How to Reduce Stress When You Change Careers

A career transition is both exciting and stressful. These tips on how to reduce stress when you change careers are inspired by a reader.

Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth Blanchard will help reduce the fear and anxiety out of managing the future. You’ll learn simple ways to deal with the changing times, and start moving ahead in your work and personal life safely and effectively.

This article on reducing stress when you change careers is inspired by Laura, who says: “I’m currently working on a change of career. Perhaps in your next article, you could give tips on reducing the stress of transitions. Some of us don’t cope quite as well with them. Can’t wait to read more!”

One of the best tips on how to reduce stress when you change careers is to surround yourself with happy people, activities, kittens, and puppies. Keep your sense of humor, my friend – the more you laugh and smile, the happier and more optimistic you’ll feel. And, feeling positive improves your cognitive functioning and memory, which will help you do a better job at work. And doing a good job will help reduce the stress of a career change.

See what a wonderful upward spiral you can create, just by looking at a picture of something that makes you happy?

Reducing Stress When You Change Careers

Know thyself. Maybe the dog doesn’t make you smile – maybe you’re a cat person, or a baby person, or a donut person. What helps you unwind and deal with your worries? For instance, to reduce the stress of choosing a new career, I’d do yoga. But I hate taking yoga classes because I find them time-consuming and expensive. Instead, I have a pile of yoga DVDs.

My neighbor started chemotherapy treatments today, and she is super stressed about it, of course. She watches mindless cooking shows on TV – that’s her top tip on how to reduce stress. It works for her. Everyone is different, and you need to figure out your best way to reduce the stress of a change of career.

Be aware of how your choices affect your body and soul. Recently, my husband and I have been enjoying Happy Hour every night. For us, this means a couple glasses of wine. I love my wine, but I feel a little weird when I drink every day – it’s a stress release, but it stresses me out! I don’t think drinking alcohol every day is healthy for me, even though I love it. And I certainly don’t think it’s a good tip on how to reduce stress when you change careers.

Learn the difference between healthy stress relief and unhealthy stress relief. Healthy stress relief makes you feel good physically, emotionally, and spiritually. For instance, looking at pictures of donuts isn’t healthy, because I can almost guarantee it’ll lead to eating donuts. This will make you feel fat, lethargic, unhealthy, and unhappy…and your stress level will increase. Looking at pictures of happy dogs or laughing kids will make you smile, which increases the positive hormones in your body.

Unhealthy ways to reduce the stress of a career change include shopping when you can’t afford to or don’t need more crap, over eating, over drinking, snorting or shooting stuff, having risky sex, eating unhealthy foods that make you feel sluggish, watching the news, and spending too much time in front of the television.

Healthy ways to reduce stress when you change careers includes having sex with someone you love and trust, exercising, spending time with animals, meditating, practising gratitude, journalling, praying, spending time with people you love, connecting with people who have the same vision or goals as you, and doing things that make you happy.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. “Change is difficult because it pushes you into a space that’s uncomfortable and unpredictable,” Jeff Johnson in Everything I’m Not Made Me Everything I Am: Discovering Your Personal Best. “The thing about change is that it’s inevitable – it’s going to come, whether we like it or not. We can either get in front of it and make the change, or we can stay behind it and let the change happen to us instead of for us.”
How comfortable are you with being uncomfortable? In one of my favorite yoga DVDs – Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown – she pounds her fist into her hand during one of the hardest yoga poses and says, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” One of my social work professors said the exact same thing last year in class.

How does this reduce stress when you change your career? Adopting the mindset of being comfortable with being uncomfortable encourages you to accept that transition is hard and new beginnings are stressful. But, if your body, mind and soul are used to being challenged and stretched, then you’ll be able to handle anything that comes your way.

How did you reduce stress when you faced a new beginning in the past? What did you learn? That may be the best way for you to know how to reduce the stress of changing careers now.