I started a new job this week! CONGRATULATIONS TO MEEEE 🎉🎉🎉
As an introvert and highly sensitive person (yes, I’m a blast at parties…SNORT), most things that are exciting are also pretty stressful. Travel, moving, making new friends, first dates, change in general…awesome but exhausting. Changing jobs too. 100%.
There are all the emotions around leaving a job–sadness over leaving some great coworkers, regret that I gave too many shits about things that didn’t matter, wishing I’d been braver and spoken up for myself more. All of which should get more than a weekend to process (note to self: quit leaving yourself zero time between jobs). And then there are the emotions around starting a new job–excitement, delight, fear, imposter syndrome, ANXIETY, self-doubt, nervous sweating, puking, etc. (OK, thankfully there was no puking.)
Basically, changing jobs means ALL THE FEELS! Positive, negative, and in between. A few ideas for self-care:
- Feel those feels. Even when they’re uncomfortable. Acknowledge them & try to let them float on by, rather than denying them or numbing them.
- GET ENOUGH SLEEP! Maybe even start a nighttime routine to wind down, like tea, turning off TV/phone, and reading in bed a little? (she said wistfully, knowing it was probably unrealistic)
- DRINK WATER + EAT FOOD. Yes, there are a thousand names to remember and acronyms to learn and things to get up to speed on, but the world will NOT END if you eat lunch!
- Move. Stretch. Walk around the office/building/block. Fresh air with Terry Gross.
- Meditate or repeat some positive affirmations to fight imposter syndrome, like “People value my work. I’m good at what I do. There’s always a learning curve with a new job. I don’t have to prove anything. People will like and accept me the way I am. Making new friends takes time. I’m doing my best, and that’s good enough!”
- Make plans to keep in touch with old coworkers and get to know new ones, but make sure there’s plenty of alone time too.
- Reward yourself & celebrate in healthy ways (bubble bath!) rather than, um, shopping and alcohol and donuts (whoops).
Originally, I had planned to take yesterday and Monday off work and be out of town for a long weekend, hanging out with old friends. Then I got the new job. “No biggie,” I thought. “I’ll just shorten the trip to Saturday and Sunday. Drive up for three hours Saturday morning, drive back three hours Sunday night.”
INSERT GUFFAW. Um…kind of an unrealistic plan. Drive for six hours the weekend after starting a new job? Leaving, like, zero time to process and debrief and unwind?
While talking to my sister, a big fan of self-care (hashtag bless, or whatever), she pointed out that I didn’t have to go. “Your friends will understand!” she said. BUT WHAT IF THEY HATE ME? (It’s fun to also be a people-pleaser on top of being an anxious, sensitive introvert.) Spoiler alert: True friends won’t hate you for taking care of yourself.
So here I am, on the couch with my cat asleep on my lap and a juicy mystery novel waiting to be cracked open. As expected, I was totes drained and exhausted in the best way after a week at a new job. I am bursting with happiness and excitement, but my brain is full, and my introvert batteries need to recharge. Staying home was the best decision I could’ve made! It’s hard, but I hope I can keep choosing self-care and worry less about what other people think.
Not everybody encourages self-care or gets why it’s so important. It takes self-love, mindfulness, respect for your needs, and even bravery to do something different and choose to put your needs first. Self-care is not self-indulgent. That’s, like, my mantra, and I hope eventually it sinks in.