It’s not unusual to be anxious about starting a new job, or harbour anxiety-ridden worries while you sit at your desk surrounded by new people.
In fact, we’re hard-wired to be anxious in new situations and have been ever since hunter-gatherer days when it was vital to be acutely aware in unfamiliar surroundings. With that said, feeling anxious about a new job isn’t fun – even if you know it’s part of your biology. If the thoughts of starting a new job send you into a tizzy try some of these methods to ease you into your new work life.
What to do to ease new job anxiety
In your interview…
In most job interviews your prospective employer will ask if you have any questions of your own. Use this time to ask what will be expected of you and what kind of projects you’ll be working on initially. This way, you’ll know what to expect when you start, and won’t have as much ammo to contribute to your fear of the unknown.
Remember, it’ll probably never happen
Worrying about something that hasn’t already happened is fruitless, and will only cause you to stress twice as much as you should. When thoughts of dread enter your head focus on the positives – you got the job. Of course, this is easier said than done but if you put it into practice each time negative thoughts start to swirl, your brain will eventually get the idea.
Write your worries down
If that’s no help, write your worries down. Think of writing down your worries as a physical way to empty your mind of negativity. Studies show that by simply writing down a worry you give your brain more space to think about other things.
This can be particularly useful if anxious thoughts are causing you sleepless nights. Keep a pen and paper by your bed and write down what’s running through your head. Never use your phone, as the blue light will cause your brain to stay active.
Commit to a new routine
Speaking of sleep, make sure you get enough of it. If you’re beginning a new job it’s the perfect time to begin a new routine which includes some exercise and plenty of good sleep.
Swimming or a class that requires concentration can be particularly useful as your brain will be forced to focus on the action rather than your anxieties. Exercise also helps to release endorphins, while we are all familiar with the superb effects a good night’s sleep can have.
Arm yourself with information
If your anxious about your ability to do your new job, do some prior research so you know as much as possible about the job and company. This way it won’t seem so daunting. Doing a trial run of your commute so you’re not panicked about being late can also be helpful.
1 in 4 of us will fight a mental health problem this year, so it really is important to make your mental health, in work and out of work, a priority. If you feel like you’re the only one who feels like this, trust us you’re not.
Talk about your concerns with your friends/ family/housemates/partner – as cliché as it is talking really does help.
Not to trivialise things but try and live in the moment and accept your situation. Be conscious that numerous people around you are probably dealing with the same anxieties, and that many people would love to be in your shoes. Once you’re aware that you’re not the only one, things can seem a whole lot less intense or scary.
Always remember everyone worries, but if your anxiety is more serious talk to a professional or approach HR.