“I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything at all in the last year” my client exclaimed exasperatedly. She felt compelled to work at something, anything every waking hour or risk never moving forward with her life. Ironically, it was this very mindset that was holding her back. When your brain is on overload, you may think you’re getting things done because you’re constantly in motion, in reality though, you’re probably spinning your wheels.
In this client’s case, her thoughts of impending doom around her divorce along with the necessity of finding work was contributing to an enormous amount of stress. The more she thought about her post-divorce finances, the more she felt compelled to find work as soon as humanly possible. The reality was that her approach wasn’t efficient and only served to tax her already overwhelmed brain.
How much money will I need? What if I don’t have enough? How will I get a job if I haven’t worked in so long? Where will my children live? Where will I live? The questions keep coming. Your brain on stress is highly inefficient. Lack of sleep, depression, unhealthy eating habits are just a few results of being in a very stressful environment. Trying to accomplish even the most benign task can seem monumental. What’s the solution when the factors contributing to your stress aren’t going to go away any time soon?
The answer is to take yourself away from the stress, even if it’s only for a day or so.
- Put it away for a day…or two? Yes, taking time away from the unproductive job search is better than trying to weed through a plethora of job descriptions that are all blending together. It’s hard to imagine that doing nothing is actually doing something, but in fact, it really is.
- Go for a run or a walk. Exercise can be the best place to clear your head. I find it better than meditation for getting my mind off things. It’s also the time when I come up with my most creative ideas.
- Change your environment for a little while. If you’ve never been to the local museum or library, now’s a good time to do it. Take yourself out for lunch or a coffee.
- Read a book, watch a movie, listen to a podcast, something unrelated to what you were stuck on.
By giving yourself time off from challenging work or stressful thoughts, you give your brain a chance to recharge and your body some relaxation allowing you to start fresh and be much more effective.