Stop It!

We’re still in the middle of the holiday season, when the whole world seems to be encouraging us to reconnect with family and friends and celebrate and be happy. Then we’re expected to leap into the new year with resolutions and planning and goal-setting and self-improvement (you’ll probably see some of that sentiment here, in fact). There’s no doubt that this can be a wonderful time of year for many people, but it’s just as likely to be stressful and exhausting. As we head into 2013, some people will just be grateful that the holidays are over.

Take a minute to stop everything and just breathe. In fact, take 2 minutes:

Now how do you feel?

There’s a growing body of research on the mental and physical benefits of meditation, including improved immunity, lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety and depression, improved mental focus, and improved ability to manage stress. Don’t those sound like things that could improve your job search? This week between the holidays is a great time to give yourself the gift of some breathing space.

So often, we look at action as a way to justify wherever we are in our lives, getting on the hamster wheel of activity without actually making progress towards our goals. When well-meaning friends and family ask what we’re doing, we use our list of activities as a way to justify the fact that we’re not employed yet.

From author Laura Vanderkam’s blog post Are you as busy as you think?

We all have the same 168 hours per week — a number few people contemplate even as they talk about “24-7″ with abandon — but since time passes whether we acknowledge it or not, we seldom think through exactly how we’re spending our hours.

We also live in a competitive society, and so by lamenting our overwork and sleep deprivation — even if that requires workweek inflation and claiming our worst nights are typical — we show that we are dedicated to our jobs and our families. Being “busy” and “starved for time” is a way to show we matter. Put another way, it makes us feel important.

We’ve encouraged job seekers not to take a break from the search over the holidays, and I’ll stand by that recommendation. Next week we’ll talk about goal setting and action planning and leaping into 2013. But for today: just stop it.

See you in 2013!


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