Panic attack first day of work (Tips)

In this guide, we will discuss “panic attack first day of work” and some tips that can help you manage your anxiety on the first day of work. 

Panic attack first day of work

Having a panic attack on your first day of work could be one of your biggest fears and it may cause make you to feel very anxious about the possibility of having one and causing a bad impression, even making you feel ashamed or embarrassed.

In addition, getting used to a new job, new boss, new co-workers can add a lot of stress to the situation so worrying over having a panic attack can be very overwhelming and exhausting.

However, you are not the first and the last person to feel like this over a new job, in fact, it is completely normal.

You may be wondering at this point;

What can I do to manage my anxiety over the first day at work?

There are a few tips about how to overcome anxiety when facing your first day at work:

  1. Recognize your physical symptoms and acknowledge you are feeling anxious. Being aware of your own fear and how it manifests physiologically can help you understand how your body reacts and what to do next, such as implementing breathing exercises. 
  2. Adapt your workspace however you feel more comfortable, familiarize with it, personalize it so it can start giving you that sense of familiarity and stops being an unknown place resulting in feeling more comfortable.
  3. Know your co-workers and find one that you feel more comfortable with, that one person that seems “familiar” or with a “friendly face”. He/she can become your anchor later on, during those days when you feel the most anxious.
  4. Getting used to your new routine. It has been suggested by many professionals and scientists that we tend to feel more comfortable and in control over our lives and situations when we have a routine, where we know what to expect from our environment. Even though you do not know all of your duties, establishing a routine can make you feel less anxious and more in control.
  5. Remember that feeling a bit anxious is normal. Everyone has been through it at some point but it will eventually fade away while you get familiar with your workplace, the people you work with and the duties. However, if after a few weeks or even a month, you are still feeling anxious then it may be necessary to consult with a mental health professional for additional help/advice on how to handle your anxiety.

There are also a lot of jobs which suit panic attack sufferers more. You should look into these if you consistently suffer from panic attacks.

What if I have a panic attack during my first day?

If you are during your first day, in the beginning, or middle of it, and you start to feel like you are about to die of a heart attack, that you are about to go crazy or lose your mind, your throat may close up and your breathing rate becomes faster, it is when you realize you are experiencing a panic attack.

You never get used to it and every episode may be experienced with the same intensity as the last one.

After the episode has passed, you may feel ashamed, embarrassed, that something is wrong with you and just not normal or sort of not like the rest of the people.

However, let us tell you that panic disorder is not the only anxiety disorder that exists, many people experience social anxiety, phobias, generalized anxiety, etc., this means you are not alone in your struggle.

If you are taking medication, make sure you keep it close.

Although you may know at this point there are uncomfortable side effects and you may already know how to cope with them, still, it is important to consult your therapist or doctor if you feel the symptoms have worsened, or they are more frequent.

Focusing on your breathing is vital

It may sound obvious and simple but it is vital to “deactivate” your body at a physiological level.

According to Monica Torres from the huff post, “focused breathing centers our bodies when we are being hijacked by a surge of panic. Research has linked breathing to lower stress levels and reduced negative anxiety and emotions.”

You may know at this point that when you are having a panic attack our body’s “fight or flight” response gets activated realizing adrenaline and hormones to prepare us to fight or run away from a potential threat, however, we know already that during a panic attack our body reacts the same way but there is no rational or potential threat. 

Accepting your symptoms

When we have a panic attack we may experience symptoms that come with an overwhelming feeling or sense of being afraid accompanied by physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, shaking, chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling dizzy, papalizing terror, among others.

These symptoms can become uncomfortable and scary but instead of trying to pretend as if nothing is happening, we need to accept them in an attempt to shorten the panic attack. 

Remember, we are always feeding with thoughts of “this is not the time to have a panic attack”, “I will get fired if they find out”, “No one will want to talk to me because they will think I am weird”, and so on.

It is a vicious cycle that keeps feeding the panic attack and stopping it by facing your fear can become quite challenging but not impossible.

Rationalize your thoughts

This is directly connected to the previous statement.

We know how when having a panic attack we stop thinking logically, and we tend to have poor decision-making.

However, there is a scientific explanation on why this happens and it is simply because there are other regions in the brain that take over when the brain receives the signal to fight or flee from a potential threat so decision-making loses importance at that moment since it is not “effective” for the current situation.

However, you can intentionally put those logical regions to use again by narrating the panic attack to yourself, this will engage reasoning and decision-making regions (pre-frontal cortex) and put them to use.

In addition, take a few minutes to assess and analyze your surroundings engaging other senses, such as smell, textures, colours, etc. 

Calling a friend…

If you are having a panic attack at work, it may help to call someone you know and trust, either a relative or a friend.

This can help you go through your panic attack a lot easier by hearing a familiar voice. 

People suffering from panic attacks are used to keeping thing to themselves but when this happens at work can be a very isolating event that will expose you and will probably make you feel vulnerable.

Looking out for support and sharing our experience with someone we know and seems to understand what we are going through, can help us gain control over the situation.

Especially when some of them are a call/text/email away from supporting you and making you feel better.

Know your triggers and write them down

If you tend to have panic attacks frequently at work, try to identify the triggers and write them down.

This will let you analize and assess them later on in a more logical and rational letting you set up a plan to face them.

In addition, you could also try journaling about how you tend to feel before and after a panic attack.

This can also help you identify any hidden feelings, thoughts, situations, etc., related to the panic attacks.

Why is this blog about panic attack first day of work important?

As we have discusses, having a panic attack the first day of work can be overwhelming, frightening, scary, among other things, but it does not necessarily mean we are entirely on our own or feeling there is nothing we can do about it since “it will eventually happen”.

Here we have explained some tips and tricks on how to manage anxiety at work, especially when you are experiencing your first day.

Either through breathing exercises, calling a friend, accepting the physiological symptoms, assessing your surroundings or challenging your thoughts, you could gain some control over your anxiety and practice it not only at work but in any other context, you may face in your daily life.

Please feel free to comments in the comments section!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about panic attack first day of work

How do I overcome anxiety at work?

There are several ways to overcome anxiety at work. Here are some simple ways to manage your anxiety:

– Try to get away from your computer or make time to stay away, have something to drink, stretch your legs and then come back.

– Try stretching your muscles and pausing your activities for a few minutes.

– Communicate with co-workers and other people around you.

– Have something to drink (water preferably) but avoid caffeine since it can worsen your anxiety.

– Take a few minutes to close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly.

– Be aware of your breathing and your body.

– Take a few minutes to meditate.

Should I go to work after a panic attack?

You can go to work after a panic attack unless you have suffered an injury or you have a complicated medical condition.

In addition, facing your fear or concerns after the panic attack can make you have control over your anxiety.

How can I calm my nerves on the first day of work?

Calming your nerves on the first day of work will require breathing exercises, challenging and rationalizing your thoughts and thinking how feeling anxious when facing a new environment (e.g a new workplace, co-workers, responsibilities, etc.) is normal but it will get better in time. 

Can anxiety cause you to miss work?

Anxiety can cause you to miss work since, when it is left untreated, it can become very disabling preventing you from even going out of your own home.

However, if your anxiety is getting too overwhelming or it is taking control over your life (affecting it significantly), it is recommended to find professional help for advice and guidance. 

Can I be fired for having panic attacks?

Your employer shouldn’t fire you for having panic attacks, it can be taken as discrimination for having a disability.

They will probably have a conversation with you about how they can make your work environment more secure and enjoyable for you to perform your duties or even reassign to a different department, really depends on what you have discussed with them. 


Rodriguez-Cayro, K. (2018, Jul.) 6 Ways To Deal With New-Job Anxiety, According to Experts. Retrieved from

Torres, M. (2019, Mar.) How to Stop A Panic Attack At Work, From Someone Who has been there. Retrieved from

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