Often one of the first things to go when we’re short on time or overwhelmed with other concerns is physical fitness. But staying healthy and fit should remain a priority during stressful times like a job search. Numerous studies have shown that exercise and eating right are among the best ways to combat stress, increase your stamina, and maintain healthy self-esteem.
You don’t want to walk into an interview feeling sluggish and self-conscious about the extra weight around your belly. Instead, regular exercise can help you walk into an interview feeling energized and confident, while sending a subliminal message to an employer that you’re disciplined and motivated.
Most importantly, if you’re recently unemployed, an exercise routine helps you maintain a sense of accomplishment and control by giving you tangible goals to achieve.
Here are some tips for staying healthy during a job search.
Want to try an experiment? For breakfast one morning, start with a sugary bowl of cereal or a pastry and coffee with lots of cream and sugar. The next morning try something healthier like oatmeal and fruit, eggs and whole grain toast, or yogurt and granola. Notice a difference in how you feel by mid-morning?
Eating well not only keeps your body healthy, it keeps your mind sharp and focused. And it gives you the energy you need to tackle the challenges ahead of you. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to junk food every now and then, as long as it doesn’t become a habit. As a rule, try to eat fresh and healthy food daily and listen to your body. If what you’re eating is sapping your energy or making you feel jittery, don’t eat it.
Make Time for Exercise
Even if you’ve never had a schedule before, it’s now more important than ever to plan out your day. After all, having a plan is the first step in accomplishing anything.
In addition to job search tasks such as checking listings, researching, sending emails and making calls, your daily schedule should also include at least an hour of exercise.
You don’t necessarily need to join a gym or even an exercise class if it’s inconvenient for you. There’s plenty you can do right outside your door, including going for a run, riding your bike or even taking the dog for a brisk walk. The more diverse your workout, the better. The point is to get the heart pumping and the endorphins flowing. Best of all, it will leave you feeling energized and optimistic.
Do What You Like
One of the surest ways to lose interest in your workout routine is by doing exercises you find tedious. If you’re bored every time you go for a run, maybe it’s time to swap it for a different cardiovascular exercise or make it more interesting by listening to music or podcasts.
Maybe you prefer the structure of the gym to the street. Or perhaps you like team sports and would enjoy the camaraderie of an intramural or local sports league. The more fun you have, the more likely you are to keep at it.
Get Enough Sleep
Nothing sabotages your health and well-being like not getting enough sleep. Study after study has found a link between insufficient sleep (six hours or less a night) and some serious health problems, such as heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, dementia and obesity. Getting eight hours of sleep every night is very important for brain health and functioning. It’s amazing how much better the world looks after a good night’s sleep.
Combine this with a good diet and exercise, and you’re ready to take on the world and tackle your goals, both personally and professionally.