The holidays can be a stressful time of year, especially if you’re currently involved in a job search. While not everyone suffers from this, the “holiday blues” are a real thing; it’s well-documented that rates of depression often increase this time of year. And with the added pressure of buying gifts and dealing with family obligations while trying to land a job, it is easy to get overwhelmed.
But here’s some good news; you don’t have to buy into this stress. Even in the midst of difficulties, the natural “down time” of the holiday season presents the opportunity to hit the “reset” button. If you take advantage of this opportunity to recharge, you can set yourself up to come back even stronger after the holidays. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
Make Time for Self-Care
It might sound trite, but the priniciple works: when things start to feel overwhelming, take some time to focus on yourself. This might mean taking a long bath, going for a walk, or reading a book—whatever helps you relax and recharge your batteries. Set aside some time each day to do something that brings you joy. Doing this won’t necessarily take away the stressors in your life, but it will create some space and perspective so you can deal with the stressors more productively.
If you’re feeling down or discouraged, one common impulse is to withdraw from social activities, friends, or family. But actually, this can create loneliness, which can make the problem worse–not to mention spending too much time alone can cause you to develop some unhealthy feedback loops in the mind as you try to “work out” your troubles, causing you to lose perspective. To combat this, try to resist the urge to withdraw and use the holiday season as an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family members, both those who are near and those who live far away. Try setting up regular video calls or sending thoughtful texts throughout the season. This will help keep in touch with those you care about, even if you can’t be together in person. Plus, having someone to talk to can help boost your mood when you start to feel down.
Keep the Job Search Going
Seriously. Don’t assume that prospective employers don’t want to talk to you just because it’s the holidays. As we shared in this post from the past, many employers continue to hire right through the end of the year, and since a lot of job seekers DO call off their search during the holidays, there will be less competition for those job openings, so your odds of getting hired actually go up! You can also continue networking online by attending virtual networking events or joining an online job search group on social media where other people may have helpful advice or leads on new openings.
One important point: if you’re genuinely tired and want to take a break from job searching during the holidays, that’s okay, too. Don’t feel guilty about that; do what’s best for you. But if you have the desire and the energy, there’s no reason why you can’t keep applying for work during the holiday season–and there may even be some advantages in doing so.
Reset the Calendar and Make a Plan
As the end of the year approaches, I like to take some time to reflect on the past year, tie up loose ends, and sort of “close the chapter” on the old year. Then I start thinking about what’s ahead for the new year and start planning fresh strategies. I’d recommend you take a similar approach. (I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions–I’m talking about setting goals for your job search.) Take an inventory of what you did this past year. Acknowledge what you did that worked for you, and think about how to implement those things in the new year. Also be honest what didn’t work so you know what changes you need to make. Even if you don’t emerge with a hugely detailed strategy, the simple act of saying “goodbye” to the old year and “hello” to the new one helps put you in a healthy mindset so you’ll emerge into the new year with fresh energy and purpose.
Finally, no matter what challenges life throws at you during the holiday season, it is important to remember that it won’t last forever! By taking care of yourself physically and mentally, staying connected with others, and staying engaged, you can remain positive despite any difficulties you may be facing this season. And by taking a little time to make a plan for next year, you can approach the new year ready to take on the world again. So take a deep breath—you’ve got this!
As always, I’m here to help if you need deeper assistance with your career search and landing the job you want. Just click here to access my calendar and set up a free 30-minute consultation.