Starting a new job can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. But, for many of us, our first real grown-up job is often scarier than it is exciting. Sometimes figuring out how to cope with a new schedule — especially if you have just finished school and begun your “grown-up” life — can be so stressful that you forget how to take care of yourself.
Unfortunately, putting ourselves on the back burner can lead to increased stress and anxiety, which does not help us enjoy the new chapter of our lives. So, if you are just starting your first “grown-up” job, we’ll talk about a few things to remember, and some tips for coping that can help you alleviate some of your anxiety.
Things to Remember About Your First “Grown-Up Job”
Before getting into tips you can use to help manage your anxiety, it is important to note a few things about your first grown-up job. These are all things that can often be the source of (or contribute to) stress in your life during this new chapter.
The Pay Might Not be Great
Most introductory-level jobs are not the best, and it is important to realize that just because it is your first grown-up job does not mean you’ll be stuck with it forever. Now that you are working, paying bills, and saving up for the future, things like this might stand out more and increase your levels of anxiety — especially when thinking about the future.
People Might Try to Take Advantage of You
Unfortunately, not everyone is going to value your time, efforts, and the work you did to get where you are. Some people (especially supervisors or employees ranked above you in the hierarchy of your workplace) may take advantage of your position and your time to make their lives easier.
You Might Have to Work Long Hours
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. If you are being taken advantage of, creating a balanced and healthy work-life separation can be incredibly difficult. This usually ends up with newer employees working long hours without being properly compensated for it.
You Will Doubt Yourself
It is natural to doubt what you are doing — especially in your first grown-up job. You’re new to the company, you don’t know your co-workers, and you’re also new to the adult job world. This is a lot to take in, and it is only natural to be unsure about certain things.
However, without good role models, examples, and help from others, this occasional self-doubt can turn into chronic overthinking and undervaluing your own opinions and instincts.
Your Job Might Not Be Very Enjoyable
The truth is, most of the time, entry-level positions are not very fun, and while you may be working in a similar field to what you studied, you will likely not be doing that much interesting work until you’ve gotten more experience.
This can be challenging because it can make it harder to feel motivated to go to work or perform your daily tasks. It can also feed into anxieties about your future and make you feel stuck in a position where you cannot do what interests you.
How to Manage Anxiety and Stress
Now, without further ado, let’s get into some tips to help you cope with your new “adult job” anxieties — whether they are caused by the points mentioned above or not.
Track Your Stressors
The first step in being able to relieve your stress and anxiety is knowing what is causing it. When we are unaware of what is causing our feelings of anxiety, it can be incredibly difficult to know what to change to make improvements. Because of this, you need to pay attention to how you feel and notice what makes you feel more or less stressed.
Setting boundaries can be extremely scary — especially if you have just started a new job. Today, many people (including employees and co-workers) expect people to be available 24/7. But, the reality is this is simply not realistic or sustainable for most people. We cannot be working (or thinking about work) all hours of the day, at least not healthily.
So, rather than allowing work to completely rule your life, create and clearly communicate your boundaries. What these are will depend on your own needs, but you can adhere to them as long as you know what they are.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Maybe you’ll want to pick up meditation or breathing techniques. Perhaps a walk around the park with your dog is the best way for you to relax. Whatever you find, make sure you take time and make space for these activities. If you are an artistic person, maybe it would help you to set out an hour or two of your time each day to do a painting, sketch, journal, or do another creative activity.
Reframe Your Thoughts
Notice when you are having anxious thoughts and recognize them. Once you have recognized where these thoughts are coming from, you can work on reframing them into something more positive (or neutral). Rather than thinking, “oh, I’m not as good as my co-workers at this,” you could reframe it as, “my co-workers have more experience with this program or practice, and I haven’t learned how to be as effective as they are yet.”
This takes a general statement that puts you in a negative light and turns it into a more neutral statement that recognizes that while you may not be as effective as your co-workers right now, that is because they have been working for longer than you. You simply do not have the experience yet to work as effectively as they do.
Prepare What You Can
Sometimes a little bit of preparation can do a lot for your nerves. Take some time to figure out what you can do before you start your first day. Maybe try driving to your new office location to ensure you don’t get lost. Anything you can do to minimize your chances of getting confused or flustered can do a lot to relieve some of your new job stress.
Talk About Your Stress
You can talk to a family member or friend about what is going on in your life. This can be a great way to unpack and let go of things that may otherwise be weighing on your mind.
If this isn’t helping, you may also want to talk to a supervisor about what is going on, especially if you have noticed a decrease in productivity. While this may seem intimidating, there have been numerous studies that link employee health to productivity, and in order to ensure that you are able to work at higher productivity, your supervisor may help you find a way to better manage your stress — especially if it is related to your workload, work environment, co-workers, or other things under their control.
Get Support from a Professional
If you cannot quell some of your anxieties using the tips mentioned above, or you simply want more personalized guidance on how to best manage your work anxieties, talking to a therapist can be an excellent option.
A therapist can help you discover the most effective ways to manage your stress and help you work through the issues that are bothering you. So, if you feel overwhelmed by your first grown-up job and are looking for ways to de-stress, please do not hesitate to reach out to us today at Love Heal Grow.