Being in a new environment can mean two things for different types of people. For people who are adaptable, they will embrace the changes with open hands. While for some people, who are not adaptable, the change can be tricky and make them anxious.

Being in a new place, or meeting new people, whether it’s at a new workplace or new school, can be hard for us. Imagine new classmates/coworkers, new teacher / new boss, an unfamiliar space, it can bring jitters to you. But I can assure you, it’s normal. It is completely normal.

In fact, there is a study in 2015 that states people are “hard-wired” to feel anxious in pretty much any new situation. So, remember you are not the only one!

A clinical psychologist, Joshua Klapow, also said that there is a thing called anticipatory anxiety, which, for some people, feels like excitement. A type of anxiety which is usually caused by “unfamiliar surroundings, and uncertainty about what’s going to happen, and who’s going to be there.”

We all know you want to make a good first impression on new people by having the right thing to say, wearing the right clothes or even doing the task you are given with all you can do!

Tips and Trick How To Cope With Anxiety

So, here are a few tips and tricks from us to anticipate anxiety in a new environment:

1. Know what you’re anxious about and what is your physical stress symptoms

Try to be aware of how your feelings physically manifest, so you can use tools such as breathing techniques to bring your body and mind back to balance. Some people might experience jitters, stomach ache, chills, or even difficulty of breathing. If you experience any of those symptoms, try some slow deep breathing.

You can also write what you’re anxious about. Is it about something you are afraid of? Or is it the worst case that can happen to you? See the probability of this happen in real life? Does it really matter?

This can be a great reference to have for future anxieties. And you can find the solutions, move on and do whatever you have to do next.

2. Make it familiar

If you already know when you will start this new job / new school, try extra care to familiarize yourself with it before your start date. What you can do is, arrive before the time schedule, and take a few extra minutes to walk around your new area.

Or you can bring some stuff that can personalize your workspace/school desk, so you will feel more at ease and confident. Having a sense of familiarity is key.

3. Find the right person

There must be some or at least one friendly person that makes you feel comfortable, even though you just met them. Just find one friendly face that you can hang with! It doesn’t matter who they are, whether it’s your colleagues or even your boss/teacher! Just use them as an anchor for your first days whenever you are feeling anxious.

4. Get to a new routine

Do you know people naturally drawn to routine? Yes, that is true, as Psychology Today reported, it can boost your mental health. If you already know what are you gonna do, you will feel more at ease. You can try to create a new healthy routine too!

5. Avoid stimulants

Some people also love to find an “escape” whenever they feel anxious about something. Some would drink more coffee, or smoke more cigarettes, or drink more energy drinks. This also leads to how you should eat well to avoid anything that can lead to blood sugar crashes.

6. Remember it is normal

You know it’s okay to feel like this right? Any time you’re out of your comfort zone, you’re going to feel anxious. Just because you feel anxious does not mean something bad is going to happen. Some anxiety can also be helpful because it keeps us focused and engaged. So, remember its okay to feel stress. Because it means you care, and it can help you perform better at work. But you have to know if it’s still in a normal state or no. Because too much worry or anxiety can also impede your performance at work or school.

When Is My Anxiety Harmful?

To know whether your anxiety in this new environment is normal or not, set a time where if its more than four weeks and your anxiety haven’t subside, then it might be a good time to visit your doctor and consult how you are gonna treat it.

There are times where anxiety can get serious and turn into an anxiety attack

Here are some signs of an anxiety attack

These are some of the more common mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:

    • feelings of danger, panic, or dread
    • nervousness or restlessness
    • rapid heart rate
    • sweating
    • trembling or chills
    • tiredness or weakness
    • gastrointestinal problems
    • difficulty focusing
    • hyperventilation

While the anxiety attack is different from a panic attack, it’s also possible to experience an anxiety and panic attack simultaneously

Here are the symptoms of a panic attack:

  • fear of dying
  • feeling like you’re losing control
  • a sense of detachment
  • heart palpitations
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pains or tightness
  • nausea
  • feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • numbness or tingling in your extremities
  • feeling hot or cold

We also collected some coping skills that might work :

  • Meditation apps and mental health apps
  • Daily exercise (look into exercise programs available on campus)
  • Journaling
  • Therapy
  • Deep breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Breaking down tasks into manageable pieces
  • Establish a weekly check-in with a parent and/or sibling
  • Practice visualization
  • Use self-talk to reframe anxious thoughts

Anxiety might always be a part of your life, whether you like it or not. But it shouldn’t overtake your day-to-day. Once you find what works best for you, life should be more beautiful!

Author: Aileen Velishya
Editor: Elga Theresia