How To Handle The First Day Freak Out

We’ve all been there, that dreaded first day that kept us up all night as our minds ran dark circles under our eyes.

It comes in many forms: the first day in a new job, a new city, a new year.

We try our best to hold down the fear as we go diving head first into the great unknown, only to spend the day fumbling about in uncharted territory. No matter the mix of emotions we experience, from excitement to butterflies to nervous pee, the first day is and always will be a constant in life.

We are creatures of habit, a habit of freaking out whenever life changes (which is lot).

I had my fair share of first days in 2017. From the first day of post-grad life to the first day in a new city (times five, turns out moving was also a major theme of 2017) to the first day as an independent freelancer, it often felt like I was in a constant state of flux, barely keeping up with my own self.

So it is safe to say that the first day freak out and I have split many an Uber ride together. 

For me, the freak out usually happens when I start thinking about the high risk of failure that comes along with starting anything new.

I feel the fear creeping in alongside the doubt as my mind goes down the dark path of thinking failure is the hopeless end of everything. Ha! that’s probably the second biggest lie I’ve ever told myself, the first being that I can finish an entire super burrito from Sanchos in one sitting. 

Failure is not an ending.

It’s a beautiful beginning full of opportunity. It’s a chance to start again and do it even better. The risk of failure is not something to avoid, but something to embrace whole heartedly.

Because it’s that fear of failing that pushes you to greatness.

So if failure is nothing to fear, then there’s really no reason for the first day freak out, right?


I’ll be brutally honest, no matter how many times you face a first day or manage to convince yourself that there is nothing to fear, you are still going to freak out.

It doesn’t matter how significant that first day is, those nerves and doubts and fears will always be there. Whether you’re moving to a new country or simply joining a new knitting circle, you’re still leaving behind the comfortable and secure for the unknown, and that’s utterly terrifying.

But the first day freak out should never, I mean ever, keep you from facing that first day head on with all your might. In the end, it is up to you whether you will let the freak out freeze you in fear or make you rise to the challenge.

So how do you handle the first day freak out?

Be afraid.

Be so terrified that your knees shake and your palms sweat and your flight or fight kicks in. Let the doubts run their course, your mind its circles, and your feet the paced path. Know that failure sits on the other side of all your possible mistakes, and understand that you will encounter it along the way.

Be afraid, but don’t forget to ask yourself: are the butterflies in your stomach quaking in fear, huddled together in the corner shaking as a giant mass of nerves trying to avoid all possibilities of failure? Or are the butterflies in your stomach dancing around in excitement, hardly able to contain themselves in anticipation for all the opportunities to come?

Be afraid.

Freak the [insert choice explicit word here] out.

And then go do it anyway.