Dear Misery Loves Cookery,
I’m starting a new job next week. I know I can do it, but I feel very anxious. I’ve been applying for new positions for seven months. I thought that once the stress of being unemployed was over, I’d feel better, but now I am worried that somehow this won’t work out.
Any thoughts on how to make myself feel better?
Congratulations on your new job!
Nervousness around a new beginning like this is very normal. All sorts of thoughts and feelings could be floating around in your brain simply due to all the uncertainty you now face—your new job, your new colleagues, your new schedule, etc. The fear that “somehow this won’t work out” makes a lot of sense, particularly if you have been wanting/needing a job for awhile, and the sting of losing a job is still recent.
Give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel. Don’t judge the negative (or positive) thoughts. See if you can be a gentle observer of your thoughts and feelings as they happen. Things like, “Huh, I feel angry that I am unsure about my skills,” or “I feel sad that it took me longer than I thought to find a job,” may come up. Feel them, don’t judge them, then move on.
I know, I know, it sounds easy to let thoughts go, but it can be hard. Breathe. Be patient with yourself.
The feelings are just momentary; your actions, however, in response to your feelings, may have lasting consequences.
When you think about your new position and worries come up, after you have felt them, try to come up with exciting thoughts that compliment these worries. For example:
“I don’t know what I’ll be doing,” can live with, “It’s exciting to learn new things.”
“I’m worried I’ll mess up,” can live with, “I will learn a lot from my mistakes.”
“I don’t know anyone at this new job and I’m shy,” can live with, “I’ll make new work friends and stretch myself.”
NOTICE: One thought does not cancel out the other, and again, you don’t want to judge the first thought. Being nervous about not knowing what you are doing, messing up, or making friends MAKES SENSE. You are simply providing a counterpoint, another thought to exist alongside it, so you can offer your mind an alternative that boosts your confidence.
Once a day before your job, and then immediately before getting into the car/bus/train to head over to it on the first day, set a timer for one minute, grab a pen and paper, and write down every positive thing you can think of yourself for that minute. Anything from, “I’m smart,” or “I’ve always done well in my jobs,” to “I like the way my hair looks today,” or “I got my pizza out of the microwave without burning myself.” I know, it sounds silly, but trust me. Just do it. When you are done, throw the paper away. The list isn’t the important part; the act of thinking of all the things you put on the paper is.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. Every big transition, even a positive one, may have its fair share of worry. You are normal, like the rest of us, which I hope is reassuring.
As for a recipe, I’d like you to feel prepped and ready for a week of work, with healthy, delicious breakfasts all set to go. I love this steel-cut oatmeal recipe, an easy make-ahead recipe that can be portioned out into jars for a week of fast, nutritious morning meals.
Fruits, nuts, honey, jams, cinnamon and maple syrup are often added to oatmeal, and several combinations of sweet toppings are recommended with the recipe.
Personally, I love my steel-cut oats (or scottish cut oats, an even thicker version) with savory add-ins. Crumbled bacon, sprinkled parmesan cheese, leftover roasted vegetables, some ground flax seed—now we are talking.
Just like your thoughts and feelings about starting your new job, not every oatmeal variety need be sweet; with five days worth of breakfasts to make, give both sweet and savory versions of oatmeal a try.
Good luck on the new job. I’m sure you will be crushing it in not time.