I have a new respect for the expression “he’s a pain in the neck.” Since an auto accident 10 months ago, I have suffered continually with neck pain. Believe me, it’s hard to forget a pain so close to your brain! After trying everything else, I had surgery to fuse C4-5 and C5-6 cervical vertebrae.  I am recuperating nicely, but it’s been a very difficult time, for many reasons.

Tips for Quicker HealingI miss daily connection with people. Even though I’ve had many friends call and visit, it just doesn’t feel the same when I’m not the one initiating the visit.

Even small irritations seem bigger when you have pain. I really have a lot of empathy now for people who have chronic illness and never feel quite right.

It’s easy to get bored. One of the prime mandates of recuperation is rest. But there are only so many hours a day when you can sleep. So, filling those empty hours becomes a problem. After I finished watching Downton Abbey from beginning to end, I was ready for something more constructive to do. (Grey’s Anatomy has 15 seasons!)

It occurred to me that job seeking can be like convalescing or mourning in some ways. Here are some tricks that I’ve learned to help me get through this:

Tips for Quicker Healing (from a job loss, death, accident or injury)

  1. Create connection with people daily. Even when you are not to total best, it’s important to have a few conversations every day with people who are sympathetic and can help you. Reach back into your email list and realize that you literally know several hundred people who would be happy to take a phone call. Make a list, and complete as many calls as you can each day.
  2. Forestall boredom with a plan for each day. If you are convalescing, you might have just 3 tasks to complete each day such as: “renew prescription, call Mary and set up a physical therapy appointment.” No matter what the experts tell you, you can’t focus on healing or look for work full-time. There simply aren’t enough activities to keep you busy eight hours a day. So, it’s important to have a schedule for when you focus on activity, and when you rest. It’s important to be available during the workday to talk to recruiters who might call. So, keep your cell phone at your side and plan to work your job hunt in a concentrated way for 2 to 3 hours per day. Give yourself the rest of the day off.
  3. Do important things at your highest energy. If you have a job application, or need to tailor your resume, make sure you do these things when you have the most energy. For me, that means between 7 AM and 10 AM. For you, it might mean 1 PM to 3 PM in the afternoon. The point is this: give your best self to your most important tasks.
  4. Let go of some of the details. You simply may not feel like putting all the dishes away, or folding laundry. If you have exceptionally high standards for yourself, that’s great. But during a time of illness or mourning, cut yourself a break.
  5. Eat well. It’s easier to fix Ramen noodles, or eat last night’s leftover fried chicken. So, as soon as you can, add in fruits, veggies and salads. Take a multi-vitamin or supplements. Even if they aren’t perfect for your condition, taking better care of yourself will give you a lift!
  6. Do take naps. Sleep is nature’s restorative potion. During sleep, we not only rest our bodies, but also restore our sanity! Sleep allows us to process information that may be sad, ugly or uncomfortable. Good sleep can lead to creative ideas and a calmer attitude. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and several important presidents made very good use of naps.

I’ve got more ideas, but my energy level just took a dip. I’m going to take a nap.

Catherine Jewell
The Career Passion® Coach

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