Conquering career fears and managing stress

There’s no doubt that the build-up to getting your exam results can be a stressful and worrying time.

According to research that AAT carried out this summer, nine in ten 16-19 year olds are worried about making the career decisions they may be on the verge of making, such as choosing what job they want to do in the future, or deciding on what to do after they leave school. Worryingly, more than half said that the stress caused by considering these decisions is having a negative effect upon their health.

There are ways to conquer your career fears and manage stress during exam results season.

Remind yourself of your goal and what you’ve accomplished so far

When you feel like you are drowning with big career decisions to make, it can help to remember what your goals and dreams are. Sometimes we focus so much on a single task that we forget to see the bigger picture and think about the successes we’ve had so far. Take a step back and break down the timescales to allow you to think about where you want to be in a year, then five years’ time.

Take charge of the things you can control

There are a lot of pressures you simply can’t control – so try to focus on the things which are within your reach that you can influence to increase your employability. Networking is important, and making valuable connections, whether  through meetings or LinkedIn, can help you to find a job. You can also use networking to identify future clients, research information about a job or create your own personal identity or “brand”. Think broadly and seek help from experts or careers services to understand the industries that your skills might be best suited to.

Watch your diet

It’s easy to reach for high fat, sugary foods when you are feeling stressed, but including brain super foods like wholegrains, oily fish, blueberries, nuts and broccoli into your diet can help to regulate your glucose levels and keep you alert. You also need energy to focus on the day ahead, be this when applying for jobs or for further education courses, so make sure that you regularly get eight hours sleep.

Take your mind off things

Getting out of the house and doing some exercise is a good way to help relieve the feeling of pressure. Anything from walking the dog to running up and down the stairs will help reduce tension and release endorphins. Also remember to relax. Make sure you schedule some ‘me-time’ into your day; whether that’s watching your favourite TV show, calling a friend or going for a jog to keep you balanced.

Spend time with friends and family

Allow yourself some downtime to relax and catch up with friends and family. This can help to take your mind off things and leave you feeling refreshed and energised. Friends and family can also provide a different perspective on some of the things that you may be worried about – don’t underestimate the value of talking to someone or finding yourself a mentor who’s “been there and done that”.

Adam Harwood is AAT's Media Relations Manager.

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