Corporate Wellness

How To Handle The Stress Of A New Job

Nervous about starting a new job? You’re not the only one. Feeling stressed about a new job is something most professionals can relate to. But how can you navigate your new responsibilities in the midst of this stress? Here’s what you need to know:

By Aditi
07 Dec 2022

Almost half of those currently employed feel stressed, according to the State of the Global Workplace 2022 report by Gallup. And while you might think that the stress only concerns your work life, the same report highlights how 51 per cent of respondents felt like they behaved poorly with loved ones because of work stress.

While it’s natural to feel some amount of nervousness, anxiety, and stress when beginning a new job, it can sometimes overwhelm you. The stress may even begin before you actually start your new job, with intrusive thoughts like, “what if the workload is too much for me?” A new job comes with many challenges, and it’s easy to get sucked in with stress and anxiety as soon as you start thinking about it.

If your stress is getting the better of you, especially before starting a new job, here is how you can overcome it before it gets to be too much:


Related story: Ways To tame Stress And Make It Empower You


What Does New Job Anxiety Feel Like?

Everybody handles stress and anxiety differently, and that includes new job anxiety. You might be searching for how to deal with work anxiety without even knowing what it feels like, and it can further complicate matters. Managing it can be difficult and it is crucial to recognise the symptoms. In conversation with URLife, Dr. Roshan Jain Psychiatrist from Apollo Hospital, Bangaluru explains, "It is normal and human to feel anxious in context of new events or situations, particularly when there is an element of uncertainty. For example, when attending a job interview or an examination, or starting a new position. The features of anxiety are similar to any other anxiety, where one experiences a wide array of physical or bodily features and psychological or mind related features. The bodily features may include giddiness, dizziness, blurring of vision, dry mouth or throat, raised heartbeat or awareness of heartbeat (also called palpitation), chest discomfort or tightness and in some cases a feelings of chest pain, shortness of breath, discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen or like a churning in your tummy. Other associated features may include sweating, shakes/tremors and a feeling of weakness and exhaustion. Psychological or mind related features of panic attack include fearfulness, apprehension or sense of something bad is going to happen and this might include fear of losing control, passing out or having a heart attack".


Some symptoms of new job anxiety you should watch out for are:

  • Increased heart rate (especially when thinking about work or at work)
  • Drastic changes in appetite
  • Physical and mental exhaustion
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Increased awareness of self
  • Self-sabotage


You might begin doubting what you already know when you begin a new job, and it can come along with thoughts of how you’re not capable enough. Settling into a new job is tough for anyone, and not giving yourself the time to adjust can be just as harmful as fast-forwarding through the initial weeks.


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How to Handle Stress?

Being stressed and anxious can drain your focus, creativity, and energy. Managing other people or being confronted with problems can also add a lot to your plate. The initial few weeks of entering a new office also mean navigating office politics, but it’s better to try to stay as far away as possible from this. Avoid unnecessary confrontations at your new workplace, as this can cause unneeded stress.

Being on top of things is only possible when you know how to manage your time. While it might be tempting to try to fit in all difficult tasks in one day, it can be extremely hard to finish them, which can cause stress. Knowing your own limits is key to managing your schedule. Aim for finishing one or two hard tasks in a day, combined with other easy tasks, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Setting realistic expectations is vital when trying to overcome stress at work. You’re at a new job, and nobody expects you to be perfect at it from day one. Mistakes are normal, and they are a sign that you are learning how to handle your new role. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and set realistic expectations about how you will transition into your new role.


Related story: How To Stress Less, Live Long And Be Healthy


Overcoming The Anxiety and Stress

Finding people who you can rely on during this period is key to making it through without losing sleep. You can get support from colleagues, family, and friends, but open communication is necessary. If you feel like you’re unable to cope with the stress, reaching out to a mental health expert is necessary.

If you don’t know how to go about your work role and don’t know who to ask, just observe. Watch how your colleagues are handling their tasks and learn from their processes. It’s always better to ask your co-workers for tips that can help you get adjusted to your new role. Ask as soon as possible, so you avoid any unnecessary stress later on. Make an effort to connect with your colleagues and your boss, as they will be your new work tribe for the foreseeable future, says Dr. Jain.


Managing Your Stress Before It Comes

Feeling nervous and anxious before your first day at work is normal for most people, but that shouldn’t resort to feeling incapable. Using positive affirmations before your first day at work is important to remind yourself why you were hired in the first place. Believe that you are meant for this new role, and it can help you succeed in your profession.

Practice breathing exercises the week before, so you know how to immediately ground yourself when getting overwhelmed. If you are feeling particularly stressed, try to find the source of your stress. Is it simply the jitters of starting a new job or something more? Instead of actively avoiding thinking about what’s causing you stress, embrace it so you can resolve it.


How to Identify Burnout

According to Dr. Jain, burn out happens when the demand surpasses our resources. While transient increase in pressure and workload can cause stress. But with reduction in the pressure one will inevitably cool down.


How To Overcome Being Burned Out When You Just Cannot Quit

It is important to recognise early features of stress and burnout and take simple, remedial measures such as stepping back, zooming out, and trying to get a wider perspective on ways to reduce the pressure and workload. Sometimes one can alter the workload, hours at work and then optimise their working pattern. Other times we need to increase our threshold of getting stressed and bone out by improving the resilience of body and mind. This we all know can be done with regular exercise, yoga and meditation and other fitness activities. As they say, “when the going gets tough, then one has to get tougher”.


Related story: Five Ways To relax Yourself In Stressful Situations


Is This Normal?

You might feel like you’re the only one who feels stressed about working somewhere new, but new job anxiety is surprisingly common. 80 percent of working individuals are nervous before starting a new job, according to a 2020 LinkedIn data report. So if you’re embarrassed to talk about your new job stress, trust that it happens to most of us.

Try vocalising your anxiety, as it can get you one step closer to resolving it. You might not be the only one who’s just been recruited, and talking about your stress with other new employees can help. It’s okay to let yourself feel the stress and anxiety that come with a new job, but don’t be consumed by it, and definitely don’t let it take control of your life.


Taking It One Day At A Time

There’s no hard and fast way to completely rid yourself of the stress and anxiety that comes with a new job. It’s natural, and it’s okay to feel it. Focusing on the positives, like the fact that switching jobs means that you’re growing professionally and have new opportunities in front of you, is essential to manage stress.

Remember that you’re not the only one going through this and that you have a support system behind you (family and friends) to help you. Begin your new job with a smile because it means you’re moving on to bigger and better things!


Related story: How Laughter Benefits Your Body


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


The above article contains medically reviewed advice and inputs from Dr. Roshan Jain, Psychiatry, Apollo Hospital, Bangaluru. 





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