Career Advice Professional Development

5 Ways to Reduce First Day of Work Anxiety 

Danielle Jin
By: Danielle Jin
Sep 23, 2020 • 7 min read

5 Ways to Reduce First Day of Work Anxiety 

The night before your first day at a new job is usually filled with frantic thoughts and worst-case-scenarios playing out in your mind. This is totally normal and happens to most people before a big day. Anxiety can hinder your ability to think clearly and perform well, definitely not something you want to have to deal with on your first day of work. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help reduce your nervousness before you begin your new job. 

first day of work

Get to Work Early 

One thing you absolutely do not want to do on your first of a new job is to arrive late. This screams “unprofessional”. Even if your reason for being tardy is valid like you were stuck in traffic or your train was delayed. You want to make a strong first impression. So, you should set your morning alarm at least an hour earlier than you usually would to wakeup. Giving yourself ample time to get to work will help you stay calm and collected. So, the only thing you need to focus on is performing well that day. Try getting to your place of work at least 15-30 minutes early. This is so you can either collect yourself and ease your nerves while sitting in the quiet familiarity of your car. Or, you could even venture around the building. Get to know your new coworkers and get a jumpstart on building new friendships.  

Learn the Travel Route in Advance 

Similar to the first point, familiarizing yourself with what route to take to work is a great way to help calm your mind about the big first day. Take a few minutes and go on Google Maps or even Google Street View to see if there are any driving hiccups (detours, construction, accidents, etc.) you’ll need to know about. Or, if you’ll be taking a train or subway, you should definitely know which stop(s) you need to get off at and what streets you’ll need to walk on to get to work on time. Travel anxiety is something I deal with myself. Mapping out exactly how I will get somewhere is one of the best ways I combat the nerves. You could even take this preparation to the next step by doing a practice run-through of your travel plan a few days before your first day, so it’s one less thing you have to worry about. It may sound silly, but with more knowledge comes a more significant reduction of anxiety.

first day of work

Drink Less Caffeine  

Drinking less coffee or tea on the morning of an important day may seem counterintuitive, but you have to remember that caffeine takes a toll on your body whether or not you typically notice it. If you are already feeling anxious, then adding an additional stimulant to your body isn’t going to help with feeling jittery and on edge. If you are absolutely reliant on your cup of joe to become functional for the rest of the day, then at least try reducing the amount you drink, at least for the first day. Alternatively, you could wait to have caffeine until you are settled on the first day, and you feel comfortable in your new surroundings.

Reward Yourself After Work 

Although it may sound a little juvenile, planning out a treat for yourself after work is a great way to keep a positive mindset and attitude throughout the day. The first day of work doesn’t always play out very smoothly. However, by setting up something special for when you return home, you’ll at least have something to look forward to while you’re at work. This can be something small like buying yourself your favorite takeout meal for dinner! Or, something a little more elaborate like planning a date night with your S/O or friends. Make it something that genuinely excites you. You can focus on if things don’t go according to plan at work. 

first day of work

Try to Make Friends With Your Coworkers Before the First Day 

Often before officially starting at work, you’ll go to an orientation or training of some sort before your first day. If you have the opportunity to meet some of your coworkers in advance, take advantage of it! Having a sense of camaraderie or even just the slightest comfort you aren’t going into a new environment entirely alone helps reduce anxiety more than you may realize. You don’t necessarily need to become best friends with the first people you meet at work, but just having a few connections and familiar faces around you can be a huge help in calming your nerves. Additionally, as childish as this fear may seem, not knowing who to eat lunch with is something a lot of adults worry about as well. If you can make a friend or two on the first day, you’ll be able to cross that worry off your list. This is true even if you prefer to eat alone or the people at work generally don’t eat together regularly! It’s nice knowing you have the option of eating with company. 

Final Tips

Everyone gets nervous before starting work at a new place. It’s nothing to be ashamed of because we all go through it to some degree. However, taking some of the steps listed above can help you relax a bit more before you begin work. People deal with anxiety on different levels of severity. So, you may need to do more to prepare yourself for the first day. Or, you may need to do less. Figure out what works for you well in advance. This is so that you aren’t taken by surprise the night before your first day on the job. With this being said, good luck to everybody who is beginning an exciting new professional journey! 

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