It’s really important to stay healthy and sleep well when you are job searching. Changing jobs, whether imposed on you through redundancy or your own choice, is a time of significant uncertainty. The daily routine you have had for years has disappeared; as has the structure and direction provided by your former organisation. These changes can be destabilising and stressful. Without even realising it they start to affect our health – our appetite for healthy eating and exercise withdraws and our sleep becomes irregular. Check in with your own situation:

–          Or are you indulging in more biscuits and chocolate now, or other not so healthy food and drinks, as a “reward” for coping with the stresses of job search?

–          Is exercise that gets your heart pumping and makes you breathless, a part of your daily job search routine? Or don’t you have the energy and feel withdrawn and lethargic?

–          Are you finding it harder to go to sleep or are you waking early in the night unable to drop off again?

Use the following tips in anxious times of uncertainty to keep the three pillars of diet, exercise and sleep in balance so that they energise rather than drain you. Much of job search can feel outside of your direct control – for instance you can’t MAKE an employer recruit you although you can of course do lots of research and preparation to influence their decision. Diet and exercise however are completely within your control, and you can do a lot to influence if not completely control your quality of sleep.

1.       Diet

Eating regular healthy meals whilst you are job searching sounds like obvious advice but sometimes we just forget how important this is. Set yourself a challenge to eat at least five different fruits and vegetables a day. Have a goal to search out and make a new healthy recipe a week. If like me, you have a sweet tooth then start making oaty scones, carrot cake or muesli cookies as a better mid-afternoon alternative than a bar of chocolate. You’ll feel better about yourself. Why not invite a friend or colleague over to share it with you? Everyone loves home baking.

A client recently told me that part of her job search routine is to still make her packed lunch every morning just as she used to do when heading out to work. This stops her from getting tempted by unhealthy food and snacks at home or from spending lots at a local café.

2.       Exercise

There is so much research around to prove that exercise brings lots of positive endorphins into our bodies. We particularly need that positive energy in times of change and uncertainty. If you have historically had a long commute by car and are now job searching from home, then you should have gained some extra hours in the day. Create your own daily routine with whatever form of exercise energises you. Start small and build up from there. Jog around the block and steadily build up to joining the 5K park run at the weekend. Find one of these local community runs near you:

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/

This sort of run gives you a goal that you have complete control over. It will make you feel more confident and positive to be achieving something new and connects you with others in your local area. This extends your network of relationships who might be able to put you in touch with a local employer or give you insightful advice and information.

Check out a gym or leisure centre membership. This is a very positive investment in yourself and your future – you are worth it, so don’t let cost put you off.

3.       Sleep

At the end of each day of job searching, create your “to do” list for the next day in the evening. Use the app OneNote to create these:

https://products.office.com/en-GB/onenote

This will at least go some way to controlling your sleep so that you have a positive plan of action for the coming day. I agree though that we can’t completely control our sleep patterns but we can do plenty to influence them positively. Eating healthy light meals will certainly help as will regular physical exercise. How well we sleep is hugely affected by our mindset.

To give yourself sleep strategies, find a local Mindfulness course or use online information to learn how to carry out a relaxing “body scan” whilst in bed or how to breathe calmly and visualise positive images if you are struggling to sleep. A colleague recently recommended “Rescue Night” with Bach flower essences as a relaxing tonic to take just before you sleep. I find the cool water of a swim or a warm bath are good ways to relax and lower your feelings of anxiety.

If you would like help with creating a healthy environment and routine for your job search to take place effectively then do get in touch with sally@swcareercoaching.com. If you found this article helpful, then please do share it with others.

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