5 Most Common Workplace Nightmares (Explained)

As more people are returning to work, whether from furlough leave or from working at home, the age-old stress office life brings will soon return.

In some cases, this manifests itself in the form of anxiety dreams.

Dennis Relojo-Howell, founder of psychology website Psychreg, explains: “Anxiety dreams are disturbing and are characterised by distress brought upon the dreamer.

A great deal of research has shown that anxiety dreams may stem from a variety of factors that exist within the work environment. Consequently, these real-life anxieties can have a spill over to our consciousness in the form of dreams.”

To find out more about anxiety dreams in the workplace, Psychic World surveyed 2,473 people about what kind of dreams they have recently experienced and, in turn, have also analysed what these dreams might mean. You will also find exclusive case studies littered throughout!

Key findings:

78% of people surveyed said they had experienced a work-based anxiety dream.
➢ The most popular anxiety dream is being late/forgetting you have work, with 64% of those who had an anxiety dream having that one in particular.
Psychic World sourced expert advice from Standout CV regarding how to reduce work-related stress.

Here are the most common dreams experienced:

1. Being late/Forgetting you have work (64% people surveyed experienced this) – This dream contains a subject we are all aware of, being late. Whether being late ourselves, or waiting for someone else, we have all experienced lateness in some form. Psychic World believes that this dream suggests you may be missing out on something or not doing what you want in your career.

Office presentation
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2. Unprepared for a presentation (58%) – This anxiety dream may be reality for a few people, but when it invades your sleep, it could suggest that you’re lacking in confidence about your work. If it’s recurring you should think about opening up to someone you trust at work.

Case Study: Support worker Jade told us she dreamt all her paperwork was completed and then deleted by the system. But her colleagues didn’t believe her! In the dream, Jade had no choice but to work back in a shop from when she was younger.

Psychic World says: This dream is a typical anxiety dream associated with lack of confidence and not feeling good enough. Jade should seek reassurance from colleagues about her work, to boost her confidence.

3. Being naked at work (47%) – This one is a classic, had by everyone when they were a kid at school, but for some people this continues into adult work. Now it is no surprise that this dream suggests feeling exposed and can link to the idea of a lack of confidence, hence why you feel like you “stand out” in your workplace.

Hands together
Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

4. Having sex with a colleague (42%) – No this doesn’t mean you’re self-consciously attracted to this person (unless you know you are… then you do you!). This could instead be a very heavy handed way of your brain telling you that this person has attributes in the workplace that you want to have yourself.

Case Study: Personal trainer Charlie told Psychic World that he had anxiety dreams regarding an embarrassing outfit malfunction in front of a fitness class, leading to him losing his business and not having money to support him and his young child.

Psychic World says: This dream clearly shows Charlie’s fear of being exposed, possibly feeling not good enough at his job. We recommend that he opens up about his fears to someone, talking will help ease the worries.

5. Trapped in the toilet/elevator (38%) – This unfortunate dream occurs due to a feeling of being stuck in your job, with no prospect of moving forward or growing. If this continues something may need to change for you career-wise, or speak to your boss about how your career is going to progress.

How to put a stop to workspace anxieties

After looking at these different types of dreams, Psychic World wanted to provide expert advice on how to quell workplace anxieties. The team spoke with Standout CV to find out what you can do if you’re suffering from dreams in the run-up to returning to work.

A spokesperson for Standout CV comments:

“While work can be a stressful experience, it can also be very rewarding and is a part of life we cannot ignore. If you are suffering from work-related anxiety then there are a couple of things we would suggest you do to help improve your situation”:

1. Talk to your boss – Your boss should be there to help you if you are not enjoying yourself. If you are feeling like you are trapped, ask your boss to clarify the progression they see for you in your career, even just a casual chat about how your work is going may make you feel less anxious.

Talk to boss
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Bosses may be busy, but if you initiate the conversation they’ll be sure to give you feedback that should be beneficial to you.

If you don’t feel comfortable enough to talk to your boss, you should talk to someone you feel comfortable talking to at work.

2. Consider your future – Taking control of your future could help with any anxiety. Maybe consider your current role and whether you want to keep doing it, or whether looking into different industries may be better for you.

There is nothing wrong with exploring other avenues if you’re unhappy.

3. Recreational activities – One of the most important things to reduce stress from work is having things to look forward to outside of the office. Organise something to do with your friends, go for dinner, anything that will take your mind away from work.

Maybe let your friends know what’s stressing you. It’s important to not make work your only focus in life

Photo by Nazym Jumadilova on Unsplash

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