Let’s be honest – we’re all a bit stressed. Whether it’s in the job search, at work, or at home, almost everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time. Stress is a natural part of life, but even the smallest of stressors can have a negative effect on your health.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, stress affects both your body and your mind, and it can lead to depression, headaches, heart disease, stroke, and stomach disorders. April is Stress Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to start managing the stressors in your daily life, especially when it comes to your job search.
Know the facts.
When we feel threatened or anxious, the stress hormone cortisol is released into our bodies. This is also known as the “fight or flight” response,” which signals the body to free up energy so it can respond to a perceived threat. The problem with this reaction is that the body’s focus shifts to fighting the stressor instead of protecting your immune system. This can lead to the symptoms of a common cold, loss of appetite, fear, anxiety, nightmares, mental uneasiness, tension, lack of focus, poor sleep, memory loss, and exhaustion.
Let it go.
As one of the world’s most beloved animated princesses begs, “Let it go.” It’s easy to let a stressful situation take up permanent residence in your mind, but you should try to avoid it. Rehashing stressful situations, like a less-than-perfect job interview or a typo in your cover letter, can cause your body to relive the stress over and over again and bring on the same negative bodily reactions every time. Instead of replaying these situations in your mind, try to alter the way you think about what happened. Replace negative thoughts with affirmative ones, like statements of self-confidence. Another way to say goodbye to stressful thoughts is to meditate or focus on your breathing, which helps you calm down.
Set attainable goals.
At some point, everyone procrastinates. What can start as a harmless way to put off tasks can turn into a habit that leaves you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and stressed. To avoid these unwanted emotions, try setting a long-term goal with smaller goals along the way. If your long-term goal is finding a job, your smaller goals may include sending 10 resumes, landing two interviews, or attending a networking event. Breaking your goal into smaller steps can help you see the bigger picture and the ways you can achieve it. And don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments along the way. Positive reinforcement can act as a motivator to help you reach your goal, so it’s important to be proud of the work you’ve done.
Don’t give up.
When you’re experiencing something stressful, it’s easy to automatically assume the worst. You may find your mind slipping into worst-case-scenario mode when you don’t hear back from a recruiter, you miss an important telephone call, or you forget to send a follow-up email. But, it’s important to remember that negative thoughts will only make your stress even worse. Consider whether the thing that’s stressing you out is something that will bother you a month or two from now. Ask yourself if you have any control over the stressful situation. Once you start seeing your stressors a little more clearly, you may find that they’re easier to handle in the long run. Take a moment to stop, re-evaluate the situation, and find some perspective. Oftentimes, the outcome is out of your hands and spending time stressing about it will only make matters worse.
Take care of yourself.
It’s no secret that job searches can drain you, both of time and energy. But forgetting to take time for yourself will only enhance your level of stress. Make sure you set aside time in your day to relax, enjoy a hobby, go for a walk, work in the garden, read a book, or do something that will help you recharge your mind and keep you both happy and relaxed. You may also consider de-cluttering your home or workspace to help put your mind at ease. Knowing what your stress triggers are, prioritizing your goals, and eliminating those stressors, can help you stay healthy during your job search.
How do you keep your cool during a stressful job search? Share your tips in the comments section below.