Stress and frustration can be major enemies during a job search. Too much stress can lead to an inability to sleep and a lack of motivation, not to mention decreased performance during interviews and overall negativity. Looking for work can be especially stressful if you have just experienced the trauma of being fired or laid off, or if the amount of money in your bank account is perilously small. At its worst, job-search stress can lead to depression. To keep your stress levels low and your chances of success high, try the following techniques:
—Take care of your body. Stress is a physical reaction to unresolved problems, and you can treat it physically. Eating three balanced, healthy meals every day and exercising regularly goes a long way toward keeping stress down. So does getting enough sleep and staying away from unhealthy habits, like drinking alcohol to excess and smoking.
—Structure the process. Good organization can keep a job search from feeling overwhelming. Identify the steps you need to take, and tackle them one at a time, so that they feel more manageable. Use a calendar and set goals to check your forward progress.
—Seek community. You’re not alone in being stressed out over the hunt for work, and reaching out to others can help you realize that. Joining job-search clubs or support groups can help you manage your stress, and so can taking a class, volunteering, or becoming more active in professional groups.
—Tackle the financial aspects head-on. Worries over money can break your focus at critical moments and hurt your job search. To stay on track, make a list of what you need and how much it costs, then use this data to create a budget. Be open with family members who will experience the changes in your finances so that everyone knows what to expect during the transition to a more rigid spending plan.