Top tips for alleviating job seeker stress this Christmas

Published: 28 Nov 2016


Stress is a pretty nasty emotional response that we all have become accustomed to, to some degree, but it needn’t be part and parcel of modern life. Researchers at Yale University have found that stress actually reduced grey matter in the brain which is responsible for self-control, so stress acts as an unproductive and unwelcome barrier which can hamper your search for a career. The New Year is approaching, and if your nerves are boiling, fear not; we have some tried and tested tips to try.

Learn to say ‘no’

Research at the University of California found that participants who just couldn’t say no to a request were more likely to experience higher levels of stress and burnout. Looking for a new career can feel like a career in itself, so it’s only healthy to turn down the occasional request so that you can focus on your search. Saying yes at every opportunity can also turn into a form of procrastination that’ll only prolong or elevate your stress levels.

Step away from the screen

Most of us are guilty of sitting in front of a screen for too long. While modern communication now depends upon a variety of devices to get by, too much screen time over the longer term can lead to poor cognitive function and sleep disorders. Allocate time each day for your job search, but also remember to take a breather and fill your lungs with some fresh air. Your eyes will thank you for it, at least.

Change your perspective of stress

Stress releases extra cortisol which clouds the brain and tends to make us lose everyday items easily. However, studies have shown that the impact of stress on your health can be reversed, simply by changing your outlook. Participants who were told to consider stress symptoms as helpful rather than negative were less stressed after a test, and even more fascinatingly, their physical symptoms transformed into manageable, healthy signs of wellbeing. For example, if you feel physical signs of stress flaring up, rather than focus on the negative, view these symptoms as your body getting energised and ready to take on a challenge.

Pre-mortem planning

If you already know what your stress triggers are that’s great, but what if you could stay calm when you know that a trigger, for example an interview or phone call is approaching? Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin refers to this as ‘pre-mortem’ planning: predicting things that could go wrong so that you can avoid that situation. This can be easily transferred to job search process. What questions could you be asked at an interview? Which areas on my CV and cover letter are they likely to highlight? Preparing ahead of time will keep you cool, calm and collected.

Invest in the help you need early on

No job seeker is an island, and they shouldn’t feel like they are. There are plenty of free, online tools to assist your job search this Christmas, from dedicated social media platforms to job search engines with the features you need to access jobs on the go whilst you’re away. Create a profile today to access 24/7 job alerts, the latest jobs listings and recruiters in your industry.

Stay away from these 4 stress-inducing foods

We all like to let go slightly at Christmas; unfortunately, many traditional festive food and drinks can contribute toward amplified stress levels: caffeine (boo); refined sugar; alcohol and high sodium foods, like salted nuts and cured meat…basically a Christmas party wrapped up into a four-piece parcel!

Inject some positivity

This year, for many, has felt slightly pessimistic, particularly if you’re not already in a career that you would like. Being positive has two enormous benefits: it’s good for you and it’s beneficial for those around you too, and it’s up to all of us to combat negativity to relieve ourselves from stress in this increasingly stressful world. Here are three simple strategies that you can try to slowly retrain your brain:

* Get into the habit of squashing any automatic negative thoughts as soon as they appear to transform your emotional awareness and emotional state.

* Offload all your negativity into a diary for 10 to 15 minutes before bed.

* Create a small list of things that you’re thankful for or how you’ve helped others that day.

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