whether it is anxiety that is causing you problems at work or work that is causing you anxiety problems.

You are not alone in this. Many people feel cornered into making complicated decisions because of their anxiety. Since anxiety makes it difficult to concentrate and make decisions, you need to learn to regulate your anxious symptoms and do some self-observation of your current situation that will allow you to make a decision.

Although you may feel overwhelmed at the moment, there are solutions to what is happening to you. You have the strength and ability to cope with this problem, plus you can access professional help from psychologists or doctors to deal with your anxiety and prevent it from taking control of your life.

Why does anxiety make you want to quit your job?

The question of quitting your job because of your anxiety does not appear overnight. Surely it has been a process in which you have asked yourself many questions and you have been flooded with worry about the consequences of your decision. Some common reasons why anxiety makes you want to quit your job are:

Personal insecurities

Anxiety causes overwhelming thoughts that can make you question your worth and capabilities. This happens in all areas of your life, from interpersonal relationships to work. It is common for anxiety to cause you to have thoughts such as “I am not good enough for my job”, “I don’t deserve this position” or “I am incompetent”. These thoughts, which are very often unrealistic, generate discomfort that may lead you to consider quitting your job because you doubt your overall capabilities.

Overly demanding jobs and deplorable working conditions

Studies have shown that job stress caused by overly demanding jobs and problematic and exploitative working conditions can trigger severe anxiety in workers and lead them to consider quitting (1).

Jobs should comply with the basic notion of effort-reward. You do a specific job or jobs and get paid for it. If a job has a much higher level of effort than reward, and also the environmental conditions are unfavorable, you are likely to consider quitting because of dissatisfaction and anxiety about your job.

Toxic boss

Bosses can be extremely problematic and abusive when they exploit and assault their employees, either verbally or physically. Jobs with bosses who have poor relationships with their employees generate unhappiness and anxiety, and may make you consider quitting more easily.

What is the right decision?

All decisions and omissions in our lives have benefits and drawbacks. Either way, regardless of what you decide to do at a particular time, it is likely that you will later question the decision you made. Therefore, life decisions should be made based on the information you have in the present, considering and balancing the benefits and disadvantages that any decision you make may give you.

As for deciding whether or not to quit your job because of your anxiety, it all depends on the intensity of your anxiety and the answer you give to the question asked at the beginning, “Does anxiety cause you problems at work or does work cause you anxiety problems?”

  • Some warning signs that may indicate that you need to quit your job are:
  • Schedules and work that are too physically and mentally demanding and exhausting.
  • Deep sadness every time you have to go to work.
  • Problematic and abusive relationships with bosses and other workers.
  • Interpersonal relationships affected or deteriorated because of work.
  • Constant anxiety attacks that only occur at work or when you think about work.
  • Eating and sleeping problems because of work.

What can you do?

It is important that you can work on your anxiety symptoms through therapeutic strategies and professional help with a psychologist, because even if you quit your job, anxiety is something that will be persistent in your life, and therefore, something that you must learn to manage to prevent it from consuming your life.

Before quitting, try it

If you feel that quitting your job is what you need because the pressure and schedules are overloading you emotionally, try to modify and lighten your workload before quitting. Ask your boss if it is possible to make accommodations and job restructuring that will allow you more freedom and reduce the pressures you feel at work. If you appreciate your job but it generates a lot of anxiety, you can ask to take some time off to devote to your mental health and deal with the anxiety from home, and eventually return to your job with new energy.

Physical exercise

Physical activity is necessary because it allows you to train both your body and your mind. Whether in a gym, playing a sport or from the comfort of your home, physical exercise helps you release hormones and neurotransmitters related to happiness, allows you to feel more focused and helps you drain negative emotions.

Breathing and relaxation

Inhale through your nose for three seconds, exhale through your mouth for another three seconds. This while you close your eyes and feel how slowly the tension in your body decreases. You can apply this exercise for at least 10 minutes a day at different times, and just after experiencing an episode of anxiety.

In my experience…

Wanting to quit your job because of anxiety is quite common. Deciding what to do is not an easy task, but you should always think that the right decision is the one that prioritizes you and your health. No job or relationship deserves suffering that will wear you down emotionally. While all jobs require demand and dedication, they do not have to deteriorate your quality of life by causing intense and recurrent anxiety. Through coping strategies you will be able to deal with the feeling of anxiety, and consider whether the right decision is to quit your job or modify your working conditions so that they do not harm your mental health.

I believe you have the ability to improve and heal these feelings of discomfort you are experiencing now. The fact that you are seeking professional help through this medium proves it to me, and I applaud you for making that decision and being on track to improve your mental health and overall, your physical health

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!