Starting a new job is exciting … and potentially stressful.
Stress is a debilitating threat for millions of people across the globe. While physicians, colleagues, and family alike may coax you to limit the stressors in your life, such advice may seem like a meaningless platitude when faced with the reality of a new job.
When you're exiting an old job and entering a new company, you'll be faced with a barrage of problems that can seem daunting. These anxieties are even more extreme when you're entering the workforce fresh from college. Excitement about a new career or the first day at a new company can quickly transform into panic, so below are a few tips on how to tackle work-related stress and beat feelings of anxiety.
1. Exercise regularly
New job anxiety and nerves can feel like a suffocating shroud, enveloping you in a cloud that drains you of focus and energy. When you feel anxious, one of the best ways to manage it is by staying active. Exercise is not only advantageous for your body, it can have an impacting effect on your mental health.
Simply logging in a daily workout before you go into the office can simultaneously boost your confidence and ease your tensions about the day. Exercise will stimulate the release of endorphins in the brain, making you feel more tranquil and at peace. Remember that you don't have to join an expensive gym or punish yourself with an extreme routine. An effective workout can be as simple as walking to work or dancing in front of your mirror before a shower.
In addition to working out at home, you can also make a commitment to being more active in your work environment. If you have to sit in a chair all day, consider taking intermittent breaks for a walk around your building. You could also climb stairs or even do squats in the bathroom — anything to get your heart pumping and your muscles stretched. Focusing on making your body more fit can also give your mind a reprieve from stressful deadlines.
2. Avoid drama in the workplace
Workplace stress and anxiety nowadays is a bigger problem than in the past because it's so much easier to drum up drama and turmoil. Online social networking has made it easier for people to prey on others by using anonymity, and sometimes the boundaries of work and personal life can blur.
The psychological effects of work stress can be hazardous to your health, even prompting work-related stress claims in extreme cases. To eschew the effects of new job stress and anxiety, it's best to avoid drama as much as possible.
As with any workplace, your new job is bound to have internal disarray that may stem from any number of issues. It's best to try avoiding unnecessary conflict while maintaining your focus and a positive attitude. Remember that completing your work is more important than establishing arbitrary relationships or feeding into the negative energy of others who only want to gossip and meddle.
3. Communicate how you feel
While many people ask themselves how to deal with a stressful job, one of the best solutions is to pose the question to a friend, or better yet, a professional therapist or career coach who can help you work through feelings of anxiety.
A lot of new employees may feel apprehensive about talking about their feelings or asking for help, but communicating honestly is one of the best things you can do to make your work experience healthy and fruitful. Some people may only experience an acute bout of anxiety with their new role, but other people struggle with chronic anxiety.
Setting up an appointment with a therapist can help those struggling with anxiety disorders as well as other mental health issues that can make a new career seem overwhelming and draining. It can also help to bring grievances and concerns to the attention of your boss, co-workers, friends, or family. Keeping problems inside can only exacerbate issues long term, so it's best to maintain a degree of transparency and openly communicate your worries to those who are willing to listen and help. Honesty is always valued in a work environment.
4. Manage your time
Recent graduates are likely used to scheduling their study time around their favorite activities; this is something you should aim for as well. After starting a new job, you will surely be eager to invest as much time as possible into new work projects. However, it's important to make time for your passions or you'll burn out easily.
Making time for yourself, your family, and your hobbies and disconnecting mentally from your job will allow you to return to work refreshed. The CDC cites "balance between work and family or personal life" as one of the top ways to reduce job-related stress. Schedule out your week in advance and make sure you have time blocked out to unwind with family and friends. If you have a hobby, schedule that in too. Block out a certain number of hours weekly to read, run, play basketball, paint, or whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Setting this time aside will help ensure that you don't get overly wrapped up in your new work.
5. Stay positive and set realistic expectations
Train your mind to focus on the wins and to see failures as learning experiences. Even the most experienced employee is bound to fall short of a goal now and then. And as a new employee, it's going to take time to learn the ropes and best practices of your new workplace. Give yourself the chance to learn during this transitional period and use your missteps as a way to become a more efficient and knowledgeable employee.
Try not to clutter your daily to-do list with an excessive number of tasks. When starting out at a new job, it's important to take things slow and celebrate every accomplishment and step forward. If you assign yourself too many tasks, you will become overwhelmed and won't be able to get to them, and that will only add to your stress. Focus on your top few priorities each day. You will feel much more accomplished when you're able to clear your to-do list on a daily basis.
Related: 9 Habits That Will Make You Happier in the Office
6. Get enough sleep
Everyone says it for a reason: You need an adequate amount of sleep to be able to do your best work. Countless studies have consistently shown that adults need seven to eight hours of restful sleep each night in order to function at a high level the next morning. And at a new job, having a ready-to-go attitude is even more important as you are still working to make positive first impressions.
Simply do whatever you need to do to get a good night's sleep. If you wake often during the night (or of the day, if you work overnights) and need to improve your sleep quality, try using blackout curtains, earplugs, a sleep mask, or essential oils to aid your sleep. If you have regular shift hours, try downloading a sleep pattern app to help you decide when exactly you should go to sleep each night in order to get an adequate amount of rest.
Whatever you do, don't show up to work without having had enough sleep. Not only will you show up in a bad mood, but you'll also be less productive during your shift, adding to your stress levels and making co-workers question why you were hired.
To conclude, new job anxiety and stress can be reduced by putting your mental health and wellbeing first: Exercise, sleep well, and make time for your family and hobbies. If you are feeling healthy and productive when you walk into work, you'll start your first day off on a good foot. Train your mind to focus on the positives, set achievable goals, and learn from your mistakes. Manage your time wisely at work and avoid unnecessary negative interaction with co-workers by steering clear of workplace drama. By implementing these practical tips, you can thrive at your new job without being weighed down by unnecessary stress.
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