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New Beginnings

Written by Courtney Ball

Courtney Ball is an MHV intern and junior at the University of Richmond studying Psychology and Spanish.

April 19, 2024

Embarking on new journeys, whether it’s starting an internship, a new school environment, or diving into a new job, often brings a mix of excitement and anxiety. The allure of new experiences is tempered by the stress of the unknown. How do we navigate this balance of excitement, stress and the unknown and prioritize our mental well-being during these times of transition?

Acknowledge Your Feelings

First and foremost, it’s essential to acknowledge and accept the spectrum of emotions that accompany new beginnings. Feeling nervous, anxious, or even overwhelmed is entirely normal. Change can be unsettling, but it also presents an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Give yourself permission to feel whatever emotions arise without judgment. It is also important to recognize that others are most likely feeling the same way you are. 

Set Realistic Expectations

It’s easy to succumb to the pressure of high expectations, whether they come from within ourselves or external sources. However, setting realistic expectations can alleviate unnecessary stress. Understand that it’s okay to make mistakes and that progress often comes through trial and error. Embrace the learning process and celebrate small victories along the way. Transitions are not always easy, there will be many bumps along the way. Understanding that these challenges affect everyone and working through them is possible. 

Establish a Support System

Transition periods are made more manageable with the support of others. Surround yourself with friends, family, mentors, or colleagues who can offer guidance, encouragement, and a listening ear when needed. Building a support network fosters a sense of belonging and reassurance during times of uncertainty. It can be difficult at first to find your support system in a new environment, it is important to remember that there will always be someone there to support you.

Prioritize Self-Care

Amidst the challenges of new beginnings, don’t forget to prioritize self-care. Nurture your physical, emotional, and mental well-being through activities that replenish your energy and bring you joy. Whether it’s taking a walk in nature, practicing mindfulness, indulging in creative pursuits, or simply relaxing with a good book, carve out time for yourself amidst your new, busy schedule.

Practice Mindfulness and Stress Management Techniques

Mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help calm the mind and reduce stress levels. Incorporate these practices into your daily routine to cultivate a sense of inner peace and resilience. Working this in when you wake up or before bed can help you start or end a long day. Additionally, identify healthy coping mechanisms that work for you, whether it’s journaling, exercising, or spending time with loved ones.

Seek Professional Support if Needed

If feelings of stress or anxiety become overwhelming and interfere with your daily life, don’t hesitate to seek professional support. Counseling services, therapy, or speaking with a mental health professional can provide valuable tools and resources to navigate challenges effectively. Remember, reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Many struggle when they start a new job or at a new school, it is also important to remember you are not alone in this journey.  

Embrace the Journey

Finally, embrace the journey of starting something new with an open mind and a sense of curiosity. View challenges as opportunities for growth and learning rather than obstacles to overcome. Each step you take brings you closer to realizing your goals and aspirations. Embrace the adventure that lies ahead, knowing that you have the strength and resilience to navigate whatever comes your way.

In conclusion, starting new endeavors can be both exhilarating and daunting, but with mindful attention to self-care and support systems in place, you can effectively manage stress and prioritize your mental health. Embrace the opportunities for growth and self-discovery that come with stepping outside of your comfort zone. Everyone will make mistakes and learn new things along this journey, so remember, you are capable, resilient, and deserving of success in your new beginnings.

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