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The One Thing People With Anxiety & ADHD Usually Do Before Going Into Work

Photo: Billlion Photos / Shutterstock 
anxiety, ADHD, work, stress

For most people, prepping for a day of work is business as usual: arrive or log on to work at a particular time and start your day. For others, the anxiety about going to our job is there from the moment we open our eyes in the morning until we clock out. 

We can never determine if work will go smoothly, or if we’ll be dealing with broken cash registers, screaming customers, or an angry manager. And the possible unknowns make the prospect of simply starting the work day stressful.

If you suffer from work-related anxiety or ADHD, you may always find yourself doing this one habit right before you go to work to mentally prepare yourself — and you're not alone. 

Many people with anxiety or ADHD arrive at work long before their shift starts and sit in their car to decompress before going in.

Many people use the time before clocking into work to grab a coffee, run some errands, or watch the news. They'll give themselves just enough time to race to work and arrive at their desk or shift before anyone can say they're late.

The One Thing People With Anxiety Usually Do Before Going Into WorkPhoto: TRMK / Canva Pro

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Others, however, may clear their entire schedule to ensure that they can arrive at work way before they are supposed to clock in. Before they even set foot out of the car, they will take some deep breaths, daydream about possible scenarios that might unfold at work, listen to music to calm their nerves, or enjoy a snack. 

These individuals are more prone to anxiety and have likely spent their entire day dreading going to work. They could also have ADHD and struggle transitioning from one task to another. 



For most people, arriving early and sitting in their parked car allows them time to mentally prepare for their shift and what may happen. 

If they work in customer service, they may even arrive earlier to keep an eye on the doors to get an idea of how busy it might be and what kind of shift they can expect. 

If you do this and are under the impression that you're the only one, you most certainly are not. 

When a Reddit user shared their preference of arriving to work early just to sit in the car for a little while to psych themselves up for the day, they had no idea the outpouring of like-minded individuals that would weigh in with similar habits.

“I wake up a lot earlier than I need to, just to do that. Get the last smoke, and last song, contemplate the pointlessness of everything, stop myself from crying, and finally activate my ‘work persona,’” one user commented. 

The One Thing People With Anxiety Usually Do Before Going Into WorkPhoto: lzf / Canva Pro

“I always end up 15 to 30 minutes early, just to have the time. It's like my morning break,” another person shared. 

“I do it daily. It's nice to have that cushion for the drive, too. I leave my place 2 hours before my shift starts. It's an hour's drive, gives me half an hour to stop and eat, and a half-hour cushion. Refuse to do it any other way,” another user wrote. 



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People who arrive earlier than necessary to sit in their car before work are likely struggling with 'pre-shift anxiety.'

"Pre-shift anxiety" refers to feelings of nervousness, worry, or unease that individuals experience before starting a scheduled work shift. It can vary in intensity and duration depending on individual factors and specific workplace environments. 

“Pre-shift anxiety starts from the moment your alarm goes off in the morning to the minute that you sit down to get the report and hear about all your patients, and further and beyond,” said Nurse, Alyssa Tajanlangitin, in a TikTok video filmed while sitting in her car before going into work. 



At her job, Tajanlangitin noted that bedside manner and alertness are key, and there is not a single moment you can allow your mind to wander. 

Although she mentally prepares herself as much as she can before going to work, she explained, “Everything is going fine until it’s not.” 

The difficult days at work only worsen her pre-shift anxiety. “Pre-shift anxiety is your body’s way of preparing you for anything and everything,” she said. 

Dealing with clients is not the only concern of those with pre-shift anxiety. Some people face performance pressure, conflicts with their colleagues or bosses, work insecurities, or concerns about workload in general. 

RELATED: 5 Tiny Signs Your Job Is Causing Your Depression

Pre-shift anxiety doesn't necessarily mean you don't like your job or aren't cut out for it.

It is normal to worry about the what-ifs when it comes to your job.

According to a study conducted by the Institute of Stress, 83% of American workers suffer from work-related stress and anxiety, with 25% claiming that their jobs are the biggest stressors in their lives. Additionally, around 1 million workers miss work every day due to anxiety. 

The One Thing People With Anxiety Usually Do Before Going Into WorkPhoto: G-Stock Studio / Shutterstock 

Thankfully, there are ways you can manage and improve your pre-shift anxiety to minimize overall stress and absenteeism. 

Getting enough sleep can greatly reduce your overall stress, but let's face it, that rarely happens. Repeating positive affirmations, however, will increase your overall confidence going into work and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. 

Consider using phrases like:

“I am good at my job.” 

“I can handle anything that comes my way.”

“If something goes wrong, I’ll deal with it.” 

You can even seek the help of a professional counselor who may offer you personalized tips to manage your pre-shift anxiety. 

Employers can also support their employees and reduce anxiety by promoting a positive work environment, providing resources for managing stress, and offering support for mental health concerns.

This way, you can enjoy your day to the fullest before work instead of arriving hours before and stressing out in your car. 

RELATED: The Difference Between Fear And Anxiety

Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.