Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Job Search Stress and How to Deal with It

If you have been on the hunt for new career opportunities for a while, you are undoubtedly feeling at least one of the following:

• Lack of energy
• Low motivation
• Stressed out
• Feeling down

As someone who has ‘been there’ and ‘done that’, know that these feelings of melancholy will pass once they are acknowledged and addressed. In addition to the tonnes of self-help techniques, which can be powerful on their own, you should also know that there isn’t any shame in getting support through professional counselling and support groups. Regardless of the method you use to address your current mental state, you should also consider the possibility that feelings of melancholy have become a habit and like any other unhealthy habit, it needs to be broken.

Pleasurable Events
Among the first things we do when we are feeling down is to quit the things that we were once accustomed to doing. The fact that you no longer feel motivated to participate in these pleasurable activities is precisely the reason to keep doing them. Many studies have shown that participating in pleasurable activities on a daily basis will enhance your mood. “One pleasurable event per day will help keep your ‘blues’ away.”

When you are feeling down, being active is, quite possibly, the very last thing you feel like doing. However, according to some, it is yet another easily available tool in your stress- management toolbox. Getting back into the routine of being active is like killing 3 birds with one stone: the blood flowing to different parts of your body will give you a boost of energy, the time spent taking care of yourself will provide you with a respite from your emotional slump and you will improve your overall weight and physical health. You don’t have to join a gym, a daily walk or run will also do wonders, but know that having a workout buddy may help you with sticking to your regime.

Social Activities
Give your time to those who can capitalize on your wealth of knowledge or use your company. While you don’t have to become the next Mother Teresa, volunteering for a worthy cause can boost your energy, open doors to meeting new people and force you to be exposed to new ideas and opportunities. If you aren’t yet up to interacting with humans, give your time to an animal shelter.

Change Something

De-cluttering your workspace or cleaning something in your home can also help alleviate your ‘hum drums’. If you find the idea of cleaning or de-cluttering a whole room, start small with perhaps a countertop or a drawer.

Use the Internet

Sign up to receive humorous or inspirational quotes and or cartoons directly into your inbox on a daily basis. Alternatively, sign up to ‘follow’ people you admire on Twitter or scour YouTube videos for uploads that make you smile. Good comedy is timeless.

Take Regular Breaks

Studies show that spending more than 90 minutes at time doing any activity, except for sleeping, will reduce your productivity and consequently increase your stress level. Some folks swear that their ‘glums’ go away just by turning the radio on to their favourite station and dancing around the room.

Don’t Eat Junk Food

The temporary ‘high’ is not worth the calories and there is no benefit to becoming addicted to sugar, caffeine and the like. Think of the long-term benefits rather than the short-term pleasures.

Learn Something New
There are plenty of resources available for people who are interested in learning. In addition to the multitude of tutorials available on the Internet, you can also meander down to your local library and pock up some books on subjects that may be of interest. When was the last time your library card got a workout?

Get Some Fresh Air
At the very minimum, open the curtains and a window. Even if it is raining out, the change of air to your workspace will be refreshing.

The above is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do when you are feeling down, but they do serve as a starting point and they don’t cost anything to try. My only closing advice is that you take the time to monitor your feelings while participating in the activity and if it feels good and doesn’t hurt anyone, including yourself, keep doing it.
Be good to yourself!

© Salvino 03.09.11

Copyright © 2011, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved.Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2011, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of the author, Mary Salvino.“Career Matters” is a blog hosted by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career Planning.com. This blog is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. For any questions or comments that are better addressed privately, please feel free to e-mail Mary directly at Mary.Salvino@shaw.ca