What is ergophobia? - Here's the definition
Ergophobia is the irrational and exaggerated fear of work. It prevents people from going to work or forces them to stop working during the day to go home. When you suffer from ergophobia, you know that it’s irrational, but you are unable to cope with it. Just as with thalassophobia or zoophobia, it’s impossible to control the anxiety attacks related to working. This fear is so paralysing that suffering from ergophobia leads us to flee or avoid things 😰.
It’s very difficult to make people understand this phobia, as work has such a hegemonic place in our society. However, it’s a real malaise that cannot be cured quickly, even if the person changes company or profession.
'Why am I so scared of working?' - What causes ergophobia?
Like other phobias, the origin of the fear of work is linked to the past of each person. Low self-esteem, a negative event at work, a professional failure, a burn-out, stories heard during childhood, etc.
For me, this fear was born during my teenage years. The more I grew up, the more I understood that I had to find my place in society. I understood that I was going to have responsibilities and that I’d have to be efficient. However, the fear of making mistakes and being forced to fit into the pre-formatted mold terrorized me. So there was a mixture of several things: lack of self-confidence, fear of responsibilities and refusal to be constrained.
😥 This fear manifests itself in different ways from one individual to another. Fear can also result from a trauma or an emotional shock.
The ergophobia test
We always feel illegitimate, even when we suffer from a fear. However, there are symptoms that don’t lie, even if they vary from person to person. They can occur at any time of the day, but usually, the morning is complicated. When the alarm clock rings to go to work, you may feel a lump in your stomach, and your heart rate increases.
This is the real test of a fear of work. All the symptoms of anxiety must be identified. As well as the above, you may detect nausea, dizziness, hot flushes, crying, etc. You can develop sleeping or eating disorders, have panic attacks, irritability… All of this can lead to depression.
🙍♀️ The result? A strategy to avoid the anxiety-provoking situation, i.e., going to work, will be put in place.
How do I get over my phobia of work? - 5 Tips to try out
Fear of work can become a real problem if it’s not treated. It can disconnect us from society and others if no solution is found. The problem is that there is a feeling of shame that can be mixed with ergophobia. Often people are unable to work as they are unconsciously in an avoidance strategy. Very often outsiders judge, thinking that the person doesn’t want to work, but it’s much more complex than that. So what can you do 😞?
1) Starting CBT
It’s not easy to understand that you have a genuine fear of work. However, admitting this is a first step towards recovery. Once you’re aware of it, you should seek out a psychologist to start cognitive behavioral therapy. This is the most suitable type of therapy for curing phobias. We learn relaxation techniques and the therapist exposes us little by little to the object of the fear.
➜ This is how I was able to cure my fear of work, by exposing myself to it little by little. My higher education allowed me to have work experience, at first minimal, then longer and longer. It enabled me to go step by step!
2) Psychoanalysis and treatment
Psychoanalysis is also a good way to treat a phobia. Unlike CBT, which works on the fear itself, psychoanalysis is a way of looking at the past. Identifying the causes is a good way to cure the fear. Moreover, by consulting a psychiatrist, you can have drug treatment.
⚠️ Beware, taking anxiolytics is only temporary. It can help us to get through a difficult situation, but it isn’t a lasting and real solution.
3) Helping yourself with relaxation
As with every anxiety situation, relaxation is a good way to calm down. Ergophobia can indeed be reduced if we learn to keep our thoughts away through mindfulness meditation. Yoga and sophrology are also very good allies in calming our anxieties 🧘♀️.
Nevertheless, this work must be done in addition to therapy, it’s very difficult to make ergophobia disappear on your own.
4) Fighting decision fatigue
People who are anxious and have to make a lot of decisions know all too well the little hassles that end up paralyzing you. Fighting decision fatigue takes more effort than wearing the same outfit every day, like Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg. Your daily resources of willpower are depleted, so you need to approach your decision-making moments with care. Competing priorities and ill-defined goals will eventually breed fatigue in your work life. Instead, use your anxiety at work to access feelings of accomplishment.
5) Ask for feedback
If your anxiety increases when you are unsure of your goal, it is important to demand high-quality feedback. Repeatedly trying to clarify action items can not only hinder productivity, but can also make less confident people come across as painful to their customers.
Editor’s note: The importance of psychological treatment
Ergophobia, the fear of work, is a very difficult phobia to understand for those around you or for society, which will quickly tell you that you don’t want to work or that you’re simply lazy. This phobia can quickly isolate you, which is why it’s important to make an appointment with a psychologist. CBT gives very good results.
🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!
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