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  • Writer's pictureSteph

Honoring your well-being during a job search

Updated: Jun 7

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Designing a balanced job search

One of the wisest things you can do when looking to switch jobs or reenter the workforce is to surround your efforts with abundant amounts of self-care, support, and restoration. I've coached job seekers for 20 years and performed my own job searches at various times in my career. Without hesitation, I can say those who invest time in self-care activities have an easier time and sometimes even reach their goal faster.

Still need convincing to pace yourself? I know I did. As an athlete, I'm used to driving hard to reach my desired goals. I was the one who arrived early and was last to leave the practice field. This relentless dedication is something shared by many high-achievers and it has its place. Our passion and work ethic can separate us from the pack in a really positive way. For something as complex as a job search, and with many components outside of our control, it's worthwhile to attend to our mind, body, and soul during the process. After all, even in sports, we work out at varying intensities and strategically plan for "off days" to rest, build muscle, and prevent injury.

Here are some ways to honor our well-being when job searching:

Accept that we're human.

I figured I would start with the most difficult piece: mindset! It is commendable to want to do it all and if you're reading this, I'm sure your dreams are incredible. Add on things like a difficult work environment, financial need, and/or hunger for fulfilling work and it's no wonder that we slip into an urgent, if not panicked, mind space. Still; we are humans with finite time. We keep adding to our task lists, skimp on sleep, and then become frustrated with ourselves when we cannot sustain this way of living. Our self-worth takes a dive, relationships suffer, and we lose momentum in the job search, itself.

There is a better way!

Give yourself the gift of self-compassion and plan for a supportive job search that acknowledges we are human. We have all had bosses who give us unreasonable workloads and deadlines. When leading our job searches, let's show ourselves kindness, set realistic steps toward our goals, and enjoy regular breaks to recharge.

You will achieve more and perform better in interviews by structuring your search with a balanced approach that includes quality work and time for things like sleep, exercise, delicious food, fresh air, connecting with others, and enjoying other parts of your life.

Enlist others in your search.

Sure; you can technically do a job search on your own and never talk to anyone else, and it is something I wish for no one to ever experience. The isolation is devastating and you will miss out on beautiful things like support, inspiration, and becoming a stronger version of yourself. I will go so far as to ask you if you gain only one thing from this article: involve others in your search. We learn from each other and we soar when supported by the right people.

There are many ways to build your own Dream Team and the best part is, that you get to customize your own community of support. This could include a job search coach (like me :-) plus mentors and supportive friends to encourage and inspire you. Talking with others produces new insights, strategies, and approaches. Having people on your side also builds confidence, keeps you accountable, and is more enjoyable.

In addition, a resource that I wish could be used more when job searching is including a therapist or other wellness resource on the team. Our identity is influenced by work and vice versa, and it can be beneficial to talk things through with a professional listener. So many life issues, like relationships, family, deeper things, and again, just being human, can overlap with work and job searching; by having a trained counselor in your corner and on your side, we can often have a smoother ride.

Is cost an obstacle? Too often, yes. I genuinely wish things were different; yet, there are plenty of wonderful people ready to support you and ways to make it work. Persevere to get the care you need and deserve. Check your workplace resources, as many companies have Employer Assistance Programs (EAP) that offer free counseling visits, reduced rates, and supplementary online resources. Some insurance plans give partial reimbursement by submitting a superbill, and when seeking care there are sliding scales and lower-cost options.

All of us are talented and very generous towards others, always quick to mentor others, be there for our friends, partners, and families, and are superstars at work. It is okay to let others be there for you, too.

Make self-care a regular part of your life - and, inspire those around you

I remember when I first started incorporating self-care into my life, it felt ridiculous - one more "to-do". On top of that, it just felt incongruent. Here I was running on all cylinders, and the advice was to stop and "relax". It was as if someone was coming to me in the middle of a big sports competition where everything was on the line telling me to stop playing and grab some lemonade.

When I was finally open to trying things like taking daily walks, exploring mindfulness meditation, learning yoga, allowing myself time to do my art, prioritizing sleep, and just taking a pause - I found I could think more clearly and come up with ideas that just weren't possible when I was moving that fast.

In the realm of a job search that is sometimes longer than we want it to be, fraught with unfair rejection and broken processes - self-care is essential and one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Whenever I collaborate with a client, we devote time to job search strategy and discuss ways to stay energized, become well-rested, and prioritize their well-being. The payoff is invaluable.

Self-care can be small acts of kindness for yourself:

  • Go to sleep 10-minutes early (or sleep 10-minutes later)

  • Enjoy your cup of tea or coffee without multitasking

  • Add a small plant to your workspace

  • Arrange a weekly check-in with a friend or inspiring mentor

  • Try out a therapy session to see what it's like

  • Learn gardening or take a class outdoors

  • Listen to a short guided meditation on Insight Timer or your favorite mindfulness app

  • Spend time with your pet or make friends with a cute puppy on your next walk

  • Watch a funny movie or TV show

  • Try yoga, qigong, or tai chi

  • Listen to awesome music

  • Journal, put together a puzzle, paint, knit, or..... What else sounds good to you?

Best of all, you'll find that others in your life will soon follow your lead feeling inspired to take time for their own self-care when they see your chilled-out, peaceful success. Let's start a revolution to slow down.

Bring your whole self to your job search

We talk about being authentic at work and in life, and I love this concept. To me, this means sharing all of you and being proud of who you are - and honoring the fullness of those around us. May we tend to our whole selves in our job searches and promotion goals, also. We can cultivate serenity, creativity, and rest alongside our ambitious work goals & aspirations.

I always say that it's not only about finding a job - I want you to like your life. I want you to create a life you love. Cherish yourself, take good care of your talents, and have the deep confidence that by treating yourself right you will fly even higher.

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