Without a doubt, the economy has been turned on its head in recent months. With over 30 million unemployment claims filed by Americans since the middle of March, some say we are now facing an unemployment rate the country hasn't heard of since The Great Depression.
The action of job searching itself is undeniably a most stressful one. But, when you throw a crisis and worldwide pandemic into the mix, the result is a worryingly increased feeling of anxiety.
Having gone through a drastic career change myself, I know the feels. I was also fortunate enough to guide many women though the process, crystallizing these four steps you must follow to keep that anxiety at bay:
1. Become Fully Aware and Accept What Is Really Happening
As anxiety starts to take hold, we must remain resilient and mentally healthy during such challenging times. To be able to do this at this time, we need to accept the reality of the situation we currently live in.
In recent weeks, the media has exclusively penned the new term coronaphobia. This is now used when explaining our paralyzing fear of progressing further during the time of coronavirus. Because of this, many of us are refusing to face up to the often scary truth of this ever-changing world.
However, this newly termed phobia is claimed as the reason for many of us fearing a return to the workplace full stop. So, we have to turn this on its head and accept where we’re at.
This means it’s now more important than ever to find a way of accepting your feelings and emotions. This means understanding what is triggering our anxiety and causing us to feel a certain way. Therefore, before you do anything else, you need to be aware of this new reality and then consider what our feelings really mean.
For some people, this awareness comes from their current actions. Some of us are responding to this crisis in a physical way. This can show itself through continually visiting the bathroom, feeling the anxiety in your gut. For others, it presents itself in the head, leading to persistent nagging headaches or regular migraines. You may find you can’t eat, or you are, in fact, overeating during this time.
So, it’s all about understanding what is happening to your body, which is the biochemicals. Consider the possibility that your body may be trying to overcompensate for that fear of what will actually happen.
2. Play out Those Worst-Case Scenarios
Once we develop a better understanding of how we are reacting to current events, we can then ask ourselves — what is the result of the worst-case scenario here?
This includes asking yourself that if you could apply the worst-case scenario to all the jobs you’re applying for, what would happen if you didn’t get them? What will it mean each time your job application isn’t successful? Will you consider yourself to be a failure? It is a great idea to go ahead now and play out all these worst-case scenarios in your head. This is because sometimes when we do this, we realize that it’s the fear itself that we’re fearing.
This, in turn, means we’ve got so much anxiety based around fear itself. Yet, once we actually play such scenarios out in our minds, it's less diminishing. We can, therefore, diminish the bigness of such a feeling. Only then, when we think of this scenario and ask those questions, can we arrive at a place when we can then get creative with our responses.
So, understand how, why and where, and ask yourself if you’re going to let it take you on — or are you going to do something about it?
3. Create a Well of Inspiration
To be able to make a positive change and eliminate anxiety, everything around you must create a well of inspiration. By doing this, you encourage yourself to understand that the universe is on your side and that you do have angels looking out for you!
Also, it reaffirms that whatever is going to happen is the best-case scenario for you — it is all for your benefit.
I like to place positive affirmations, inspirational quotes and positive reading material around my work station. Having an optimistic and positive vibe around you is crucial at this time.
4. Consider Your Support System
Finally, we all need to ask ourselves whether we’ve got a sound reliable support system surrounding us.
We already have our internal support sorted; that is our inspiration well to help with our mental anxiety, stress and sense of overwhelming. Now, it’s a case of considering how strong and positive our support team is.
This means ensuring that we have a group or network, no matter how small, of people around us. These are the people that can motivate us, encourage us and inspire us to continue with this improved outlook on the current situation. This can be the key to pushing through with those rejection letters as we move through the heavy demands of the job market.
Ask yourself, who is that one person that you can call? Is there a mentor, a coach, a consultant or a sisterhood that you can turn to? Maybe someone has given you advice before, and you can trust them more in your current space. Ultimately, get that reliable support system in place with someone, or some people, who you know are doing the best they can possibly do at this moment in time.
As you start growing the jobs and sending your resume, the anxiety might come back again. Every time you feel paralyzed, do a mental check, following those four steps to get yourself back on track and keep on pushing. You got this!
Neeta Bhushan is an Emotional Health Educator and Executive Performance Coach to global leaders and CEOs, as well as to thousands of women from all walks of life. She has written two Amazon best-sellers, ‘Emotional GRIT’ and ‘The Book of Coaching’.