Starting a new job is exciting, but it can also be anxiety inducing. If you’re already prone to anxiety, there’s a good chance you’ll experience some nerves when you start your new job. There’s the unfamiliar setting, insecurity about what exactly you should be doing, and the feeling that you’re an outsider.
What Is New Job Anxiety and Why Does It Happen?
There are several types of new job anxiety, including social anxiety, stress about needing to take in a huge amount of information in a short period of time, and nervousness about making a major life change. This can manifest itself in symptoms like a racing heart, stomach upset, decreased appetite, and fatigue.
How Long Does New Job Anxiety Last?
Typically, new job anxiety lasts no more than a couple weeks after you start the new job. It often sets in the day before, which could mean you struggle to sleep. This is completely normal — possibly even helpful. A little anxiety will help you to become motivated and push you to do your best at your new job.
However, anxiety lasting more than four weeks is no longer new job anxiety. If your anxiety lasts this long, the following tips may help you relieve some of your stress, but you should also seek professional support. You may be suffering from an anxiety disorder and could benefit from treatment.
1. Prepare for Your First Day
Anxiety is likely to set in the day before you start your new job. Instead of passively allowing anxiety to overwhelm you, take action.
For instance, you could practice the route to your new job. This will ensure you know how to arrive and how long it will take to get there. Just knowing that you won’t be late (nor that you’ll need to leave extra early just in case) can be a huge relief. You can also use the opportunity to check where you’ll park and find out where you need to go to check in.
When you return home, make sure everything is ready for the next day, including what you want to wear. The last thing you want is to be rushing around in the morning, looking for whatever you need to take with you.
2. Think About Why You Accepted the Job
Remind yourself why you wanted the job in the first place. Focus on the positives and try to stop thinking too much about the aspects that are worrying you.
3. Reassure Yourself of Your Abilities
It’s also important to remind yourself that you were chosen for the position because you are capable. You may like to focus on one factor in particular that you think made you stand out from the other candidates. Every time you start feeling new job anxiety again, return to this factor. You should find that this gives you confidence.
4. Talk to a Friend About Your Anxieties
You may find it too difficult to reassure yourself alone. In this case, the best thing you can do is talk to a friend about how you’re feeling. Someone who cares about you will speak your praises and tell you just what you need to hear to feel convinced of your abilities. Plus, simply talking about why you’re anxious can help you realize that your concerns are nothing major to worry about.
5. Take Things Slow
It can be tempting to try and learn as much as possible on your first day. However, you need to be realistic about how much information you will actually be able to retain in a single day. Rein in your expectations and don’t stress if you’re unable to remember everything at the start.
6. Decorate Your Workspace
Making your workspace feel like your own will help you feel at home in your new environment. There’s no need to go overboard — just a few personal items can go a long way.
7. Ask for Guidance
Although you may not know anyone at first, you’re never alone. If your new company doesn’t assign you a point of contact, find out who is the best person to go to with any queries — or simply choose someone who seems friendly. All your coworkers were in your position once, and they’re likely happy to help.
8. Get to Know All Your Coworkers
It’s worthwhile putting in the effort to get to know everyone at your company, regardless of their position. Bear in mind that you’ll make a better first impression if, instead of trying to impress them, you ask plenty of questions about what they do at the company and show excitement for being part of the team. This is key to developing strong relationships and will make your first week or so at the company far less stressful.
In addition, avoid making snap judgements about people you’ve just met — especially if some of your coworkers want to share juicy workplace gossip. Having an open mind and steering clear of drama will lead to a much more positive working environment.
9. Take Breaks
If your new job ever starts to become overwhelming, take a short break. Just walking away from your desk to get a glass of water or a coffee can make a world of difference.
10. Celebrate Your First Day
Give yourself something to look forward to at the end of the first workday. This could be as simple as takeout from your favorite restaurant or a chat with friends. If you have something positive to think about all day, you can redirect your anxiety to this.
11. Practice Relaxation Tactics
Whenever you start feeling anxious — no matter if you’re at work or you’ve returned home — practice some relaxation techniques. A short meditation or some simple breathing exercises can work wonders.
Schedule time every day for a full workout. This will relieve tension in your body and make it easier to cope with any stressors you do encounter. Find an activity you enjoy to make sure you look forward to working out.
Early in the morning (before you head out to work) is an excellent time to exercise, as you’ll beat the nerves before they set in. However, if this is not possible (maybe you’re just not a morning person) any time of the day is also fine. The important thing is you do make time to exercise.
13. Sleep Enough
You’ll likely find your new job anxiety persists for longer if you’re getting insufficient sleep. Operating with only a few hours sleep makes it more difficult to control your emotions. Plus, it’s impossible to work to the best of your abilities if you’re tired — and realizing that you’re underperforming will lead to more anxiety.
14. Request Feedback
Of course, you want to produce superb work from the start — but the fact is most people make some mistakes during their first few days at a new job. You’ll be unfamiliar with the specific processes and systems at the company, which may mean you need to learn new ways of doing things. Asking for feedback may seem scary, but it will actually dispel some of your anxiety, since it will let you know where you need to improve.
15. Write It Down
Consider keeping a journal — if not permanently, at least until you’ve overcome your new job anxiety. This is a great place to note how you’re feeling and what you hope to achieve in your new position. In addition, you can use your journal to write down everything you’ve learned. You may be surprised just how much you’ve picked up in only a few days.
16. Establish a Routine
One of the most nerve-racking aspects of starting a new job is having to change your whole life to fit around a new commitment. Once you’re in the swing of things, develop a routine to fit around your job. This could mean changing the time you go to bed and wake, the days you go out, or even how you fit hobbies into your day. Whatever you do, make sure your job doesn’t end up requiring all your time, as this will lead to burnout.
Anyone can experience anxiety before starting a new job, even those in managerial positions. If stress is due to having more work on your plate than you can handle or because you’re concerned about your abilities to carry out some tasks, an excellent solution is to contract a virtual assistant.
You can trust the virtual assistants for executives from MYVA360 to keep up with your workload and maintain your professional image when representing you in front of new coworkers, subordinates, and clients. Hand off any tasks you lack the time to do yourself or find challenging, such as conducting research, creating presentations, or event planning. Contact us to discuss your needs and we’ll match you with the right VA for you.