Rabu, 18 Agustus 2010

Managing Unemployment Stress

Improve Your Outlook During a Job Transition
by Jean McPhee

Being out of a job ranks as one of life's most stressful experiences. However, it is possible to turn the stress into constructive energy that will benefit your job search.

The following tips will help you manage unemployment stress and "take control" with a proactive strategy for this time of transition.

Create a job-search plan.
Eliminate the stress of not knowing where to begin. Write down a network of contacts, search Yahoo! HotJobs for leads, and research interesting companies. Think broadly. Consider new industries where your skills and experience will add value.

Keep a schedule or routine.
A common, often unexpected stress of unemployment is the lack of obligation to report to a job every day. Keep a routine to stay efficient and productive. Wake up and follow a schedule as you normally would. If conducting a job search from home, try leaving the house -- even if just to get coffee or take a quick walk -- at the start and finish of each day. Give yourself a daily "start" and "end" time. It will help you rest, stay less stressed, and search more efficiently during designated hours.

Participate in activities that calm your mind and body.
It's easy to feel that you don't "deserve" to enjoy unemployment, but taking time to relax will actually revitalize you mentally and help manage the emotions and stress of unemployment. Ways to calm your body and mind include physical exercise, drawing or writing. Giving time to a hobby may also help you discover a job that incorporates your favorite activities into a new career.

Maintain a strong identity.
Feeling a loss of purpose is a stressful side effect of unemployment. Stay positive about your identity and boost your well-being by taking classes, gaining certifications for your line of work, or volunteering. Take the time to consider priorities and learn new skills.

Focus on what is within your control.
It is not productive to worry about things you can't control, such as how quickly a company will make a hiring decision. Instead, focus on the things you can control, such as managing your day-to-day finances, researching companies where you would like to work, meeting with people in your contact network, and following up on job leads.

Stay connected to supportive people.
Being unemployed can be lonely and isolating. Staying connected to supportive friends, family, former co-workers, and business contacts is important for your mental well-being and your job search.

Remember: You are what you think.
People with healthy self-esteem are more likely to achieve success than those who think poorly of themselves. Remember, you've been successful before and will emerge from unemployment even stronger. A positive sense of self can carry over to positive interviews, and companies want confident employees.

Control your emotions.
Try not to overanalyze or personalize situations. The job search process will have many highs and lows. Instead of riding the emotional roller coaster, keep perspective on the situation and try to keep your emotions in balance. You will think more clearly and efficiently.

Practicing these tips during your unemployment phase will also benefit your return to work. Since almost everyone is going to be faced with the challenge of employment change, it is important that each of us be prepared for such a transition with a strategic plan that includes stress management. The ability to transition effectively and successfully into new roles is a core career skill for any worker.

Jean McPhee, PhD, was educated at Stanford University and trained at the Mind/Body Medical Institute of Harvard University School of Medicine. Based in La Jolla, California, Dr. McPhee provides relaxation training and stress management solutions for individuals, schools, teams, corporations and healthcare agencies. She is also well-known as the creator of SMART (Stress Management And Relaxation Training) Performance, a series of comprehensive, targeted stress management programs.

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