This isn’t a good time for finding a new job.
They say that the three most stressful things in life are moving, losing your marriage, and changing jobs. All are made even more stressful during the pandemic, especially the art of landing a new job.
With perennial optimism and personal connections as key components of successful job-hunting, staying at home during a pandemic is not exactly optimal environmental conditions. Nor are the employment numbers promising for job seekers during the pandemic.
The good news is that the U.S. Presidential election is (mostly) over, and unemployment nationally has fallen from 7.9 percent in September down to 6.9 percent in October, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of people unemployed still stands at 11.1 million, however, and a 6.9 percent unemployment rate is far above the national average of 3.5 percent before the pandemic. There are lots of people currently looking for work, in other words, more than last year at this time.
These trends can make job-hunting exceptionally hard emotionally. What was never a fun task is even more stressful and anxiety-inducing right now.
So if you’re among those seeking a job at the moment, here are five natural ways that you can combat your stress without resorting to an actual chill pill. The job hunt is up to you, but these remedies can help make the process a better experience.
Cure #1: L-Theanine
There are many reasons that people drink tea. One of those reasons is tea’s reputation for pepping us up like coffee, but without the anxiety that coffee sometimes also creates. We can thank L-theanine for that, a compound in many tea leaves that encourages a calm focus. Studies have proven that L-theanine reduces anxiety, helps with sleep—and improves verbal fluency and executive function, both attributes also good for job-seekers.
While you can get a daily dose of L-Theanine from drinking tea, that’s not your only route if you don’t like warming water and stirring tea bags. You also can buy L-Theanine in supplement form, a convenient tablet that can be taken with your daily multivitamin.
Cure #2: CBD Oil
Marijuana to many is considered a great stress-reducer, however it has several downsides, including its hallucinogenic, paranoia effects and the legal issues. Thankfully there’s a fully legal workaround that takes the best of cannabis and skips the intoxication: CBD oil. Using CBD for anxiety can be a great natural way to help with the stresses of job-hunting.
CBD oil is a natural extract from cannabis that is both legal in the U.S. and free of the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that gives marijuana its hallucinogenic properties. It helps bring calmness by targeting the endocannabinoid system responsible for feelings of relaxation and exhilaration after a strong workout. This makes CBD oil a great way to get the calmness and focus normally associated with runner’s high, without having to strenuously run.
There are a variety of CBD oil products on the market that can be used for stress-reduction, including oils, topical creams, soft gels and even edible gummies.
Cure #3: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The food we eat plays a role in augmenting or reducing the anxiety and stress we feel. Omega-6 fatty acids found in refined carbohydrates and cheap vegetable oils can cause minor inflammation in our brain, for instance, which causes feelings of anxiety and stress.
We can counteract the effects of omega-6 fatty acids by eating more omega-3 fatty acids, however. While omega-6 increases inflammation, omega-3 acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that offsets it.
If you’re a health nut, you already know that fish oil is a great way to get omega-3 fatty acids. In particular, mackerel, salmon, herring and oysters are good sources of omega-3. You also can choose an omega-3 supplement if fish is not your thing. But make sure that the supplement you choose is based on fish oil, not vegetable sources; vegetable-based omega-3 supplements are good for vegans, but a Harvard study showed that they aren’t nearly as effective as the fish oil variety. So go with a fish oil supplement if you can.
Cure #4: Rhodiola Rosea
If you’ve ever dabbled in Chinese medicinal herbs, you might be familiar with this next trick for reducing stress: rhodiola rosea. Used for centuries in China, Russia and places such as Scandinavia, rhodiola rosea is an herb known for its powers to reduce fatigue, increase energy—and lessen feelings of stress and anxiety.
That’s because rhodiola rosea increases activity in our parasympathetic nervous system, the part of our body responsible for slowing down physical and mental processes. If we seek calm after that latest rejection letter, taking a little rhodiola rosea will help us put it in perspective on the biochemical level.
Before you go leaning on this herb, though, run a few tests with yourself; while rhodiola rosea reduces stress for most people, it also can cause the exact opposite reaction for some, boosting anxiety and irritability. So test your response to this herb before buying a lot of it, and use one of the other natural remedies in this article if you are one of the unlucky ones who has adverse effects.
Cure #5: Vitamin D
I like to say that vitamin D is for de-stressing. We get vitamin D from sunlight, and a deficiency in this vitamin often leads to feelings of anxiety and stress. When we’re searching for a job and naturally prone to anxiety, the last thing we need is a vitamin D deficiency for making our mood worse.
The most obvious way that you can reduce anxiety through proper vitamin D levels is a brisk walk out in the sun. Walking tackles not just the vitamin D issue, but also reduces stress by getting your body moving and your mind off your job search. I often recommend walking as a way to reduce stress, boost creativity and get needed perspective. Action is a great way to get out of your funk. But walking also helps with that vitamin D thing if you do it in the sun.
Vitamins are a fallback for keeping your D levels in balance, too, but research indicates that vitamin D in tablet form isn’t as effective as the sun. So use vitamin tablets if you must, but get out of the house if at all possible since sunlight works much better.
Experiment to See What Works
The nice thing about natural remedies is that you can play around and see what works best without having to worry about sudden and dramatic adverse effects; natural cures for stress are more gentle than formulated solutions while still being effective.
So play around, have fun, and get your mind off that job search a bit. Remember, this too shall pass. Everything is a season.
While these are natural remedies, talk with your doctor before making any serious changes to your diet or supplement regime. This article is for information purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice.