You’ve just lost your job.
The shock has washed over you, and you are now in “I better do something right now!” mode.
So you get up in the morning and troll the job ads. You start combing through your network to see who’s out there. You spend hours reshaping your resume. Then you reshape it again.
You send messages and respond to messages and send out your resume again and again.
Before you turn around, it’s 4 pm and you’re burned out. You can’t think another thought. You can’t read another word.
And it’s Tuesday.
You’ve got three weekdays ahead. You desperately need a break. Yet, all you feel is massive guilt that you aren’t doing enough; you need to work harder; work longer.
I get it. I go through this, too. When you’ve got a business, the work never ends. There’s always a post to write, or emails to get out, or someone to connect with; some event to attend.
Time off?? An hour to exercise? Forget it! The day is getting away from me; I need to hustle! Maybe tomorrow if I can get up at 5 a.m…
But here’s the thing: Just focusing day after day on one goal with blinders on is not going to help you.
I know. It’s counterintuitive. Hard work begets success. It’s the American Way. And I’m not arguing with that statement. I’m just saying, maybe we’re looking at this from the wrong angle.
Maybe it’s time to redefine “work.”
There’s a lot of research out there that supports the notion that a healthy body and healthy mind will help you perform optimally. There is a ton of research that urges us to take breaks, eat right, get out in the fresh air, start meditating, take time for “me.” (“Self care” is the buzz phrase.)
It’s all over the place, especially now!
PubMed, which publishes peer-reviewed scientific research, did a survey in 2019 and found that 2,457 of these articles on the topic had been published in 2015. I Googled “self care” and turned up 4.7 billion results.
And for good reason. You need mental and physical rest.
But there’s another reason that stepping away from your desk is beneficial:
It’s because one point of view is, well, one point of view.
When you stay in one spot thinking in one lane every day, you don’t see other ideas. You don’t consider a different way of doing something. You don’t learn anything that can inform your decisions or shift your thinking.
That’s why I started something new:
I added exercise and creative breaks to my daily job duties.
That means now, I start my day with hydration and exercise – and it’s part of my job. I get up, stretch, drink a glass of cold water, and get myself out the door to walk or down into my workout area to lift weights with my fav video instructors. (Just love
Then I have breakfast and get ready to work for my clients, and then spend a few hours writing, coaching, and thinking about those processes.
In mid-afternoon, I take a break. I might sit or lie down quietly and just breathe (usually one of my two cats joins me), or I mosey on over to my art table and add to something I’m painting or gluing. A half hour to 45 minutes is enough to refresh me mentally.
I know there is time to get back to the work I was doing. I know there’s time to meet my daily goal.
The payoff is worth it.
This new way of viewing my “work” as holistic, as including all elements of my life, is paying off. I’m coming up with ideas for blog posts. Sometimes I listen to non-career-related podcasts while I’m working out, and those generate ideas. (Ever listen to Hidden Brain? Just heard an episode about creating our own reality.)
Sometimes working on a collage leads me into different areas of my mind where I find some other way of asking a question or viewing an outcome.
You can do it, too.
When you take time away from your search to do something unrelated, you will:
- Allow your mind to incorporate your thoughts and sights and feelings. (You might be surprised that something helpful occurs to you.)
- Get a break from the stress and have a chance to develop a different, more positive viewpoint.
- Feel more in touch with your own needs (for sleep, for food, for a good cry!).
I know it’s tempting not to. You gotta get a job; gotta get a job; gotta get a job.
Apply. Apply. Apply.
But I offer you a challenge.
Design your day holistically. Include exercise, rest, maybe a nap, or time to read a chapter in a book. Schedule a walk in a local park. Draw or doodle something while listening to a favorite song.
You can get back to your job search. And I’ll bet it will be with renewed enthusiasm and more energy. You might even have a brainstorm that will change the entire process!