Don’t let the long, cold days slow your job search. Use these tips to stay focused this season.
Are the wintertime blues getting you down? You’re not alone.
According to Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry for Georgetown University Medical School and a medical director at the Capital Clinical Research Associates, six percent of U.S. adults suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of seasonal depression that saps your energy during the fall and winter months. An additional 14 percent are affected by a lesser form of these seasonal mood changes.
Even if you aren’t diagnosed with these conditions, it’s easy to feel a little unmotivated on cold, dark, wintery days. Don’t let these winter blues sabotage your career or job search. Here are five ways to stay motivated this season.
Consider investing in a light therapy box to combat the effects of SAD. These boxes simulate outdoor light, which has been known to cause a chemical change in the brain and offset some of the SAD symptoms. Additionally, keep your workspace and home bright – open the blinds on your windows. If possible, move your desk close to a window or skylight to give you maximum exposure to the natural light.
As Tony Robbins would say, “change your state, change your mind.” Exercise is a great way to feel good and relieve stress. Discover which workouts you enjoy and will do regularly, and invest in a club membership, group classes, or an instructional DVD related to the activity. The extra endorphin release will naturally boost your mood. If that isn’t enough motivation, enlist an exercise buddy to help you stay committed.
Find your motivating tool
Everyone is motived by something different, so it’s important to understand what motivates you, and use that to your advantage during the winter months. Do you appreciate recognition? Feel best when you’ve won something? Is inner peace and stress release what you need? Think about what you personally strive for, and the situations that have made you feel good in the past. Incorporate activities into your routine that will help you attain these positive feelings.
Set goals and milestones
Identify one major goal to work towards during the winter season, such as advancing your career or switching jobs altogether. Create smaller, more digestible milestones and activities that you can track on a weekly basis. When you break your goal into more digestible tasks, you’re less likely to become overwhelmed and give up.
Treat yourself as you meet each milestone. Your rewards can vary based on your progress. For example, you might start with something small like treating yourself to your favorite dessert or a celebratory drink with a close friend holding you to your goal, and then commit to rewarding yourself to a weekend getaway in a sunny, warm place once you meet your big goal. Not only will this keep you motivated, but the nicer climate is sure to lift your spirits.
Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.