Battling Holiday Stressors While Job Searching

The warmth has gone from the sun, the sun is often not in the sky when you are awake and your sugar intake is increasing with each sip and nibble of Christmas cheer. You are experiencing more physical and emotional crashes and peaks throughout the day and night, and yet you wonder why you are feeling blue and maybe bummed out. First and foremost, you are not alone. Secondly the lack of daylight hours affects mood. Being unemployed, underemployed or unhappy in your work situation makes everything else irrelevant…even Santa’s ho ho ho’s can be irritating.

The world is going to rotate on its axis whether you get out of bed or not so you might as well make the most of what this season has to offer. Keep in mind that December is a strong hiring month and this is not the time to slack off looking for work or making your daily contributions to the workplace. Because there are so many distractions this time of year it is easy to find make busy projects that distract from a job search or work concentration.

Implement a few of these ideas as you plan your next week:

  1. Volunteer. Give back to those more needy than you. A couple hours a week at the Salvation Army handing out toys, serving at a soup kitchen, packing at The Food Bank or visiting at senior residences goes a long way to a realistic self examination of why you are so blue.
  2. Eat less sugar and drink less alcohol. Easy to say, hard to do. Plan before you go out how much you will imbibe, when you reach your limit, quit and switch to sugarless food and drink.
  3. Work out, exercise some way, some how. If time is an issue, walk at lunch, get off public transit a stop or two earlier. Climb stairs rather than take an elevator. Carry heavier parcels, just make sure you are balanced.
  4. Attend seminars, workshops, lectures on topics you are passionate about or know nothing about, you never know what you will learn and discover.
  5. Spend time socially with people who are fun and stimulating. Your couch will always be there. Accept every invitation that comes your way.
  6. Organize a pot luck party. Everybody brings a food item so there is no financial or time stressors on the host.
  7. Set a goal of something you want to accomplish the next day at the end of each day. If there is no reason to get out of bed, why bother. Setting a goal gives you a reason to get up and moving. Watch the domino effect take over as you accomplish one task and then another.
  8. Dress up a little more than usual. Wear your snowman earrings or a tie with Santa faces on it while sitting at your computer.
  9. Make a plan to get out of the house and be with people for at least an hour or two per day. Sit in a coffee shop or library, chat up the bank teller, arrange for coffee or lunch with a friend, babysit the neighbors kids. Get up, out and stimulated.
  10. 10.Engage in something decadent without any guilt. A chocolate cappuccino with sprinkles will lift any mood (chocolate produces happy hormones).
  11. 11. Go to a movie/concert in the middle of the day and then make up your time in the evening or on the weekend.
  12. 12.Go outside. Get some sunshine and fresh air. Walk around and truly look at what is around you. Say hello to complete strangers.
  13. 13. If your day isn’t being made, strategize ways you can make someone else’s day. Buy a complete stranger a beverage at your local coffee shop, take a box of Mandarin oranges to the folks at your bank, make cookies to give to service providers like hairdressers, garage mechanics or bank tellers.
  14. 14.Borrow a neighbors dog for a day or organize to decorate Christmas cookies with the kids next door. Get out of your head and into someone else’s.
  15. 15.Journal. Monitor your thoughts and feelings for a week to see how you are managing yourself while you journey through the changes you are implementing.
  16. 16.Step outside your comfort zone and do something you would not normally do that will charge up your search and make you feel good about yourself.

The main premise here is you don’t want to spend much time alone when not job hunting. You need the stimulation and creativity of others to make these ideas work. Ask for what you need. People are busy but they also want to help.

Colleen Clarke
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer

Author of Networking How To Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It

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