How to Make One of the Hardest Changes in Your Life a Little Bit Easier
I started my first full-time job a little over a month ago and I made A LOT of mistakes along the way. Many of these mistakes left me feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and unhealthy because I simply wasn’t taking care of myself. Transitioning from a part-time job to beginning my very first adult full-time job took a lot more out of me than I had anticipated. I have struggled significantly over the last month with my mental health, and I hope I can help you all by sharing this quick list of what I have learned and wish I had known before starting my first month working full-time.
If you tell yourself you are excited about going to work, even when completing the most mundane task, it can still be enjoyable! Your attitude about work is entirely based on the way you choose to perceive it. If you choose to complain every day about going to work... you aren’t going to want to.
You will most likely spend more time at your desk than in your apartment, therefore decorating is a MUST. Making your desk a relaxing and productive space really impacts your ability to complete your best work (especially when you see all your photos of your dogs)!
Don’t just treat the people in your office like co-workers but as potential friends instead. You are around these people 40 plus hours a week, befriending them will make work more fun and increase your desire to be there.
Saving money is great, we should all strive to save! However, when you first begin a salaried job don’t stress out about how little you are able to save. Between paying bills and having a social life it is perfectly normal not to be able to save a lot for the first few months. So rather than freak out (like I did) about the small amount you saved from your first paycheck, be proud of yourself for learning how to budget and save anything at all. Shoutout to my boss for helping me realize this, otherwise I would probably have spontaneously combusted due to stress by now.
But speaking of saving, pack your lunch for work! I really suck at this and I have wasted a stupid amount of money on Chipotle, Einstein’s, and Lyfe Kitchen. You will save so much money and eat much healthier if you meal prep and bring your lunch. Also, if you live in the Tundra, like I will in the next few weeks, you won’t have to leave the office to get food.
Force yourself to go on at least one walk during the work day. I try to walk around a mile every day during my lunch break, it only takes 15 minutes and I feel so much more productive the rest of the afternoon.
Try to force yourself to do activities after work. I’m still struggling with this personally because I am always so tired after work that I just want to sit on my couch and watch Friends with a glass of wine… however, this is a terrible habit that I am trying to break. Especially if you’re in a new city it will be a good way to network and meet new people!
Don’t change into your pajamas when you get home at from work at 5 pm… I do this all the time and I lose four plus hours of time I could spend with friends or doing something productive.
Plan your meals! I can’t tell you how much food I have wasted or how many frozen pizzas I have made because I come home way too tired, mostly too lazy, to cook. If you make your meals ahead of time or even just know exactly what you are going to make when you get home you are so much more likely to actually make a healthy dinner.
Start a workout schedule as soon as you start your job! You are already changing your routine by beginning a 9-5 so your body and mind will naturally adjust to adding gym time to your schedule right away. However, if you wait until three weeks into the job to start working out like I did it becomes much more difficult to motivate to go to the gym after a long day of work.
I’m sure there are hundreds of things I am going to learn as I continue with my career. I look forward to embracing change in the future rather than shying away from it as I have lately. I have been incredibly lucky to have found a mentor within my company who has taken me under their wing and truly helped me learn how to "adult". Without her constant guidance thus far I would not have learned many of these lessons that I just shared with you. I hope that you feel a little more prepared for your future full-time job or that you feel less alone knowing that I too struggled with this transition.