Before you begin a job search, think back to the last time you:
- Enjoyed an uninterrupted seven to eight hours of sleep.
- Ate a nutritious meal.
- Got enough exercise two days in a row.
- Spent enough time with your spouse.
- Had a long conversation with a close friend.
If the answer to any of these was more than a few days, consider postponing your job search.
Health care workers are notorious for taking care of everyone but themselves. To make an already overwhelming situation worse, a job search adds more work and scheduling challenges.
I’ve seen stress derail more job searches than lack of opportunity, training, or education. To make sure your job search doesn’t suffer this fate, here are some suggestions for lifestyle changes before you begin your search.
Put yourself first
If you continue to come in last on your own priority list, a crash is inevitable.
If putting yourself first sounds impossible, you might feel more confident asking a therapist or life coach to help you set priorities, hold you accountable, and navigate the feelings that erupt when making a change of this magnitude.
Some people find the support of friends and family sufficient. The main thing is not to do this alone. Let people know you are making a big change and that it’s not easy. Ask for their help.
Set priorities for self-care
What have you been neglecting? These self-care issues typically show up on the list:
- Health, dental, and vision care
- Spiritual involvement
I don’t care how much you love your family, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you have nothing to give them.
Don’t make a bunch of big changes at once. That is a recipe for failure. Make one small change at a time so that you have a chance to incorporate each one into your life.
- Start with health care: If you don’t have regular health, dental, and vision care, ask your family and friends for referrals to these professionals. Make and keep your appointments before making any other changes. They may have a specific program they want you to follow.
- Next, sleep: Sleep deprivation is rampant in US society, and the effects are serious. It’s not just a matter of an extra cup of coffee. Long-term consequences feel like depression and worse.
- Food: Find a nutrition plan that works for you. If that’s too hard, start by substituting a salad for one of your meals each day.
- Exercise: Start with a 15 minute walk and build up to 45 minutes, the length for optimal longevity. When you feel your energy increase, add variety with weight lifting, bike riding, swimming, or court sports.
- Spiritual involvement: Finally, connect with something bigger than yourself. For me, it means meditation. For others, prayer. For still others, church or other community membership. It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you do it.
When your energy level and confidence return so that life doesn’t seem overwhelming, it’s time for your job transition.