Looking for a job is tough. Nobody is denying that fact. Well, at least nobody who has been through it.
The long days spent at home tinkering with CVs, writing applications, sending emails, making calls, waiting and hoping for responses. Days of high stress before and after an interview. Followed by periods of great disappointment after being turned down for a role you know you’d be perfect for. It can be a really long haul before you finally get that yes moment.
It can be difficult to keep optimistic during such a topsy-turvy time. Anxiety and stress amongst jobseekers is not uncommon at all. In fact it’s almost the norm.
The perfect antidote to stress is sleep. Unfortunately getting to sleep is often hampered by feelings of stress and anxiety. It’s a cruel cycle. Try not to despair, below are a few top tips to help you increase your odds of sleeping well while you are on the hunt.
When we worry about financial problems, job hunts, relationship problems, anything for that matter – the body is flooded with a hormone known as cortisol. Also referred to appropriately as the ‘stress hormone’.
Cortisol was a very useful substance in our caveman days, it being the hormone that triggered our survival response when we saw a bear shaped object hiding behind a tree. The action of fighting or fleeing would then see the cortisol in our system effectively burnt off. Cortisol however is slightly less useful in today’s largely bear-free world.
Today when we worry about something, saying an upcoming job interview, we don’t immediately burst into physical action. As a result the cortisol isn’t burnt off as it should be. Instead it stays in our system causing problems for our physical and mental health. Chief amongst them insomnia.
Fortunately there is one thing that we can do to rid ourselves of excess Cortisol and reclaim our bedtime – exercise. Yep, getting sweaty or out of breath once a day effectively mimics the fight or flight response and burns excess Cortisol. Exercise also releases a whole cocktail of happy hormones, like endorphins, dopamine and serotonin that help lift our mood and help our sleep.
Get out more
The power of daylight cannot be overstressed. When you’re deep in a prolonged job hunt you might one day realise it’s been an entire week since you stepped outside. This bad for both you mental health and for the health of your sleep.
The body’s circadian rhythms are dictated by its exposure to light. When we limit our exposure to natural daylight will increase the odds our sleep cycles are going to be a bit messed up. Hence why individuals in the long dark months of winter suffer from conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Get outside at least once a day, maybe combine this with your daily exercise, or simply go and visit a friend. Regular exposure to vitamin D will help you reset your body clock and this will go a long way to helping you get your required dose of vitamin Zzzzs.
Do a bedroom audit
When we spend so much time fixating on one thing – such as getting a job – we neglect other parts of our lives. Have a look around your bedroom does it look like a relaxing place? Is it neat and tidy? If not, make it so. Declutter it. Do whatever you can to transform it into a sanctuary of sleep. Do the curtains keep out the light? Is your bed causing problems? Oh, and whatever you do leave your smartphone and laptop in another room when you go to bed.
Feelings of anxiety, stress and depression grow more profound when we feel surplus to requirements. Which, when you’re out of work and struggling to find a job is not an uncommon sensation. Volunteering is an unbelievably good way to not only help society but also give yourself a renewed feeling of self worth.
Plus volunteering often puts you in contact with individuals less fortunate than yourself. This can have a profound effect on how you view your own life. You may be momentarily out of work but you can still help. And volunteering looks great on your CV. When your next interview comes around you will be able to tell your soon-to-be employer exactly how you’ve been spending your time since you last role.
Having a reason to get out of bed in the morning will have a knock on effect on how well you get to sleep at night too. Bonus!
Exercising daily, ensuring you get outside, keeping your room tidy and volunteering, these four things all have one thing in common – they will help you to get into healthy routines. When we are out of work we lose structure to our day. It’s important to reclaim this. Not only will it give you more purpose but it will help you considerably when it comes to sleep.
Here’s to a good night’s sleep and hopefully your perseverance will be rewarded soon!