Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes. As with other mental states such as depression, individuals who occasionally have anxious feelings do not necessarily have to be clinically diagnosed and medicated. If the anxious feelings occur daily for an extended period, medical help is worth considering. However, if your anxiety stems from a new environment (home, work, club, etc.), those feelings are generally pretty common and can be kept at bay with a little effort.
The ever-present fear of disease that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic caused anxiety to peak across the nation. Mental health screenings in schools determined that many youngsters were suppressing their anxiety relative to the pandemic. Suppression is certainly not a healthy way of dealing with anxiety. Fortunately, the pandemic is subsiding, and the proverbial cloud over everyone’s head will hopefully be gone soon.
However, as the pandemic ends, many people will be returning to their offices or schools. They may even meet their coworkers for the first time if they were hired during the stay-at-home orders that moved so many businesses to the remote work model. In the aftermath of the pandemic, “new environment” anxiety will be unavoidable for many, so here are a few tips for adjusting.
We already know that suppression is one of the worst ways of dealing with anxiety. You’re going to a new place, and unless you’re cut from an extremely rare cloth, you’re going to be nervous. That nervousness stems from uncertainty. The best thing you can do to rid yourself of some of it is to prepare, prepare, and prepare a little more. Show up to work early, send an extra email asking about the dress code, re-read your new employee handbook, and no matter what the new environment is: take a deep breath and accept your anxiety, knowing it will get better.
Find a Mentor
Odds are there will be a few people in your new environment who make you feel comfortable immediately. There is a good chance this is by design. Don’t be afraid to thank them for making you feel welcomed. Ask if they wouldn’t mind having a conversation about this new environment and some of the ins and outs. Finding a mentor is one of the best ways to deal with anxiety.
Even after months at a new location, there are sure to be occasional feelings of anxiety that dwell no matter how well you do at following these tips. One way to shake those feelings is to become a mentor yourself. Not only does it look good to employers and truly help the team, but it also is a good way to drive home that you’re no longer the newest person in your group.
You Put Out What You Put In
Some people tend to reach for substances when anxiety is overflowing, but coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol are only temporary means of coping and ultimately perpetuate the bigger problem of being uncomfortable in a new place. Taking some medications can lead to dependency, causing awkward and ultimately unhealthy situations.
On the other hand, eating healthy can keep the mind steady, helping you shed anxiety. Focus foods like leafy greens and nuts are great substitutes for coffee if you’re in a new place.
No matter how well you do and how active you are at fighting off your anxiety, sometimes it just does not go away. If you truly believe your new situation is right for you, it may be time to consult a medical professional. On the other hand, if the problem isn’t you, it may be time to look for another new environment where you will be more comfortable.
About the Author: Ryan Ayers. I am a researcher and consultant within multiple industries including information technology, blockchain and business development.
I’m always up for a challenge and I enjoy working with startups as well as fortune 500 companies. When I’m not working, I love to read science fiction novels and watching the LA Clippers.
July is BIPOC Mental Health Month
In 2008 the United States government designated July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month “to enhance public awareness of mental illness …. among minorities.”
Bebe Moore Campbell was an American author and mental health advocate who wrote works of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature about the harmful effects of racism and the mental health impacts on those affected.
Each July, www.rtor.org and its sponsor Laurel House, Inc. honor the legacy of Bebe Moore Campbell. We believe in using language that puts people first and emphasizes their individuality and unique contributions rather than their health or demographic status. Just as we do not refer to people living with schizophrenia as “schizophrenics,” we avoid terms such as “minority” and “marginalized” when referring to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and BIPOC Mental Health Month.
Please join us in recognizing the unique struggles BIPOC face and bringing awareness to the need for adequate, accessible, culturally relevant mental health treatment, care, and services.
Our recent blog post, 8 Accessible Mental Health Resources for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), contains several links to online resources promoting the emotional wellbeing and access to mental health care for these communities.
www.rtor.org and Laurel House are committed to the advancement of racial equity and social justice and to making mental health services available to all.
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The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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One thought on “How to Adjust to a New Environment as a Person with Anxiety”
Anxiety is a fear, worry, or discomfort regarding social situations. Most people experience some kind of social anxiety throughout their lives. One common cause of our social anxiety is a change in our environment. When we get a new job, move to a new town, or transfer to a new school we often find ourselves lonely and not yet familiar with all the new faces we are surrounded by.