How I'm Trying to Find My Chill Amid the Stress of Starting a New Job

Friday, April 23, 2021

I told you last week that I was gearing up to start a new job after 13.5 years at the old one. The truth is that I did start a new job in between, way back in 2010, but it wasn't the right fit... so I ended up going back to the job I'd had before it! I'm not planning to do that this time, but the fact remains that starting a new job – even the right one – is incredibly exhausting.

Simply put, it takes a lot of brain power to do new things, even things that are technically simple. Switching from Zoom to Slack & from Basecamp to Trello & even from one laptop to another can be surprisingly taxing, creating new mental pathways that identify my "new normal." And that's on top of learning the ins & outs of the job itself & interacting with a whole slew of brand new people. 

In short, it's stressful to be the person who doesn't know anything. So I'm trying my best to stay calm & cool & collected (lol, yes, so in keeping with my personality) by feeling in control of other areas of my life. Here's how.

1. A clean house
On my week off between jobs, Mike & I had house cleaners come. We obviously haven't had anyone in our place since the pandemic began, so this was a big deal. Cardinal Maids did an incredible job (I highly recommend them for this occasional luxury!), but I was worried that our apartment would soon settle back into chaos & mess. 

Instead, I've ben thrilled that Mike has been such a helpful partner in keeping things neat & clean, which brings me peace and has the added benefit of making our home feels less small & cramped. I pick up during the day for extra steps & at night before I go to bed.

2. Earlier bedtimes
I am the ultimate night owl, even diagnosed with a circadian rhythm disorder that means that my body simply prefers to be awake at night. At my old job, I could start work at 10am & just work late, but now, with earlier-than-usual mornings, I'm trying to be good to my body & make extra-sure that I'm getting enough sleep. 

This week, at least it's been easier than expected because I've been so freaking exhausted at the end of the workday. One night I was in bed by 8pm! I was very proud of myself yesterday for staying up through Grey's Anatomy
3. Sleep meditations
I've been listening to my favorite sleep meditations before bed, as I drift off to sleep, which keeps me calm & helps me sleep better. (Incidentally, my first work assignment is to write about nighttime anxiety...)

I usually listen to Peloton sleep meditations, especially those led by instructors Chelsea & Ross, & I also bought an app called Expectful that I like. Ideally, I hope to fall asleep before each meditation ends, but if not, they still usually help soothe me. 

4. Limited social media
Truth be told, this one wasn't really intentional... I've just been so tired that I haven't had the opportunity to be on social media much. Also, in my last job, I spent a decent amount of time on social media for work, which isn't so much the case this time around, so I'm inherently online less. 

One thing I have done intentionally is not check my social media or my personal email before the start of the workday, which makes for quiet, calm mornings with no distractions. I'll sit down at my computer a couple minutes before 9am so I can check in on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter, but then, once the workday begins, I don't check them at all, except maybe at lunch. 

Honestly, it feels good. For seven years, I worked as a digital media manager, which meant I literally could not take social media breaks even when I wanted to. It's nice to be able to now, especially without even trying. 

5. No Facebook groups
Until my week off, I hadn't realized just how many Facebook group posts were showing up in my personal feed. I was barely seeing any posts from the actual humans I know & wanted to hear from! Instead, I'd find myself engaged in entertaining but utterly stupid conversations about The Bachelor or whatever the hell else I've opted into.

Sometimes, though, I'd resound to something, & someone would come after me, & I'd get all worked up about a topic that didn't matter, arguing with a person I didn't know. For what? Just for the sake of the stress? Nope. I stayed in the groups but unfollowed them all so they don't show up in my feed.


I've also trying to eat well, to stay hydrated, & to move a little, when I can, even if it's just 15 minutes on the bike; I've also been getting dressed every day, like a real person. All of these little bits of normalcy, routine, & wellness are keeping me moving forward without, like, pitching forward & falling flat on my face.

It's hard learning new stuff, man. No wonder little kids are always taking naps & conking out early! I'm exhausted, but I'm happy; I'm excited about this new job, & I'm doing the best I can.

How do you stay calm when life feels stressful? Now accepting tips & tricks...

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