The job search is stressful. There is no way to avoid that.
But if we want to stay in top form for interviews, put our best foot forward when networking, and generally avoid putting others off with a sour or cranky temperment that often comes with being stressed, then we need to manage the stress inherent in the process of looking for a job.
There is a lot of wisdom that is commonly shared about dealing with stress - exercise, meditate, get sleep, eat healthy and well, keep focused on the positive, take breaks regularly.....and the list goes on.
I would like to recommend getting bit more specific and actually address the source of the problem.
You see, stress is just a symptom - a reaction to something. So by pinpointing the exact activities part of conducting a job search that cause the reaction called "stress", you can more strategically and effectively manage or even eliminate it.
I invite you to do this exercise to discover how you can identify and reduce or eliminate the source of your stress.
First, define what stress looks like so you can name it when it appears.
Do you tighten up physically? Do you get irritated easily? Do you lose focus? Write a detailed description so its very easy to identify when it shows up.
Next, write down your top 6 values – those things most important to you. Values are things like family, learning, achievement, respect, or accuracy.
Then create a chart with three columns. In the first column, make a list of everything you do during the day – from the moment you get up to when you go to bed. Pay particular attention to the activities related to your job search.
In the second column, note whether or not that activity creates stress for you. Refer to your written descriptions of how your stress shows up you've just written if you aren’t sure.
In the third column, indicate if the activity is aligned with, or violates, one of your values (and which value).
Any activity that violates one of your values will cause stress. It is important to note what those things are and eliminate or manage them for improved stress relief at all times in our life. If you are living a highly stressful lifestyle, then that is only going to exacerbate the stress caused by the job search.
And as I believe that we are actually always in some point in our job search, that is just one of many reasons why we should always be looking to eliminate any source of stress we can in our lives.
Once you have completed the chart, ask yourself which items which created stress can you eliminate(or minimize)? Is there another way you can complete this task so that it is not so stressful? If it violates a value, is there a way you can achieve the result of this task in a way that is aligned with your values?
Make a list of specific actions you can take to eliminate or minimize your stressors.
Then go back and review the activities you feel you cannot do anything about. Are you sure there is absolutely nothing you can do to eliminate or minimize them? Challenge yourself to find ways.
With the list that is left, make a list of thoughts that arise when you do each stressful activity. Notice that how you have chosen you react to each. Name at least one other way you could choose to react. Consider choosing a new reaction that creates less stress.
Now take action on your list to eliminate your stressors! Remember, without action, your stress remains.
YOUR EXPAT SUCCESS TIP: As mentioned above, we are actually always in some point in our job search. So taking action to elminate or reduce and source of stress on a regular basis will help make the journey a more enjoyable one, in addition to helping us be more effective. Complete the exercise above. Then come back and share what you've learned by leaving a comment.
This post is a part of a larger group of posts written by a community of career expert bloggers called the "Career Collective". Here are the other Career Collective member posts - all related to job search stress:
Job Search Made Positive, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
Job Search: When It All Turns Sour, @GayleHoward
Help for the Job Search Blues, @heathermundell
10 Ways to Turn your Job Frown Upside Down, @heatherhuhman
Light at the End of the Tunnel, @WalterAkana
3 Ways to Keep your Glass Half Full,, @LaurieBerenson
Don't Sweat the Job Search, @resumeservice
Mind Over Matter: Moving Your Stalled Search Forward, @careersherpa
Finding Opportunity in Quicksand, @WorkWithIllness
What to do when you are discouraged with your job search @keppie_careers
It's the little things, @DawnBugni
Restoring Your Joy In Job Search, @ValueIntoWords
Just SO Very Discouraged, @jobhuntorg
Making Job Search Fun (Yeah, That's Right!), @barbarasafani