Although this post is geared towards those of us who may be out of work or underemployed, it is appropriate for all of us who want to get more out of the lives we are currently living.
Would you like to excel on your next interview? Are you having trouble lining up that interview? We all know the obvious: network, research, prepare, etc. But what happens when we put all of our time and effort into the job search at the expense of our health and wellness? We will not be at our best, for sure. Whether on that interview or networking with peers (or at the local market… you never know where that next big break will appear!) Let’s get back to basics. We need to put ourselves first so that we have the resources to excel. Note: No-one can do it all, all the time, or all at once. As with anything, it is often best if we pick the most important and most changeable items and start there. Baby steps!
According to The Under Cover Recruiter, the top seven qualities an employer is looking for are: intelligence, leadership ability, integrity, likability, competence, courage, and inner strength. In order for us to possess and display these attributes, we must have balance in our lives and take care of our health and wellness. “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (The WHO.)
Our bodies are designed to heal themselves. All we need for normal repairs and growth is the proper resources (sleep, nutrition, and exercise.)
SLEEP: According to WebMD, short-term lack of enough sleep can cause decreased performance and alertness, memory and cognitive impairment, stress, poor quality of life, occupational injury, and automobile injury. Long-term lack of enough sleep is “associated with numerous, serious medical illnesses, including high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, obesity, psychiatric problems including depression and other mood disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), mental impairment, and many others. (WebMD)
None of these conditions will benefit our job search, to say the least! It should be pretty obvious that to perform on a professional level and to display our strengths properly, we need to be well rested. Not just on the day of the interview, but every day. There are many resources available to help us sleep better. The first steps are to stick to a regular sleep schedule, pay attention to our food and drink consumption, create a bedtime ritual, set the conditions for sleep comfortably, limit naps, get regular exercise, and manage stress. (For detailed information: MayoClinic.)
NUTRITION: Living on coffee and nutrient-deficient snacks or meals is not going to give our bodies what they need to survive, let alone thrive. As an employer, would you be more likely to hire someone who is vibrant, clear and sharp with a healthy glow, or someone who is haggard and listless? Nutrition is surprisingly simple (to understand, anyway): We need to take in a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole carbohydrates, and lean proteins in reasonable portions and on a regular schedule. Eat foods that our grandparents would recognize as food! That’s it.
Variety is important because each different type of food has different raw materials our bodies need. Each different color of vegetable contains different phytonutrients our bodies require, for example. As always, excess is unhealthy. Period. Even drinking too much water (too quickly) can kill you. Seriously, it can (water Intoxication.) Many of us unemployed think we can’t afford to eat healthy. The truth is, we can’t afford not to. Tips to eat healthy on a budget: MyPlate. There are many others sources a few keystrokes away.
I am sure we all know how important it is to start the day (after an eight to twelve hour fast) with a good meal. Personally, I love leftover dinners for breakfast. Talk about quick and easy! Going too long between meals causes blood sugar drops and feeling tired or sluggish (certainly not an optimal way to be job hunting), can slow metabolism, and cause us to gain weight. (Fit Day) Our brains need the nutrition and the energy to function!
EXERCISE: The benefits of regular exercise cover every aspect of MindBodySpirit wellness. “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning,” says Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey.” (USA News) The evidence abounds. Move it or lose it! Again, no need to go crazy. Move a little bit more than you did yesterday, then make it a habit. Exercise helps with sleep, too (although too close to bedtime may not work for you. It keeps me up for many hours!)
Remember those seven things employers are looking for? They are: intelligence, leadership ability, integrity, likability, competence, courage, and inner strength. When you are healthy and taking care of yourself, you are much more likely to not only grow these attributes, but to also present them well. As job-seekers, we are in the business of selling. We are the salespeople, and we are the products. We each need to know our product in order to sell it. As any salesperson will tell you: the easiest products to sell are the ones of that sell themselves. You can showcase your attributes clearly and vibrantly because you are taking care of yourself. Be a positive and effective product and you will find it much easier to sell yourself for the perfect position!
Wishing you success in your life, and career. Remember, put your health first and everything else will follow!
Photo credit: Dr. Ancheta.