A curious thing happens around this time of year in many parts of the world as seasons change. Temperatures go through wide fluctuations from one day to the next and for that reason you may see some people quite bundled up and others in lighter clothing. Just today on the way to work I’ve seen some in winter coats, hats and mitts and on the same corner, a guy in his shorts and a light jacket, with no hat or gloves.
Invariably many people will come down with a seasonal cold, and some will say it’s because they didn’t dress for the weather; while others will argue that how you dress has nothing to do with getting a cold at all and its airborne viruses. I’m not wading into that debate, but my suggestion would be that if you are out of work and looking for a job, you do your best to stay healthy and if you do get a cold, treat it early.
Same goes for your personal diet; and by diet, I simply mean your regular food consumption, not making efforts to lose weight as so often interpreted by the word. It’s important that you maintain some healthy eating habits, as the stress of unemployment and the financial hardships you may experience can impact on your food choices. You might find yourself eating more than usual if you are at home all the time and the fridge is calling your name from five feet away all day.
So why the big concern about staying healthy when you are unemployed? Primarily it’s to ensure that you’ve got all the necessary energy to keep up with a full-time job search. You’ll need energy to get out and meet people in-person, drop off applications, network, to sound enthusiastic and full of life on the phone and of course to go to interviews. The last thing you want to do is get an interview for a job you really want and go to it sick as can be. Ever been to an interview where your head feels like it’s going to explode, your eyes are watering and your nose is running, and you’re sweating as your body is trying to purge the illness within? Not a pretty picture. In a case like this, you’d be trying to explain that you are not normally sick on top of everything else you want the interviewer to know about you.
“Sure I’d be happy (Ahchoo!)…sorry about that, (sniff, sniff) to tell you about my strengths. Well for starters, (Ahchoo! Ahchoo!)…sorry again, I’m not normally ill”, and on and on and on. This interview will probably terminate early, might even be re-scheduled. Any interview that goes forth like this is not going to be done with you at your best. The interviewer is going to be left with a first impression of you as a person in poor health, and you may or may not get a person who gives you the benefit of the doubt when you say you are normally healthy.
In addition to any interview considerations, when ill, it’s going to result in lost productivity on your part when it comes to job searching period. You’ll feel inclined to lie in bed longer in the morning, sit with a warm lemon and water a few minutes longer, maybe take a bath in the middle of the day, or curl up on the couch with your blankee and mindlessly flick from station to station to pass the day. All the while, you’ll be telling yourself you’ll make up for things by getting back to job searching tomorrow. Will you add any guilt over not job searching today to how you already feel about being out of work?
If you do get ill during your job search, I’d suggest actually doing whatever you need to do to get better quicker. If this means throwing in the towel for two days and only getting up to make some chicken noodle soup, then so be it. I’d argue that trying to use the limited energy you have to job search won’t be all that productive anyhow and may actually extend your physical illness as your body can’t recoup if it’s resources to heal are being diverted and expended in other pursuits.
Another thing you can consider doing is get your flu shot or vaccinations each year early as the colder weather approaches. Like putting snow tires on your car, you might be able to get through a winter without them, but there could just be that one time you wish you had both the snow tires and the needle!
Your health is your wealth, and staying healthy also makes sure that you are available to help out those around you, be it taking the kids skating or playing road hockey in the driveway, or getting dinner ready for your other half instead of lying around and having someone wait on you hand and foot after a long day at work.
So eat your veggies, get out for a walk, bundle up, get your regular sleep, have breakfast daily, take some vitamins, get out in the sun, get a flu shot, and consider getting in for a medical check-up. Stay healthy.