How to Cope With Holiday Stress

When you’re out of work, the holidays can be a lot more stressful than they are fun.  You don’t have much money to spare and you are forced to explain your job situation to your family and friends.  Before long, you may find yourself just trying to survive the holidays instead of enjoying them.  Here are some tips to help you manage the holiday stress:

Spend time with people who make you feel good.  Pay attention to the way that you feel when you are around different people.  Some people make you feel motivated and energized, while others leave you feeling drained.  Whenever possible, avoid the energy-suckers and surround yourself with people who build you up.

Exercise.  You always feel better after a good workout and it’s a healthy way to both relieve stress and work off those holiday treats.

Budget your holiday expenses.  When you’re out of work, you aren’t able to spend as much money on presents for people.  Your friends and family will understand that.  Don’t push yourself to spend more money than you can afford because it puts unnecessary stress on you.    

Continue your job search.  Sometimes opportunities do arise during the holidays, so keep looking.  Since a lot of people will be taking time off, there may be less competition.  However, try not to expect too much.  The managers may be on holidays, so don’t worry if you don’t hear anything.

Before you know it, it’ll be January and the holidays will be over.  Make an effort to relax and embrace them.  Remember, you don’t have to wait until you have a job to be happy. Enjoy yourself now!

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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How to Stay Healthy While Looking for a Job

Looking for a job is not always fun.  It’s stressful and can actually be bad for your health.  Since you’re so focused on getting a job, it is easy to neglect your body.  Don’t make that mistake.  Here are some tips to help you stay healthy while you’re looking for work.

Exercise.  While it may seem strange, exercise does give you more energy.  Since almost every expert agrees that it’s good for you, it makes sense to get out there and break a sweat.

Eat healthy.  When you’re at home all day, it can be easy to fall into the trap of snacking on junk food.  Try to resist that temptation.  Fill your cupboards with healthy snacks and only eat when you’re actually hungry.

Stay positive.  Your attitude has a significant impact on your physical and mental health.  Do what you can to keep positive.  When you surround yourself with people that uplift you and you celebrate every little success, it becomes easier to weather the daily stresses of the job hunt.

Maintain a daily schedule.  While unemployed, some people will sleep in until noon and then stay up for half the night.  Since you don’t have to go to work, you may feel that it doesn’t matter when you wake up.  That is not exactly true.  You should be available to take employer calls during business hours, but more importantly, your body needs a regular schedule.  Plan your day so that you have enough time to sleep,  look for a job, and relax.  If you do your best to keep to your schedule, you will be productive and your body will quickly get used to the routine.     

Have fun.  While this may not be the happiest time in your life, you shouldn’t be punishing yourself.  Instead, you should be rewarding yourself for all of your hard work.  Go out with your friends, keep up your hobbies, and do anything that makes you feel like yourself.  When you’re happy, it’s easier to maintain your motivation.

While you’re looking for a job, your health may not be your top priority, but it should be.  Keep in mind that if you’re sick, it will be infinitely more difficult to get hired.  Take care of your body and you’ll have the energy that you need to find your dream job.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

Perform Well at Work When You’re Exhausted

You were up all night and there is nothing that you would rather do than just close your eyes and get some sleep.  Unfortunately, it’s not an option.  You have to go into work and perform as if nothing is wrong.  Here are some tips to help you make it through the day:

Dive into your work.  Don’t put it off; just jump right into it.  Adrenaline might carry you through.  You may even get so focused on the task at hand that the day flies by.  When you’re tired, there is nothing worse than just sitting around.

Focus on one task at a time.  When you’re exhausted, you can easily become confused.  Therefore, it’s best to focus on one thing at a time.  Finish one task and then move on to the next one.

Do tasks that are easy for you.  Save the complicated tasks for when you’ve had a good night sleep.  If you attempt these tasks when you are tired, you might make mistakes.  Try to find some mindless work that you usually avoid.

Caffeinate.  If you’re trying to cut down on coffee, give yourself a break for today.  You might even want to have a second one!

Take a walk.  When you’re tired, fresh air can really help.  Go outside on your lunch break and take a walk.  You may find that the exercise combined with the cool breeze gives you just enough energy to tackle the afternoon.

Treat yourself to a nice lunch.  If there was ever a day to treat yourself, it’s today.  Reward yourself for getting through the morning with a nice lunch.  Don’t be afraid to splurge; it’s not like you do it every day.  After you finish your delicious lunch, it’ll be just a few hours before you can go home and get to bed.

When you’re tired, work is about the last thing that you feel like doing. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop just because you had a long night; reports still need to be written, meetings still need to be held; and customers still need to be served.  So turn off that snooze button, get showered and dressed, and just take it one step at a time.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

10 Signs that You are About to Reach Your Breaking Point

You’re stressed.  It’s nothing new; everyone is stressed these days.  However, how do you know when your stress has reached an unhealthy level?  When do you need to step back and make a change for the good of your own mental and physical health?  Here are ten warning signs that your stress may be causing you harm:

1.  You are snapping at people.  You are usually a patient person, but recently you’ve found yourself responding harshly when people annoy you.  Your family and your co-workers have mentioned that you seem to be a little ‘on edge’.

2.  Your sleep patterns are disrupted.  You are finding it difficult to get a restful night of sleep.  On the other hand, you may also be finding that you are sleeping more than you normally do.

3.  You find yourself withdrawing from others.  Socializing and talking to other people feels like a chore.  These days, you would prefer to be alone.

4.  Things that used to excite you now feel overwhelming and unmanageable.  You have noticed that you are a lot more pessimistic than you usually are.

5.  You are eating too much or too little, or you are binging on unhealthy food.  You forget to eat, or your decision to eat feels like an emotional one.

6. You find it difficult to concentrate, and you have been forgetting things.  You feel like you can’t trust your own judgement. 

7.  You are constantly worrying.  Your mind is an endless loop of the various stressors in your life.  You are finding it difficult to turn it off, even for a moment.

8.  You have been getting frequent headaches, stomachaches, or other aches and pains.  Stress often manifests itself in body pain.

9.  You have been neglecting your responsibilities.  You have been putting off important tasks, and you are not performing to your normal level.  Your co-workers are wondering what has gotten into you!

10.  You are turning to substances, such as alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to help you relax.  Many people have a drink now and then, but if you need it to get you through the day, it is a problem. 

With all of our competing demands, many of us push ourselves too hard from time to time.  However, we need to realize that this is not a sustainable way to live.  We tend to take our mental health for granted, and that is a mistake.  It is important that you take care of yourself.  If you are exhibiting signs of stress, then slow down, and try to do what you can to lighten your load and relax.

(Written by Karen Bivand)