Change is often a gift—but that doesn’t make it easy. Maybe you’re between jobs right now. Perhaps you were recently laid off from work, or maybe you said “good riddance” and quit. Maybe you’re getting ready to launch a new business, embark on a new, exciting career. It doesn’t matter if initiated the change or if it was thrust upon you—stress is just a part of it, because it almost always accompanies change.
Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Stress means “pressure,” and pressure is often the catalyst that brings us to a needed change. However, when stress levels get too high, it can affect your performance, your attitude and even your health. You need to take care of yourself, including finding creative ways to manage the stress during this transition time between jobs. Here are four things you can begin doing right now to keep the stress at bay.
Stress releases cortisol and adrenaline into your body. These are the “fight-or-flight” hormones that have been programmed into our DNA as a way of giving us extra energy in times of crisis. However, these days, we rarely actually “fight” or “flee,” so those hormones just sit in our bodies and wreak havoc. Exercise can help you metabolize those hormones so they don’t keep you up at night (or turn to belly fat, in the case of cortisol). Try to find an exercise routine you can do comfortably several times a week. Trust me, you’ll feel better.
2. Avoid Stimulants
When stress makes you anxious, caffeine and nicotine make it worse. These are stimulants that can amplify the effects of the stress hormones we just discussed. You might think those cigarettes are helping you relax; actually, they’re doing the opposite. Try reducing your coffee intake to limit your caffeine. Quitting smoking cold turkey might add to your stress right now, but perhaps now is a good time to start trying to wean off them gradually.
3. Practice Relaxation Techniques
When stress becomes the temporary norm—like when you are between jobs—you may have to do certain things on purpose to counteract it. You can accomplish this using a variety of relaxation techniques, according to what’s comfortable for you. The practice of breathing exercises, meditation and mindfulness exercises can be very helpful here. Take a look at popular apps like Headspace or Calm to see if these can help. Practicing these techniques at night before bed can help you sleep better, which will also reduce stress. (A soothing hot bath before bed couldn’t hurt, either.
4. Talk to Someone
It sounds trite, but it helps to talk about it. You don’t have to see a professional therapist (unless the emotions are crippling, or unless you just want to); even a trusted friend with a listening ear can be a great help at this time. Also, if your stress is coming from a place of uncertainty about your future, a life or career coach can be a key to your success, not only as a listening ear but as someone who can help you craft a strategy to move you into the next chapter of your life.
If you’re between jobs and need help dealing with the stress, Giraffes Consulting can help! In fact, we offer a free 30-minute consultation to learn more about what you’re going through and help you decide whether personal career coaching is right for you. Simply submit the form on the right side of this page to learn more.