I'm worried about my new job
I just took a job that requires me to travel far away from home. My family and I really need this job.
People keep telling me I have "anxiety" and I'm terrified of having an anxiety attack on the road. This is all new to me. What can I do?
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One thing to know is that anxiety is not a bad thing--it is the body's natural response that mobilizes us to action. If you think about it in terms of preparation, your anxiety is helping your body to be ready to perform through something important to you or protect you from harm.
A question worth asking is, what are you really afraid of happening if you have an anxiety attack while driving? Are you worried you won't make it to your new job? Are you scared of letting your family down? Do you fear you will crash? Knowing what you fear will happen because of your anxiety can help to determine where your mental focus would be best suited. For example, if you fear you won't make it to your job, you can create a list of thoughts to support you through those fears (e.g., I am capable of making it to my new job, etc).
Despite knowing the origin of your anxiety, it can still feel very scary to go through an anxiety attack. Just anticipating anxiety can, ironically, increase your chances of experiencing it. A really great way to manage this is via mindful breathing. There are so many youtube videos and recordings of how to control your breathing in order to calm your body's anxiety response that work best even before you've felt a spike of fear. Taking time each day to practice deep breathing, even for just a few minutes, can be a helpful tool to grounding yourself in the present moment vs fearing the unknown.
Doing a practice run on the route you will be taking could also send a big message to the part of your brain that creates your fear response. Practicing getting to your location can reduce that fear of the unknown, as well as teach your anxiety that you performed the drive once and nothing bad happened; in response, your anxiety doesn't feel a need to set off your alarm so loud.
Something really important to remember is that having anxiety or an anxiety attack does not mean you are in danger. Anxiety can feel awful, but it will always come back down. Give yourself credit that you can make it through any response your body has--after all, that's what your body was built to do!
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First, congratulations on your new job. Apparently your employers think highly of you, since they hired you!
You say that "people keep telling" you that you have "anxiety" - how do they know? Have you told others you are sometimes upset or nervous? Have you been treated for anxiety? Or is that a perception that others have that you haven't been able to counter?
It's a new job, and it requires you to do new things, in new places, with new people. Being nervous is not just normal, it may actually help you be on your toes and do a good job. Unless YOU think you have anxiety, do not let others predict your future.
If you believe you are anxious, get in to see a therapist and address it. Anxiety is very treatable, and you don't have to suffer with it - but you do have to acknowledge it and work towards health.
If, in your experience, this is more a nervous energy than an anxiety issue, there are things you can do to address it: Make sure you take good care of yourself, especially in the first month or two of the new job. That means eating well, getting adequate rest, moving your body (walking, swimming, dancing, etc) every day, and staying in touch with friends and family who are positive and supportive.
Below is an article I wrote that might give you more tips too.
A quick way to combat stress
Do you ever feel like your brain is
"bouncy" and won't settle down?
Your brain, that magnificent machine, is not
much different than the brain that kept your ancestors alive in dangerous
situations. Today, though you may not
need to worry about a mountain lion having you for dinner, other stresses are
perceived and processed just you’re the physical dangers your ancestors faced.
That means a looming deadline or a fight with
your partner creates the same "fight/flight/freeze" response that
saved your ancestor way back in the day.
If you "burned off" that adrenaline and cortisol cocktail by
running or fighting off a predator, you would feel the relief and exhaustion
but you would have also metabolized the stress chemicals that are meant to keep
However, when there is no physical response to
the stressor your body is "all wound up with no place to go". Over time this creates not only the
"bouncy brain" feeling of distractibility and distress, but can
manifest itself in physical ailments.
It’s impossible to avoid stress forever, but
sometimes you just need a way to relieve the pressures of life for a moment.
Here's a quick way to settle your brain into a feeling of rest instead of
Put one hand on your chest at collarbone level
and one on your belly just under your naval.
Now, take a slow deep breath filling your abdomen with air, just like
you would fill a glass with water...from the bottom up. When you are full of air, pause for just a
moment and really feel the fullness.
Then slowly exhale, just like you would pour water out, from the top
down. Pause again at "empty"
and feel the relief of space. Repeat for
If you find yourself feeling stressed and
distressed too often, and you are a California resident, let’s talk! Book a complimentary 15 minute video consult
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Its understandable to have anxiety when transitioning to a new job/career or any other major life change. Doing some mindfulness activities such as deep breathing exercises, grounding, or mindfulness meditation can help center and calm yourself in moments of anxiety when being away from your family.
It may also be helpful to make a list of your concerns or fears about being away from your family. What are you afraid will happen while you are away? Once you've identified those fears you can challenge them and determine whether they are based on fact or your emotions.
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It is really good that you are working so hard to take care of your family. Anxiety can be so challenging, especially when new challenges have come up. It would be good to work through some of these issues you are experiencing, and examine your self care and support processes.
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Congratulations on your new job. Chances are, you accepted this opportunity knowing that sometimes, you feel heightened levels of anxiety while traveling (or at least, people are telling you this is true) Rather than working towards how to stop it from happening, it might make more sense to prepare for if it does: often, when we know how we might deal with a situation, the situation doesn't manifest.
On a more broad scope, though, tools to minimize anxious feelings abound: there are apps (headspace or happify for example) therapy helps, and tools like yoga and meditation can help reduce anxious feelings too.
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Anxiety or panic attacks can be very frightening. Here are a few "tools" you can use that will help in the short term: Keeping your mind occupied by listening to books on tape may help; Counting backwards from 100 in 7's; Naming cities that begin with each letter of the alphabet; Keeping some ice or an ice pack in a cooler beside you, which you may take out and hold in your hand or to your face; Soothing self-talk such as "This is uncomfortable, but I can handle it" or "I've been through this before and can make it through again". I recommend that you seek out a Therapist to help you with some long-term solutions to the anxiety. Additionally, learning to breathe into the abdomen and practicing this daily is another long-term solution. Yoga and meditation would be great!
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Bravo, on your success in securing a job and also for being proactive with your need. Starting a new job can be scary and having to travel away from your home and family can make it even more anxiety provoking.
Do allow yourself to be anxious about this new journey, we can be hard on ourselves, think if it was a friend that was turning to you for help, what solutions would you have offered them, but also continue to seek to secure right support as well. Talking to your physician is always a good place to start; your physician can tell you if there are organic influences causing your anxiety that may be out of your control. Additionally, talking to close or compassionate family and friends is always good. It is important that you turn to supportive people at the time of emotional need, talking about our challenges can help break the cycle of anxiety at least momentarily.
Remember, to further your success, it requires a healthy self, if you have supportive relationships relying on and turning to people who can be there without judgment is great. Healthy lifestyle like eating right, sleeping enough, and regular exercise also never fails to help improve overall emotional health.
Additional self-care measures such as repeated relaxation practices can help you become more familiar with your nervous systems reactivity and you can implement strategies to ease anxiety in various situations as it demands. The more resources the better you will be equipped to manage challenges and concerns at the time notice. You can find a lot from the internet too, use your best judgment as what may not be appropriate for you there are some wonderful apps on most smartphones that can help you learn and practice grounding strategies to ease anxiety.
If you have access to a therapy you find more specific strategies that would best fit your needs. Good luck, wish you a happy journey and much success.
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First of all, congratulations on your new role! Transitions can be challenging, and it sounds like you are experiencing a lot of change. This would be difficult for many people, and it seems that you have an added layer of challenge. I recommend visiting a therapist to determine the root cause of your anxiety and working to unravel those causes piece by piece. I know seeing a therapist can be challenging when traveling, and online counseling could be a good solution. In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite anxiety stopping strategies. 1. Grounding Exercises: When you feel your anxiety increasing, take a deep breath and begin things in your room (or where ever you are) that have things in common. For example, name all of the blue things that you can see. You can also do non-visual grounding exercises like naming all of the hte sports teams you can think of or all of the state capitals. This will get your mind off of your anxiety and connect you to space. 2. The pretzel: This is a seated pose that will stop any anxiety attack in its tracks. Start in a seated position and cross your dominate leg over your nondominant leg. Then, stretch your arms out in front of you with the back of your hands facing one another. Cross your arms in front of each other so that your palms are touching. Flip your arms into your body. You will end with your elbows by your side and your hands crossed under your chin. Close your eyes and take long breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. This calming pose will help you get through even the toughest of panic episodes. 3. Bilateral stimulation and visualization: Start in a seated position with your hands placed on your knees. Tap each knee in an alternating pattern. Close your eyes and begin visualizing a peaceful setting. The combination of bilateral stimulation and visualization will help calm your body and mind. I could go on and on, but these techniques should get you started. These techniques should help you manage anxiety in a pinch. Best of luck!
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It is ok to have anxiety. Please don't be anxious about being anxious.
If you feel anxiety coming over you, then pull off the road to a safe place. Concentrate on centering yourself and to breath slowly. Take some sips of water. Sit still. The anxiety should pass in about twenty minutes.
If it does not pass, then continue calming yourself until you feel safe enough to drive to your hotel. You can always explain to your supervisor that you were taking care of a medical problem, because anxiety is a medical problem.
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Anxiety often occurs when big or unexpected changes come to our lives, like having new jobs, relocating, or assuming new roles. Notice if your anxiety feels like excitement, concerns, or fear.
It seems like you are excited about your new job, but worried because OTHERS are telling you that you have anxiety. Let's notice how other‘s input is affecting your thoughts and maybe causing more anxiety that you may really have. If you are indeed experiencing anxiety, that does not mean that you will have panic attacks. But if you are experiencing panic attacks, or suffer them at some point, you could learn how to reduce them either with therapy or medication.
You can learn how to process it depending what triggers it and channel it, in a useful way. For example, you could plan a schedule around your new job and be meticulous about it because you are worried about how your new job may affect your routine, or, you could feel overwhelmed with your schedule, focus on the feeling, but not do anything about it. Notice the difference? The key is in recognizing if you are anxious about something that you can change or have control over it, and take action if you do, and recognizing when you cannot control things and be OK with not being in control.
I teach clients how to use meditation and cognitive reframing techniques to help calm anxiety symptoms. If you are interested in engaging in counseling or teletherapy you may contact me at 787-466-5478.
I wish you success on your new journey!
Estoy preocupada por mi nuevo trabajo
La gente me dice que tengo ansiedad y estoy aterrorizada de tener un ataque de pánico en la carretera. Esto es nuevo par a mí. ¿Que puedo hacer?
La ansiedad ocurre comúnmente cuando llegan cambios grandes o inesperados en nuestras vidas, como tener un nuevo empleo, mudarse o asumir nuevos roles.
Al parecer estás emocionada por tu nuevo trabajo, pero preocupada por que OTROS te dicen que tienes ansiedad. Notemos como la opinión de otros esta influenciando tus pensamientos y tal vez te puede estar causando más ansiedad de lo que realmente tienes. Si realmente estas pasando por un periodo de ansiedad, no es necesario que vayas a experimentar ataques de pánico. Pero si ya los haz experimentado puedes utilizar terapia o medicamentos para controlarlos.
Nota si tu ansiedad se siente emocionante, preocupada o temerosa. Puedes aprender a procesar estos sentimientos dependiendo que pensamiento los causen y canalizar la ansiedad de manera productiva. Por ejemplo: te puedes enfocar en organizar una agenda porque te preocupa como tu nuevo empleo afectara tu rutina diaria. O te puedes sentir agobio respecto a cómo tu trabajo afecta tu rutina, y no hace nada más que preocuparte constantemente. ¿Notas la diferencia? La clave está en saber cuándo te preocupas por algo que puedes cambiar, y tomar acción; vs. cuando te preocupas por algo que no puedes cambiar y aceptar que no lo puedes cambiar.
Le enseño a mis pacientes a usar técnicas de meditación y re enfoque cognitivo para manejar síntomas de ansiedad y desorden de pánico. Si te interesa una cita de consejería o tele-terapia me puedes contactar al 787-466-5478.
¡Mucho éxito en tu nueva jornada!
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There are lots of things you can do, but first: Congratulations on your new job! Commuting long distances can be stressful, but there are some things you can do.
First, make sure that your seating arrangement in your car is comfortable. If you are driving long distances on a regular basis, you want to make sure that your body is in a comfortable position. Second, select some music or podcasts that work for you, rather than against you. Soothing music is good, as well as inspirational podcasts. Alternatively, listening to books can be a great way to spend the time, improve your mood, and find inspiration. Third, make sure that you have plenty of time for your commute. If the drive normally takes you 30 minutes, plan on 45 (or if it's 45 minutes, plan on an hour). This way you won't be rushed, can take your time, can focus on your driving, and if traffic is a bit backed up, you've got plenty of time to reach your destination.
Finally, if you do find yourself being anxious in a way that impedes your driving, pull over to the side of the road, take some deep breaths, and sit with your feelings. Take a deep drink of water. Consider jotting your feelings down in a journal. If its safe, get out of the car and walk around a bit, stretching you muscles and breathing in the air.
But most of all, be kind to yourself. I wish you much success in your new job.
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