Ever found yourself constantly refreshing your email inbox? This could be a sign that you are dealing with what they call “email anxiety.” Several studies indicate that the perceived pressure to respond as soon as possible to work-related emails has been linked to higher levels of emotional exhaustion and work-related burnout.
There could be many possible reasons why people feel anxious about opening emails as soon as possible. While some working professionals, we spoke to, pointed to the fear of missing out on any important information, others opened their emails immediately in fear of losing their jobs. Different scenarios at work led different people to react differently and made us believe that email anxiety is indeed real.
Experts define email anxiety as a psychological condition that arises from the stress, worry, and overwhelming feelings associated with managing and responding to emails. Several studies show that the accumulation of unread emails is associated with increased psychological distress and decreased well-being.
There’s something that needs to be done or some rules that need to be followed to make sure you’re safe from this new workplace anxiety. Here’s what experts have to say.
Shivangi Sagar, counselling psychologist and co-founder of mental health startup HopeQure says, “It is essential to set boundaries to reduce the pressure of being constantly available and responsive. This can include turning off notifications, scheduling specific times to check and respond to emails, and avoiding work-related emails outside of work hours.”
So, make sure you are not checking your inbox subconsciously all the time even when you are at a healthy break from work. Control your fingers by diverting your mind to other beautiful things in the world.
Supriya Bhasin, founder of a holistic healing hub for mental health issues Anahat Healing, says the best way to get rid of email anxiety or for that matter any kind of anxiety is to take care of all aspects of one’s being — physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health.
Statistics have proven that a person cannot be cured of any mental problem till s/he is not cured in all aspects of his/her being. While physical exercise will divert your mind for a short while, mindfulness is a mental exercise that will help you deal with email anxiety and get rid of the problem from its core, believe experts.
“Mindfulness is a technique that involves being present and aware of one’s thoughts and feelings without judgment. Practising mindfulness can help individuals reduce anxiety and increase their ability to focus on the task at hand,” says Sagar.
Take an email detox
Take a break from your emails for some time maybe for the weekend or a couple of days. Renowned author Robin Sharma often talks about the power of taking a digital detox. Try taking an email detox instead this weekend. It helps. Your work demands the right amount of attention. So, never let it come in the way of your sanity. Follow these simple tips and get rid of the email anxiety you’ve been dealing with.
Prioritise and organise emails
Mynoo Maryel, global influencer and the author of BeBook shared a proclaimed way to deal with email anxiety — My Time segmentation method. “You allocate three segments of time, in your day when you only focus on your emails. These segments can be as short as five minutes and no longer than 30 minutes,” she says.
During other times, focus your attention on doing the tasks you have set yourself to accomplish that day, she adds. This might cause a rise in anxiety for a couple of days but very soon you’ll settle into this rhythm and experience a release of pressure that automatically you will become far more adept at impactful emails.
Sweta Bothra, lead psychologist at mental health company Amaha says it is important to “cultivate healthy boundaries with work so that one doesn’t feel the pressure to respond to emails during personal time/ vacations.”
Make sure you are not giving your me-time or your family time to your work. Communicate your email response time to colleagues or clients to manage their expectations and alleviate the pressure to respond immediately.
Power of digital detox
According to Sharma, digital detox is essential to pump up our creativity. Whenever you’re on a digital detox, pick a book or start a conversation, he added. Sharma loves to read books on positivity, leadership, biographies, and autobiographies. Try taking an email detox this weekend and pick your favourite book instead.