Whether you’re searching for a job or looking to grow in your current position, many assume that a large component of the path to success is working yourself to death in order to optimize your productivity.
During the job search, this could mean obsessively writing cover letters, sending out cold emails, or trolling job boards and network connections for a lead on a prospective position. On the job, workaholics looking to get ahead may put in long hours after work, skip lunch, or take on projects outside of their department in order to impress higher ups.
However, this approach to success doesn’t take into account your well-being, which can effectively work against you in trying to reach your goals. You can’t work at your best if you don’t feel your best both physically and mentally. Here are three ways prioritizing personal wellness can help you to excel in your career.
Leisure time refreshes your mind for the next challenge
All work and no play doesn’t just make Jack a dull boy – it can cause his career to stall as well. Constantly putting your nose to the grindstone without ever giving yourself time to relax can prevent you from thinking outside of the box or seeing the bigger picture in order to reach your goals.
Working without a break can cause you to become so laser focused on a certain way of doing things that you’re never able to see other perspectives or solutions that could be more effective. The quality of your work can also take a nosedive thanks to burnout, causing your productivity to suffer.
For example, if you work to consistently send out 20 resumes and cover letters a day to prospective employers, the quality of your applications may start to decrease as the weeks go on. You may start missing key components to include in your cover letter or fail to see an opportunity to optimize your resume for the job because you’re working towards quantity over quality.
You can potentially avoid these pitfalls by giving yourself permission to take a break. A break gives you the mental space to reassess your process and see where you can improve. An optimal break could be taking time out to spend with friends, reading a good book, or watching your favorite series on Netflix – basically anything that takes your mind off work and entertains you.
Proper self-care improves your professional image
Productivity isn’t the only factor of success. Your image is incredibly important in influencing your coworkers’ or interviewers’ perception of you thanks to a subconscious psychological bias known as the halo effect. The halo effect states that people infer both good and bad personality traits based on your attractiveness. Often, this perception can be what tips the scale between one potential candidate and another. You can work to upgrade your “halo” through proper grooming and styling.
The grooming factor influencing your halo is all about taking extra steps in your regular self-care routine to improve your appearance in the long-term. This means finding skin care products that work well for your complexion, finding and maintaining the ideal hairstyle for your face shape, and taking steps to perfect your smile.
You can also look for short-term beauty solutions for the physical traits you’re self-conscious of. If you regularly struggle with acne or cold sores, this could mean finding a foundation to even out your complexion or a reliable fast-acting cold sore medication to deal with cold sore breakouts.
The styling component of your image is based on what you wear to work everyday or your outfit choice for a prospective interview. You should always be making the effort to dress for success. In an interview situation, this almost always means aiming for a formal business look.
On the job, your style depends on the workplace dress code. However, even if the dress code is casual, that doesn’t mean you have permission to show up to work in your favorite pair of sweats. You should make a conscious effort to dress for the job you want. If you want to move into a managerial role, try mirroring the dress code of your superior. This subconsciously associates you with the position you want, and can help in getting higher ups to notice you.
Improving on your appearance doesn’t just encourage a positive perception among hiring managers or coworkers. It also encourages your own perception of yourself, leading to a boost in self-confidence that translates to the quality of your work.
Managing stress optimizes your performance and prevents burnout
Stress is a given in any working environment. When properly managed, it can be a healthy incentive to meet important deadlines or motivate you to work effectively. However, stress has the habit of creeping on you into quickly become overwhelming, especially if you don’t have an effective outlet or method to manage your stress levels. High stress can cause you to make mistakes and negatively impact your productivity and performance.
It’s essential that you take time to de-stress in order to maintain your well-being and prevent it from negatively impacting your work. While this sounds like the importance of leisure time discussed in the first point, there’s an important distinction. Not everyone who is overworking themselves is necessarily overstressed, and not everyone who is dealing with a high stress level is overworking themselves. The same leisure activity meant to refresh your mind may not be effective in easing your stress level.
Physical activity, meditation, and journaling are all trusted stress relievers to blow off steam, center yourself, and organize your thoughts. If those options don’t necessarily work for you, there are other methods to relieve stress to try.