What are you giving yourself for Christmas – and yes, that’s a serious question. It is important that when you’re involved in the hard work of looking for a job you remember to take care of yourself and that includes a self-gift in the form of investing in yourself – both in terms of time and money.
‘Pay’ for expert help
There is no denying that you can do most if not all of the job search steps on your own but why not invest a bit in some top quality advice. And I’ve put pay in quotes in the heading because often we are almost as reticent (or sometimes even more) to invest time – we avoid committing to free/inexpensive workshops and possibly miss learning techniques that can help us save time, money and energy that we have been spending struggling over something that someone else has an easy solution to. So next time don’t ignore that meetup that seems likely to teach you a trick or two in the job search process or declare automatically that you’re far too busy and/or broke to go to that $25 seminar without consulting your calendar or chequing account. Plus, you never know who you might meet at such an event that might help you in unexpected ways.
AllNo work and no play …
Numerous studies have pointed to strong associations between unemployment and poor physical and mental health. There is no denying that being unemployed is bad for you (and your family and community). You need to invest in yourself to counteract these potential negative effects and nothing is as powerful as exercise. So consider purchasing a gym membership or, if that is financially out of reach, commit to walking for at least half an hour every day (and if you decide to move on to jogging if you shop carefully less than $100 should get you a decent pair of shoes). Don’t neglect your mental health either – meditation is creating a big buzz these days and although I wouldn’t call it ‘easy’ (I don’t think I can manage to silence that inner voice for more than a couple of seconds at a time but I keep trying) it certainly has absolutely no financial barriers.
Give yourself the gift of compassion
It is far too easy to get sucked into a downward spiral of self-criticism, defeatism and lethargy when you are out of work and searching for a new position. Even if you are employed but in a job you don’t find engaging/enjoyable you may find yourself filled with lots of conflicting emotions – worried that you have ended up in such an unsatisfying position because of some flaw within yourself, concerned that you should feel gratitude for having a job while on the other hand dreading each day and aware that your daily drudgery is turning you into a person you don’t like very much and that this is bleeding over into all areas of your life. Cut yourself some slack by trying some of the following methods to come to terms with your anxieties and ease the psychological burden which may be holding back your job search and networking efforts in ways you don’t even realize:
- try a gratitude meditation and learn to ‘anchor’ yourself with a mantra that you can come back to when you feel under stress
- if sitting still isn’t your thing try a mindful walking meditation
- write down what is bothering you on your ‘worry list’ and then let it go until your scheduled ‘worryfest’ (a set block of time that you put aside each day to review your worries – when you get to scanning your list you may find your concerns much less important than you thought they were)
- do something nice for someone else – this doesn’t need to be big, could be sending them a ‘thinking of you’ email or smiling at a stranger – research shows that increasing others well-being is one of the biggest happiness boosters going
I hope you’ll try some of these activities and let me know how they worked for you – either by leaving a comment below or sending me an email at susan at yyjworks.com.