CAREER SURVIVAL TIPS: TAKING CARE OF MIND, BODY AND SOUL WHILE IN CAREER TRANSITION
Sometimes we're so busy taking care of business, that we forget to take care of ourselves. Yet, if you're amidst a major career change, there is nothing more important than listening to your Inner Voice and tending to all the little things your body, mind and soul is asking for and needs. Here are some great ways to nourish your whole self and stay balanced while successfully navigating through your career change.
1. Keep a career journal.
Career coaches like myself frequently recommend journaling as a way to manage your career transition while keeping a healthy perspective. Devote at least one night per week to writing down your thoughts about your transition, recording milestones in the process, and letting go of emotions by putting pen to paper. Write whenever you feel inspired - even if it's every night. Your journaling tool could be a plain notebook, diary, scrapbook of writing entries and mementos, or even an online blog where you invite others in a similar situation to ponder your musings and offer their opinions or share stories. Every so often, go back and read your previous journal entries to remind yourself of where you're going and where you've been, in terms of the career you envision for yourself. You will most likely be pleasantly surprised at the progress you've made!
2. Set boundaries.
Life can get a little crazy when change is happening all around us. If you've still got one foot in your former professional role and the other foot has stepped into the future, you may feel unsure of whether you're coming or going! This is natural, especially in times of transition. The trick is to set boundaries for yourself as a way to curb the feelings of overwhelm. One boundary could be, turning off some of the channels of information overflow. For example, if you've signed up for new career membership associations or email newsletters, you could create a special email address for this purpose alone. This way, personal pursuits can be kept separate from your daily responsibilities, helping you to feel less distracted and stressed. Time can be another boundary that keeps anxiety at bay. For instance, you can make a commitment to not to think about anything career-related after 8 p.m., instead reserving another time slot for this purpose. Your commitment could be, "I will work on my career transition from 5:30-7:30 at least twice a week." By setting and maintaining boundaries between your career goals, everyday responsibilities, and leisure pursuits, you will feel more in-control of your life, balanced and at peace with yourself and the process.
3. Exercise your body while you expand your mind.
So many of us spend the majority of our days sitting in front of a computer, both at our jobs and at home. It's no wonder that insomnia and being overweight has become a problem for millions of Americans. As always, but especially at a time of career change when stress levels are higher, regular exercise is vital to your well-being. Make it a priority to engage in some kind of aerobic exercise at least 3 times a week and use hand weights to tone muscles and keep blood flowing. Pilates, Tae-Bo and yoga are all excellent ways to reduce tension, properly align the body and keep energy flow on an even keel. No matter which type of exercise you choose, you can use this time to "work on" the more pressing issues in your career and the changes you are making. Think about it, how many times have you sat in front of the television, not hearing or seeing a thing because you're consumed with what's happening in your life? Taking time out to reduce your stress level by exercising . . . while focusing on your goals, stumbling blocks or major decisions, will ease your body and mind and help you feel good both mentally and physically. Some of my best ideas have come to be when Iím out exercising and thinking out of the box.
4. Get support.
Sometimes when we share our vision of the future with friends, family and coworkers, we are met with resistance, hit with frightening and discouraging "rumors" about the career marketing or industry of our choosing, and can feel like the wind was just knocked out of us. This is not a healthy way to feel when trying to break out of established ruts and make a motion for improvement in our careers. For this reason, if you're serious about finding a new job that has you springing out of bed each morning, you'll want to invest in a career coach. Many people who decide to make a bold move in their career, start up their own business or return to school to learn a new skill or trade, do so with the help of a career coach or counselor. You will find that a career counselor can give much needed practical advice and guidance, while offering an objective viewpoint on your personal situation. For more information about coaching and to explore my own career coaching tools, tips and services, visit the URL listed at the bottom of this article. Iím here to help.
5. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.
As mentioned above, when you're doing something big and out of the ordinary like changing your career, sometimes it seems there are naysayers at every turn, thwarting your efforts and tossing a wet blanket over your plans. This is exactly what you want to avoid if you're serious about leaving your old job behind and starting fresh doing something you love. Yes, you CAN do it, and yes there is money to be made in almost any profession. It takes time and effort to get there, but trust me when I say that millions have manifested their own career destiny, and you can too. The idea is to keep the Negative Nellies and other defeating influences at bay. If there are certain people who seem to react unfavorably when you discuss your plans and dreams, stop sharing with those people. Instead, focus on friends and colleagues who lift your spirits and help further your cause - these are the ones who will help you get where you want to be, faster and with the least amount of effort. Other negative forces are bad habits, addictive and destructive behaviors. You're on a plan for self-improvement right now anyway, so make it a goal to quit any harmful habits you may currently engage in like smoking, excessive drinking, binge eating, unhappy relationships, or other activities that distract you from achieving happiness.
There are so many things you can do to keep your mind, body and spirit functioning at peak performance during this exciting time of change. Remember that, even though your current focus is on your career, deciding what you want to be when you grow up, and how to best navigate the transition, you are still a human being who deserves a balanced life of learning, new experiences, solitary time, activity and spiritual growth. Remember to give yourself these gifts and you will feel whole, at peace, and ready for whatever comes your way.