It. is. okay. to. feel. anxious.
Landing a new job can be a brilliant feeling but it can also be exhausting, stressful and panic-inducing. New coworkers, a new boss, an unfamiliar working space, a different commute: considering all these changes, it's only natural to feel anxious when starting a brand new job.
Whether your new job is a promotion in your current office or you're simply in need of career change, new job anxiety is not only real but completely normal. In fact, it's scientifically proven that we, as humans, are "hard-wired" to feel anxious in pretty much any new situation - especially when that involves your career.
However, a little anxiety about any new experience is actually good for you. Some anxiety about your new job will keep you focused and improve your performance. It will help you to be on time. It will help you to notice and act on important details about the office, your coworkers, your boss, and the tasks to which you are assigned. However, too little anxiety can hurt your performance. You might miss important details. You might be less diligent. You might lack focus. Similarly, too much anxiety can do similar damage. The more time you spend worrying, the less time you’ll spend doing a good job.
Whether you're stressed about performing well at work, anticipating the unknown office dynamics, or worried you'll get lost on the new commute, these tips and tricks can help you overcome anxiety at any new job.
Remember, It's Only Temporary
Everyone's new at some point, it's simply just your turn. You’re only going to be new for a short time… until another new person starts. Just remind yourself it’s not forever, and you’ll settle in and get to know the job and your new coworkers in no time. Someday soon, it'll be you and your anxious-free self showing around the new person.
Try Be Yourself
Lots of people stand in front of the mirror in their freshly pressed pantsuit to make sure they give the right impression. But just practice being you. If you put on a front on day one, by the third-day people will think they’re working with somebody different - and that's a whole other cause for anxiety.
Make Your Workspace Your Own
You likely checked out your new office while you were interviewing, but if you're anxious leading up to your start date, take extra care to familiarize yourself with it, especially if it's in a different part of town. Test drive your new commute, and on your first day, take a few extra minutes to do a lap around your new floor or desk area. You can also try to personalise your workspace on one of your first days in order to make yourself feel more confident in your new surroundings. Also, your fluffy leopard print stapler will make for quite the icebreaker amongst your new colleagues.
Remind Yourself Of Your Worth
Deep down you already know the reasons why you "can" do this job, why you "can" handle responsibility and why you "can" handle pressure effortlessly. Sure, it’s an anxious time, but you got that job because you’re good at what you do. You went through a rigorous selection process and actually, you proved yourself to be credible. Once you keep that in mind you'll have nothing to worry about.
Perfect Your Small Talk
It can be awkward if you’re not used to it, but the best way to get to know your new coworkers is by asking them about themselves and trying to find common ground. Cue small talk. What did they do this weekend? What TV shows are they currently bingeing on Netflix? What do they want to win Love Island? - will make it far easier to get the conversation started and start to make new friends. However, don’t put pressure on yourself to instantly be best friends with everyone right away, good friendships take time to build.
Water, Water, Water
It's a pretty well-known fact that water can help to relieve nausea and replenish your spirits - both of which are key to keeping anxiety at bay. Also, water can be your secret weapon in an anxiety-inducing situation. In a group conversation when you have no idea what to say - take a sip of water! If someone is giving you a hard time and you need to step away, tell them you need to refill your water bottle. Works every time.
Write Everything Down
Like, everything. Remember to bring a notepad and pen to write down everything you are told during training. This will save yourself feeling anxious later when you need to ask questions you missed in the long haul. From important passwords to how to open and save a document, jot it all down on paper.
It's Not All On You
Sure, there's a lot you can do to help ease your anxiety - but you should also be asking what your company can do for you. Any company who cares about the wellbeing of their staff will understand just how nerve-wracking a new job can be which is why now, a lot of employers do their utmost to make sure a new member of staff has been introduced to the rest of the team and is made to feel comfortable in their new job.
A cliché but one that works. The night before your first day, right before going in, and during practice deep breathing. When you start to feel overwhelmed, breathe in and hold it for three seconds and then breathe out. Repeat this over and over until you start to feel your body calm down a bit. Even if you have to excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and do this, that is okay. Just simply focusing on your breath can make a huge difference.
If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, Aware provides information and emotional support to those affected. Visit their website or call them between 10 am and 10 pm, seven days a week at 1800 80 48 48.
Main image by Anthony Tran