As the economy continues its deep downward spiral, our collective emotional stress level is spiraling upward according to a Gallup-Healthways poll out this week. The report is believed to be the most extensive report to date on how the health of the economy impacts our emotional health. The report encompassed nearly all of last year, includes more than 350,000 participants, and is ongoing.
An article in USA Today provides a breakdown of the report, including how each state fared in the recent poll. The poor emotional health rating also translates to poorer mental and physical health. People suffering from stress are more likely to experience high blood pressure, sleep disorders, depression, and a number of other illnesses.
When money becomes an issue, people with ongoing physical, mental, and emotional issues often don’t get the care that they need.
So, what can you do to nurture your mental, emotional, and physical health during your job search and tough economic times? Use these tips to help stay mental strong while looking for work.
Nurture Your Mental Health During a Job Search
- Limit your daily intake of bad news. Our moods are greatly affected by economic news. According to the survey, on days when bad economic news loomed—plunges in the Dow or the posting of high jobless claims—our emotional health took a beating. Stay informed, but don’t gorge on bad news.
- Focus on what you can control. Create a strategic plan for your job search. Focus your energy and efforts on improving your job skills and your job search strategies. Establish a daily and weekly routine for your job search. Establish goals for your job search activities.
- Continue learning. Read for pleasure, education, and self-improvement. Learn a new skill. Update current skills. Become an expert on topics related to your industry or passion.
Nurture Your Emotional Health During Your Job Search
- Have realistic expectations about your job search. Realize that a job search can easily last from three months to a year in this market. Work and hope for the best, but understand that a lengthy job search may be in store.
- Spend time with family and friends. Don’t isolate yourself from friends and family. Our connection with others is important to our overall emotional well-being. Use the additional time available during periods of unemployment to reach out and connect with others more often.
- Pursue a hobby. Recharge your emotional batteries by taking time off from your job hunt to pursue activities you enjoy. Taking a break to enjoy a hobby provides a respite from the intensity of your job search.
- Improve the lives of others through volunteering. Volunteering offers innumerable benefits. In addition to the social good we can accomplish by volunteering, research indicates that we also receive individual health benefits. An additional benefit: volunteering is a great way to make networking contacts in the community.
- Connect with other job hunters. Online and offline communities of job hunters can provide support during the stress of an ongoing job search and practical solutions to your particular job search dilemmas.
Nurture Your Physical Health During Your Job Search
- Get plenty of rest. Sleepless nights filled with worry can do more than create bags under your eyes. Lack of sleep has been connected to a variety of health issues including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
- Eat healthy. Make healthy meals whenever possible. Poor eating habits can have a negative effect on your mood and ability to function. Unhealthy eating habits can cause nutrient and brain chemical deficiencies or erratic blood sugar levels. This can result in depression, anxiety, mood swings, and forgetfulness.
- Get plenty of exercise. Incorporate physical activities into your daily and weekly routine. Physical activities can boost your mood, energy level, physical health, and emotional well-being. An added bonus to being fit: In a survey conducted by Personnel Today, 93 percent of HR professionals said they would hire a ‘normal weight’ candidate rather than an obese one who was identically qualified. The current economic situation is having a negative impact on people in general. However, we can make a concerted effort to lessen the impact on our overall well-being as individuals. Take care to nuture your mental, emotional, and physical health during your job search.
By Roxanne Ravenel for Excelle