3 Ways to Pull the Plug on Holiday Job Hunt Pressure

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It’s no secret: 2020 has been a mess of stress for pretty much everyone. I don’t know anyone who isn’t pumped to turn the corner and move on to 2021. 

job hunt

While the hopes of the New Year are exhilarating, we still have the holidays to get through. And that doesn’t always feel like a positive thing. 

Between coordinating the safest ways to celebrate together and finding room in your budget for purchasing gifts when finances are already tight, this upcoming season of festivities can add to the stress you’re dealing with. 

According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) annual stress report, the average level of stress from the pandemic for American adults is 5.9 out of 10. In comparison, the average level of stress in 2019 was 4.9. The APA claims this is one of the most significant jumps in stress it has seen since starting its report in 2007.

On top of that, 2018 research revealed that approximately 88% of American adults feel stressed from celebrating holidays. 

The urgency you feel to secure a new job heading into the new year can be a great motivator to push through with your virtual job search. But putting that kind of pressure on yourself when you’re already in a stressful situation is harmful to your mental health. 

Here are the top ways to minimize that job hunt pressure during the holidays:

Set boundaries 

You’re not alone if you’re freaking out over the job market. In fact, 70% of U.S. adults say the economy is a significant source of stress, according to the American Psychological Association. In fact, the APA’s previous record-high in this category was 69% during the 2008 recession. 

Those are scary stats, especially for those who have been down this road before. It’s a natural reaction to hunker down on the job hunt so you don’t miss any opportunities. But obsessing is never a healthy approach. 

Commit to yourself that you’ll only search for X amount of hours each day and limit how many interviews you schedule. When you’ve reached the allotted time, put the computer away, and resist checking for more listings on your phone. This prevents job-search stress from dominating your life and well-being. 

Instead of working full-time on the job hunt, switch to part-time hours just for this season. This approach will give you more time to address other stressors and practice self-care while still feeling like you’re making some progress on the job-search front. 

Through it all, don’t lose sight of the activities that improve your mental health. Being kind to your body by practicing good sleep and eating habits, and getting even moderate amounts of exercise is essential when going through this high-stress time.

Push pause

Halting all job hunt activities cold turkey isn’t an option for everyone, but you can take a step away from that stressor for a couple of days at a time.

It’s crucial for your mental well-being to pull away from the things in life that chronically stress you out for a little bit. Just as the CDC encouraged Americans this past summer to take breaks from hearing the news and stressing about the pandemic, give yourself the gift of taking breaks from your job hunt for the holidays. 

These short vacations don’t have to be about traveling somewhere or going to a resort. 

If you have the finances for it, spend the weekend at a cheap and local Airbnb with your spouse or best friends to remove yourself from the setting where you’ve been stuck in stress for so long. 

Plan out a day for a hike or long run, treat yourself to an at-home spa day, spend the hours you usually spend searching on your computer in the kitchen getting creative with baking festive cookies, or finally take the time to catch up on your favorite TV show. 

You’re not doing yourself—or your future employer—any favors by packing your schedule full with applications, interviews, constantly trying to perfect your resume, and endlessly staring at the computer screen. You’re allowed to hit the pause button on it all from time to time to find balance and keep in touch with yourself.

Spend quality time

Quite frankly, the job hunt does not need to be your priority this holiday season. When that pressure starts to consume your life, you miss out on the whole point of the holidays. 

This season will look different than it traditionally does. You may not be able to do all you’d like, but you can still enjoy making memories with your favorite people. After all, 82% of American adults agreed in a 2018 Omeprazole ODT study that the most important part of the holidays is spending quality time with loved ones. 

Besides, spending time with friends and family is a great way to de-stress. They can offer a listening ear to the stress you’ve been under, reassurance for the future, and maybe even advice or leads for your job hunt. 

Additionally, that quality time can be the perfect way to pull your head away from your troubles. If you can stay in the present and prioritize that time together, you’ll likely find yourself rejuvenated and even more ready for the New Year. 

Above all, make the most of that time with your loved ones, regardless of format. They are there for you, and they love you. Try not to let the heaviness of the stress you’ve been under overshadow the small, precious positives this holiday season. 

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.