Job searching or navigating a career transition can be a full-time job in itself. To-do lists can seem endless and the process can take a toll on mental health. During such transition, scheduling time-out for self-care is all the more important.
Mindfulness is a resource you can include in your job search toolkit and there’s no better time to test it than National Self-Care Day.
What is mindfulness?
In his book Wherever You Go There You Are, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn describes mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.” While its foundation is in Buddhist meditation, secular mindfulness practices and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) have become increasingly popular.
Mindfulness practice enables us to navigate the world more skillfully. We’re able to see present situations with greater clarity and step away from habitual and often unconscious emotional and physiological reactions to events. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness, even for a few weeks, can lead to a wide range of benefits, including reduction of stress, depression and chronic pain, as well as improved immune function, sleep and even skin conditions.
The mindful job search
As job searching and career transitions require significant effort, it’s critical to focus your valuable energy where it’s needed most. Finding and cultivating employment that’s right for you, while balancing other important life responsibilities, may be the most difficult work you do. In the spirit of self-care, take some time-out for yourself when job searching and try these one‑minute mindful exercises*.
- Match your inhales and exhales:
Take a comfortable breath in and count how long it takes you. Now match that number on your exhale. Repeat for one minute, setting a timer so you can focus on the exercise.
- Count your breaths:
As you inhale, silently think 1, exhale 2, inhale 3, exhale 4… all the way to 10. Repeat three times.
- Do a short body scan:
Rest your attention on different parts of your body. As you notice each one, focus your attention there and consciously relax that part of you. In a minute you should be able to do your scalp, eyes, cheeks, mouth, jaw, neck, shoulders, chest, arms, belly and legs.
*Exercises selected from YWCA’s 2015 Work Towards Wellness Campaign.
Mindfulness is just one self-care resource that you can add to your job search toolkit. The YWCA offers a wide range of services and support to help job seekers. Connect with a WorkBC centre or Focus@Work to get started. As always, all of our employment services are FREE.
More mindfulness resources:
- Greater Good – What is Mindfulness?
- University of Massachusetts Medical School – MBSR
- The Mindfulness Summit Meditation Tips
- Healthline – Top Meditation Apps