Congratulations on getting your new job!
The people around you are probably saying how exciting this all is, and that you ‘shouldn’t feel nervous’. But chances are, this will probably make you feel even more overwhelmed.
Having anxiety about going to work is very normal. Think about it. You’re starting over from scratch, with new people, new situations and a new employer. That’s a perfect breeding ground for self-doubt. However, your anxiety can get out of control real fast, which can lead you feeling distressed. Here are some tips for starting a new job on the right foot and how to cope with your anxiety during these strange times.
Before You Start
If you feel your anxiety spike right before you start, there are a few strategies you could use to bring it down to a more manageable level. A lot of people say to ‘just breathe’, and while taking deep breaths is a common way to relax the body, there’s a bit more to it than that. Try breathing in while counting up to four, hold the breath for a second, then exhale while counting up to six. Take notice of your breath, of how it tickles the back of your throat, how it raises your chest, basically any new sensations that come from this type of breathing. Typically anything that can bring you back to the present moment is helpful, since it pulls you away from the incessant thinking. It can be as simple as focusing on a body part and noting certain features, say, for example, noticing your hand’s temperature, weight, etc.
Tips For Starting a New Job
I hate introducing myself to people. I’m sure I’m not alone in that area, but it is a necessary part of building relationships in the workplace. Sometimes, your new employer will show you around, and give you the opportunity to talk to your co-workers. However, if this isn’t the case for you, you can ask to introduce yourself to everyone all at once when possible.
Keep it short and sweet. You don’t want to get into a full-on conversation; people have work to do. All that’s really necessary for a great first impression is a good morning, your name and your role. Ask about theirs, and leave it at that. If you do have some extra time, ask some general questions about what work life is like at your new company. This will give you the chance to get a feel for how things operate here. If you still feel unsure, try rehearsing what you’ll say in your head, or better yet, a mirror.
Introducing yourself may seem like just another box ticked, when in reality, it’s much more than that, especially if you have work anxiety. The people around you can help you with your questions on the job, which can relieve some tension. Not to mention that by establishing these relationships early on, you can ensure that if you ever feel anxiety in the future, you have someone to confide in.
I mentioned asking questions before, and how it can alleviate your anxiety. Funnily enough, the thought of asking questions gives people anxiety. People have this preconceived notion that by asking questions, you’ll look like an idiot. But you should know that your boss and your co-workers don’t expect you to know everything on the first day (if they do, then something’s wrong here). So don’t be afraid to ask any questions. It’s better to ask then to do something wrong and face the consequences.
When you’re asking, make sure to tell them that you’re new, and to thank them afterwards. If it’s something especially important, you might want to write it down, particularly if you feel overwhelmed by all of this new information.
Get familiar with your workplace!
It’s common knowledge that big changes are scary. Anything out of the ordinary can lead to you feeling disoriented and overwhelmed. That’s why exploring your workplace and knowing where everything is, from the bathroom, to your station, to the break room, can help you feel more relaxed. Ask your boss or even one of your co-workers if they can help you navigate through the workplace. To normalise it even more, consider bringing a few personal items with you. Whether it be a poster, a photo, or some other knick-knack you particularly like, they can all help you feel more at home, and make the adjustment run more smoothly.
Unfortunately, anxiety can be quite difficult to reduce significantly in such a short amount of time. So don’t feel like you failed if you still have the new job jitters at the end of the day. These things take time, but remember that, the more time you spend there, the more it’ll become part of your regular routine.
You’ll get used to it all in good time, and soon, you’ll begin to wonder why you were so anxious in the first place.
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