Mental Health

Self Improvement

Ainsley Lawrence

Why Your Next Career Move Could Be Your Best Self-Care Decision

Why Your Next Career Move Could Be Your Best Self-Care Decision

There’s no question that there’s an issue with stress in the workplace right now. According to the American Institute of Stress, 25% of U.S. workers say their job is the biggest source of stress in their lives. Even if your job isn’t necessarily stressful, you might feel unfulfilled, unmotivated, and uninspired at work. 

Sound familiar? 

Making a change could be the best thing you do for your physical and mental well-being. Self-care is more than just a buzzword. It’s something we all should be practicing each day for overall wellness. While most people consider simple acts of self-care to be things like exercising and getting enough sleep, changing careers could also be a practical and positive way to enhance your personal and professional life. 

Of course, it’s not necessarily as easy as saying “I quit” and moving on. So, how can a career change be beneficial, and what actionable steps can you take to successfully navigate the transition while maintaining your mental health?

The Problem With Unfulfilling Jobs

Finding yourself in an unfulfilling career is more detrimental than you might think. More research is starting to show that your work-related well-being is related to your individual subjective well-being. Your daily experiences at work, whether positive or negative, can have a big impact on how you feel and how you view your life, in general. One study even found that people without a job had higher well-being than those who were dissatisfied with their current careers. 

Feeling burnt out or dissatisfied at work can also lead to more specific mental and physical conditions, including: 

  • Exhaustion;

  • Lack of focus;

  • Headaches;

  • Decreased productivity;

  • Irritability;

  • Feeling hopeless.

If you wake up in the morning and dread going to work, look at that as a huge red flag. You don’t have to like every aspect of your job, but it’s not something that should be so bad that your well-being is compromised.

Get to Know What You Want

Leaving a toxic job or an unfulfilling career is only the first piece of the puzzle. While it can take a heavy weight off of your shoulders, you can take the next step by looking for a new career that fits your needs and wants. Leaving a job that wasn’t for you is a major life change, and that can be scary. But, it’s also one of the best ways to completely turn your life around

Consider your interests, hobbies, and passions. What do you love that could be turned into a viable career? What are some of your strongest skills? Maybe you want to be your own boss. Maybe you want to invent something new and innovative. Or, maybe your passion rests in helping others and giving back. 

Helping people in your community can provide incredible self-fulfillment and is a wonderful form of self-care. The more you give back, the better you’ll feel. You might want to consider a role that will help you make a significant impact on others. Some of the best high-paying jobs that help people include: 

  • Physician Assistant;

  • School Principal;

  • Lawyer;

  • School Guidance Counselor;

  • Civil Engineer.

Obviously, the qualifications for these careers have a wide range. Going back to school could help to inspire you to try something new and step out of your comfort zone. Doing so is actually another form of self-care. While it might be a bit scary, at first, tackling a new challenge can give you more confidence while providing feelings of contentment and fulfillment.

Take Care of Yourself on the Journey

It’s okay not to know exactly what you want right away. Even if you do, there are no guarantees you’ll end up landing the first new job you apply to. A career move is a big decision, no matter how you handle it. So, make sure you’re taking care of yourself along the way and practicing other self-care habits that can make a difference in your life. 

Start by using principles of process visualization to help you get through the journey without feeling overwhelmed. Process visualization simplifies things that might otherwise seem complex, and you’ll be better organized and more efficient as you go through the process of finding a new career. If you’re new to this type of visualization, start by identifying the start and end points, getting rid of unnecessary information, and keeping things as simple as possible. 

No matter where you are on the journey to a new career, keep the basic self-care principles in mind, too. Prioritize sleep, stay physically active, and maintain your mental health by journaling and practicing mindfulness. By staying focused on the present and working on smaller goals, you’ll be less intimidated and overwhelmed by the “what ifs” of the future or the uncertainties of the past. 

Self-care is important for everyone, but if you feel like your career is taking a toll on your well-being, it’s something you should be prioritizing right away. A career change could be the first step in boosting your mental and physical health, and finding long-term fulfillment by stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new.

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