[03.03.11]
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How To Sleep Like A Baby During Job Search

 how to sleep, job search networking, job hunting, sleep easy, a baby, restful sleep, job search, physiology, sleep, biology, dream, brain, anatomy, during, jobs, transitions, baby, optimistic, sleeping, job The effect of joblessness. Is often a lack of sleep.

But why?

I remember being tired enough. After long days of job search networking, interviewing, reading, and preparing.

There was certainly mental exhaustion

We all need sleep. But sleep isn’t always as easy as it seems. When the world is not cooperating. When unmet expectations and optimism lead to desperation and anxiety.

Oh yeah, that’s why I didn’t sleep enough. I felt anxiety about my job search. Anxiety that woke me with a start.

My other symptom was feeling like someone had wrapped me in three heating blankets.

And usually around 3:00 in the morning.

Sometimes sleep would come again.  But more often than not, the raging synapses were so loud, I usually just snuck out from under the warm covers and tip toed downstairs.

Frustrated.

Why does this happen?  Well, it seems the brain is aware of some unfinished business.  Maybe you’ve been procrastinating.  And your brain is all too aware of it. It knows about something that needs to be taken care of before much longer.

Your mind is also a great story teller.  Dreams are made (it seems) from a variety of real and imagined (projected) experiences. And the fear of an extended job search sends big hairy possibilities to the dream factory.

While sleeping like a baby might be a bit optimistic, here are some ways to starve that part of your brain that wants to create problems.  And begins ringing your internal doorbell in the early morning hours:

Set specific goals each day and accomplish them – This way you will be less strained over unfinished business. You will hit the sheets with the knowledge that you did what you said you would do.  As long as those goals for the week are significant.  Not just “send out two resumes”. That’s easy.  If your head on the pillow is always filling with stuff you should have done or should be doing, keep a note pad by your bed.  At least you won’t have to get up to transfer the information.

Exercise and eat well everyday – During job search, uou have the time and we could all use it.  And exercise (especially cardio) is the work that your body needs to promote a restful sleep.  It also means likely losing some weight. And that means less snoring. Different than raging synapses but a big “waker-upper” in most bedrooms.

Find someone to talk with – If you are like me, you are likely to keep it all in your head.  To not share bad news with anyone.  To keep fears to yourself.  When your spouse, partner or good friend might be able to lighten your load.  To share a new perspective or a new idea about what’s ailing you. This can relieve just enough pressure to let you sleep easier.  So make it a practice to sit down each night before bed and unload.  Or at least weekly in a family meeting.

Take action – If a feeling of helplessness is driving your early morning wake-ups, then take action. Try something new. Figure out what’s holding you back from having successful days and work to fix it.  Try my self-diagnosis tool to see if you can figure out where things are falling short.  If the fix is too big, consider a strategic investment in someone who can help.  A career coach or resume writer.

Make new friendsMaking friends is a good regular practice for life.  They can be a good distraction from a tough day on the job hunt. And if you think your situation is unique.  That you are the only one getting told no or being ignored by HR people. Well you’ll learn from others that you are not alone.  And you may even learn some coping mechanisms.  Or, better yet, some new ideas to change your outcomes.

Create and maintain a family budget – A lot of what scares you is the unknown.  The unconsidered.  And while everyone worries about the money question, many don’t actually sit down and create a transition budget. To know your expenses, where you can save and the best sources to fund your life until you find your next role.

Work to build confidence – I say “work” because it is work.  Driven in part by proactive efforts, resulting successes and a long term awareness of your ability to thrive in tough times. You can also read my 17 ways to build confidence while finding a job.

What specific concerns or fears are keeping you up at night.  Or waking you before you are ready?

What ways have you found to quiet your mind?

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Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Work and Life

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