Starting a new job triggers anxiety in most people. If change is at all stressful for you, some anxiety is unavoidable.
How we think about events has much to do with how we feel about them. So think about your first days at the new job as you want them to be. Going over worst-case scenarios is of no benefit.
There are some things you can do to manage this anxiety.
New Job Survival Tips
- Admit to yourself that this is a big change, that you are anxious, and that you will feel uncomfortable for a while.
- Think of your anxiety as energy that is passing through your body. We usually think of our uncomfortable feelings as being trapped within us. However, emotions and feelings are meant to flow and when we let them they are free to come and go.
- If you are a person who likes keeping records or lists, write down your accomplishments during each day of work for two or more weeks. Some people are calmed or encouraged by seeing a list of what’s been accomplished.
- Before you start the job, find a funny quote or mantra you can use to tame escalating anxiety. For example, “The chief cause of anxiety is reality” (Lily Tomlin) is usually good for a chuckle or smile.
- Put a reminder on your desk or computer to take calming breaths periodically, or to “just breathe.” Remember, if you are breathing properly, your belly should pooch out on the intake. Always fill the bottom of your lungs first.
- A new job is a great place to practice mindfulness. That means keeping your awareness in the present moment. This cuts down on negative or worrying thoughts, and it will help you learn your job as well as pick up on nuances of the office culture.
- Teach yourself a few yoga poses that can be done sitting in an office chair, or in the restroom. Yoga opens up the energy centers in your body and reduces tension.
- If your anxiety makes it hard to concentrate, write down all of the instructions people give you. It will look efficient and you won’t split your skull trying to memorize everything at once.
- Socially anxious people tend to think they are smiling when they are not. Practice smiling in the mirror so you know what a noticeable smile feels like, and use it on your new supervisor and coworkers.
- Buy yourself a distinctive pen to use at work, something elegant, bold, or colorful but still adult-looking. It will give others a peek at your personality even if you are too nervous to show it.
If your job anxiety remains high or increases as the weeks go by, consult a mental health professional.