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Starting a new job can be a turning point filled with anticipation and excitement. But as your expectations grow, you might feel insecure or worried about what comes next. That uncertainty can make room for anxiety and depression long before your first day of work.

When you are unemployed or unhappy at work, a job opportunity can be the light at the end of the tunnel. A much-awaited fresh start. It can also be a progression in your career. A chance to prove yourself and get the recognition you worked for. Either way, it can be a big change in your life.

If you already struggle with anxiety and depression, starting a new job can add extra levels of stress and nervousness that might make you feel worse. On the other hand, feeling worried about starting in a new workplace with new people and responsibilities can trigger the onset of these symptoms.

While some new job anxiety is inevitable, it doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Acknowledging your fears and emotions can help you feel better and make a healthier transition.

Is it Normal to Feel Anxiety and Depression about Starting a New Job?

New roles can be frightening even to the most experienced professionals. While different people may have different reactions, it is normal to go through a specter of emotions, even if they seem contradictory. From one moment to the next, you may feel confident, overwhelmed, hopeful, and unsure.

We all can relate to feeling anxious or nervous about new situations or change in general. Adjusting to a new job brings on new challenges — sometimes out of your comfort zone — and interferes with a lot of different areas of your life.

Photo of a businesswoman helping her new colleague adjust to his new role and responsibilities. This represents how it is normal to experience some anxiety about starting a new job and how asking for help can be a way to overcome it.You might be anxious about meeting new people and fitting in. Or wonder about the workplace environment and leadership style of your new boss. You can also be concerned about your ability to be up to the task, dreading the idea of failing this opportunity. Or carry around disappointments of previous experiences that can drag you down.

For all these, experiencing some anxiety, or even depression, about starting a new job can be expected. So, connect your attention to what you are feeling and avoid hushing it up until it becomes too big to handle.

5 Tips to Overcome Anxiety and Depression after Starting a New Job

1. Identify what is Making you Anxious

The first step to coping with anxiety and depression about your new job is understanding what is triggering you. What exactly are you worried about? Are you afraid your job performance won’t be good enough? Are you dreading speaking in meetings or presenting results?

Once you pinpoint the sources of your distress, it will be easier to think of ways to manage it. For example, if you are worried about your new responsibilities, you can talk with your boss about what’s expected from you. If you are stressed about not fitting in, ask a colleague to help you get acquainted or connect with employees that are also starting at the company.

If you find it hard to identify what is bordering you, talking with a therapist can help you gain more insight and clarity.

2. Get to Know your Colleagues

Photo of four co-workers talking and getting along during a work break. This represents how getting to know your colleagues can help you feel more comfortable and fit in your new workplace.Even if you are not a very sociable person, connecting with your co-workers can help ease your nerves and make you feel more confident. Your new colleagues can help you navigate the company dynamics and give you all the inside information to help smooth your transition into this new role.

Also, having someone to eat lunch with and chat up during work can help you feel more excited and motivated to face the daily workload.

3. Use Anxiety as a Tool

Uncomfortable as it may feel, anxiety is not always a bad thing. It can actually help us prepare for the challenge we are about to face. In fact, a study found that people who understand their anxiety are more likely to thrive on it and use it to achieve their goals.

Having some anxiety when starting a new job will keep us on our toes and help us take action to ensure our success. Keeping hold of anxiety can be a positive way to motivate yourself to do well at your new job.

On the other hand, if anxiety escalates to feeling paralyzed or overwhelmed by everything that can go wrong, it might be helpful to talk with a professional.

4. Ask Questions

Photo of a woman asking a question to her colleague. This represents how asking for help can help build positive relationships in your new workplace. While you might feel that asking questions will leave people thinking you don’t know everything, or even regret hiring you in the first place, nobody expects you to have it all figured out right away. (And if they do, maybe that’s something on them and not your responsibility.)

Learning new tasks and new ways of doing things takes time. Asking questions not only shows initiative but helps build confidence and rapport with your teammates. When you ask someone to help you, you are letting them know that you’re interested in learning and that you trust their abilities to guide you.

5. Talk with a Therapist

As much as anxiety can be a natural response to starting a new job — and can even be positive — that doesn’t mean it should last. If after the first weeks, you still feel the weight of anxiety, it may be worth trying a new approach.

If you ignore these symptoms, they can build up and get in the way of, not only your work but your whole life. Over time, untreated stress and anxiety can contribute to a lack of motivation, frustration, sleep problems, and worsen other health issues, including depression.

A therapist can help you explore your worries, along with other factors that might be piling on your anxiety. And also, find ways to make you feel secure and confident in your new workplace.

Anxiety and Depression Treatment in Baltimore, MD

Photo of a woman taking notes while on a video call on her laptop. This represents how working with a therapist can help you prepare for the challenges of a new role and manage your symptoms of anxiety and depression. Have you been struggling with anxiety or depression about starting a new job? Or maybe you’ve been delaying taking this step out of worry or insecurity?

Understanding your triggers and fears is the first step to conquering the new challenges in your career. Our Baltimore therapists can help you to prepare for this new role and come up with strategies that work for you. Talk to us to know more!

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About the Author:

Cathy Sullivan-Windt

Psychologist (Ph.D.) & Owner

Cathy is a licensed counseling psychologist with almost 20 years of experience. She specializes in women’s counseling, anxiety treatment, sexual assault recovery, life transitions, and relationship issues.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time in nature, traveling, reading, and being with her family and friends.

Read More About Cathy

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