A successful job search begins before you ever start looking for work. Time is a precious commodity during career transition, but you can’t afford not to dedicate at least one day to get your head, heart, and health in a good place.
Going through a job change can trigger all kinds of difficult emotions. Anxiety, fear, shame, anger, frustration, confusion. Add shock to the mix, if the situation involves a layoff notice, termination, or company office closure.
The first step in the job search process is to clear your head and get recharged. Unfortunately, this critical step is often neglected in our “always on” world. Since it can be hard to rest, ironically we need to work to rest.
Don’t worry. Taking 24 hours will not cause you to miss any job opportunities. More likely, it will help you shorten your job search process by equipping you with a recharged mind.
Here are 24 ways to get recharged in 24 hours. Pick and choose from this list of practical ideas based on whatever gives you rest, energy, or inspiration:
1. Create an ideal daily routine
For mental health, if we sleep in and don’t have a schedule we can drift into reading the news or other distractions. It’s important to balance healthy routines such as reading, working out, “office hours” at your computer and social breaks. Creating an ideal routine keeps you moving forward in a healthy cadence as we seek structure and “normal flow”. Creating a balanced calendar of work and rest is a healthy foundation for your job search.
2. Drink eight glasses of water
Most of us don’t drink enough water. Water helps flush out toxins and is critical for health. For a healthy job search, add daily habits that involve putting good things in—and flushing out the bad.
3. Read and pray/meditate
Read an inspirational book. Focus on important truths in life and fill your mind with positive inputs to offset. Whether you pray or meditate – look for a foundation for hope and joy. Slow down, close your eyes, focus on truth, release worries you can’t control, and be more present in the moment. A job search can be hard for many of us because we derive too much value, meaning and worth from a job. When our work is in jeopardy, our identity is compromised. I encourage you to not define yourself, your purpose, and your life in terms of just your job.
4. Go for a run (or long walk)
When stressed out, it is a great time to go for a long walk or run. Getting outside in fresh air, getting the blood moving and reducing stress is good for the body and soul. It also helps create mental clarity and focus. A job search is a marathon, not a sprint. Prepare an endurance mindset and enjoy what you might see and learn on the journey.
5. Turn off your phone and computer
Technology is great for keeping us connected, but makes it difficult to unwind. I find myself getting stressed out if I don’t have my smart phone with me for even just a few hours. Take a “fast” from technology for a day. You won’t miss anything important, and it will help you reset your mind and avoid irrelevant distractions. As helpful as it can be, technology can also distract you during a job search. Set aside blocks of time when you are not checking your phone or email (or Facebook/Instragram/News) so you can get things done and focus on what is actually important.
6. Eat healthy food and snacks
Plan out healthy food and snacks for the day. Our bodies are highly complex and integrated machines. Good fuel for your body and mind will keep you alert, more emotionally stable, and less likely to crash from lack of energy. Ironically, comfort food will only make you uncomfortable later. A job search likely means you’ll be working from home when you are not used to it. You will be tempted to snack more than normal. Think ahead. Keep healthy snacks and food at hand to help keep you at top performance.
7. Eat one awesome dessert treat at dinner
I believe it’s good to eat healthy 90 percent of the time, but it’s also fun to celebrate with great desserts. When treats are occasional and rare, you will appreciate them more. On a job search, it’s OK to set rewards for yourself and celebrate wins along the way.
8. Reconnect with a good friend
Sometimes we get busy at work and with life and forget to connect with certain friends. Think of a close friend you haven’t seen for a while, and meet up for coffee, lunch or video chat. Friends can often make a connection or introduction to someone you wouldn’t know otherwise, which is obviously helpful during a job search.
9. Write down 20 things you are grateful for
Get a pen and paper (since you are fasting from technology). Write down 20 things you are grateful for. Don’t overthink this or worry about prioritizing the list, just write things down as they come to you. Include the simple stuff and the profound. A heart of gratitude and thankfulness is good for a job search, as it’s easy to fixate on things that are not right rather than appreciating the many blessing you already have in your life. Practicing this mindset will also help this attitude come across in the way that you talk about past jobs and employers.
10. Honestly reflect on three things you could have done better in your last job
Any job is like a relationship. When it ends, no one is ever 100 percent to blame. Take responsibility and assess a few key things you could have done better. What can you learn from that experience, and how can you do things differently in the future? Part of a successful job search is the ability to look back, learn from the past, and make a game plan going forward. Honest self-awareness and a desire to improve will come across as authentic and attractive in interviews as well.
11. Say “I’m sorry” to someone you need to
Think of just one person you need to apologize to. Maybe it’s your spouse, your kid, a parent, a co-worker, or a friend. Simply share a heartfelt “I’m sorry.” It will be good for both of you. When we don’t apologize for stuff we should, it’s like carrying a bag of boulders. When we apologize, we can shed the burden and drop that extra weight. The weight of unresolved conflict will burden your job search. Strained relationships cause us to look back and not forward.
12. Clean your desk
Take 30 minutes and clean off your desk area. Shelve your books. File your bills. Put things in drawers that are piling up. Get folders and get organized. It’s a small win, but it will feel good. A cluttered workspace will increase distractions on a job search.
13. Watch a funny and/or motivational movie
What movie really makes you laugh or feel inspired? Make plans to watch it tonight. Just like healthy food aid your body, a regular flow of positive mental inputs is good for your soul on the job search.
14. Do a fun new activity
Try something new you’ve been wanting to do. It doesn’t need to be expensive, just new and different. A job search will be full of new people, companies, and experiences. You’ll be stretched outside your comfort zone. Learn to see these activities as fun new adventures and opportunities to learn.
Take 15 minutes to stretch, or a little longer for a yoga class. Many of us sit at a desk all day and our bodies are wound up too tight. We all know stretching is a good idea, but we often don’t do it until something hurts and we are forced to. You want to be loose and not uptight for the job search.
16. Buy a new shirt
A little “shopping therapy” never hurts. Wearing a new shirt makes you feel good, boosts confidence, and represents a small investment in yourself. First impressions matter in interviews, so consider investing in some new clothes before you set out on the job search.
17. Wash or clean out the car
Taking care of your car is a practical way to demonstrate gratitude for the vehicle you have, and to make the most of it. We may not have the perfect career background or impressive accessories, but you can polish what you got to make a positive impression during your job search.
18. Throw something away
Look through your garage/shed/closet, find something that is taking up unnecessary space in your life, and get rid of it. Tossing excess is a small but important gesture. We sometimes carry baggage from past jobs and co-workers. Throw it away and move on.
19. Do a random act of generosity
Buy coffee or groceries for someone behind you in line. It will be a blessing to both of you. Generosity demonstrates a heart of caring for people and a desire to give back to the community. It’s a practical way to demonstrate that it’s not all about you. A successful job search might depend on the timely generosity of a few people, so model this yourself now.
20. Write down 10 new “firsts” you’d like to accomplish in the next year
We settle into routines in life. What are a few new things you could do this year that would be fun? Ideas might include travel or visiting a new place in your neighborhood. Developing a longer-term view and a vision for the future aligns well with your job search season because it compels you to think about where you want to go next and what inspires you.
21. Pick up trash and pull some weeds
Walk around a neighborhood or local park and make a difference. Trash and weeds won’t clean up themselves, and you can make a small impact in 15 minutes. Though it’s easy to ignore and step over trash and weeds, getting rid of small negative things and habits can build positive momentum in life and your job search.
22. Listen to your favorite song and sing out loud
Music you love gets your body moving, and singing makes you feel silly and alive at the same time. Listen to your favorite song on the way to an interview. If you feel silly at times during interview questions and situations, just roll with it and have fun.
23. Visit a new store or restaurant
Go to that place you’ve been meaning to check out in your neighborhood. Or try a random new spot. You will learn something new about your neighborhood (good or bad) that you didn’t know when you woke up. On the job search, you’ll be checking out all kinds of companies in your city that you didn’t know about before. You will be more educated and interesting after this process.
24. Date night “in”
Make dinner (or order takeout), light a candle, get a rose, turn on some music, and have a fun dinner in with your significant other. Say thank you and show appreciation for what they mean to you. Share specific examples of things that were special in recent months. Remember the people who are important in your life. Think about how your next job can honor them and make them an even greater priority.
For more helpful job search tips: Ultimate Job Search Guide: Recruiter Insider Tips