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Take Care for the Career Fair

Today's post is written by James M Geckler, Ph.D., LPCC-S, Embedded Clinical Counselor for the College of Engineering.

It’s Career Fair time! That means time to polish up resumes and portfolios, get out the suits, ties, and dresses. And do research on the companies we hope to work for through employment, internship, or co-op. We put a great deal of effort putting ourselves together to present our best selves as a match to what businesses are looking for. After all, being our best and talking about how we are a good match for the company through interests and experience assists us in securing the experiences we want and need to set us up for future success. In the pressure of making ourselves look good on paper and in person, we forget to engage in self-care activities to help reduce our anxiety and stress levels and increase our ability to actively listen and feel confident in our answers to their questions as well as ask our own. There are a few simple strategies that you can do ahead of time to help you be the best you going into the Career Fair and talking with potential employers.

Sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep insures your brain has recharged and refreshed itself so you can be at peak performance. Lack of sleep causes memory issues, inability to concentrate, and irritableness. Imagine all the work you’ve done preparing to speak to potential employers and, because of lack of sleep, you end up forgetting what you wanted to share with them or have a difficulty concentrating on what they are sharing with and asking you. Seven to nine hours is a good amount to get refreshed!

Diet. Certain foods help us manage stress by providing nutrients to boost our serotonin and reduce cortisol. Serotonin is the brain chemical that elevates mood and keeps us relaxed. Complex carbohydrates, like whole grain bread, pasta, and oatmeal are key, especially during Career Fair, because they take longer to digest, insuring longer lasting boost of serotonin. Simple carbohydrates (soda pop and other sweets) give a boost, but do not last long. Vitamin C helps curb the influx of cortisol in our system when we are stressed and helps us recover. Consider having oatmeal and an orange or orange juice the morning of the Career Fair. A light snack, such as fruit and yogurt or a glass of warm milk, the night before can boost serotonin and help you relax and sleep.

Exercise. One sure way to manage stress is to exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, which is another chemical in our brain associated with feeling good, which helps combat stress. Exercise can also improve your sleep. 20 minutes a day of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, helps keep those endorphins up and helps with stress management.

Relaxation. Incorporating relaxation and mindfulness techniques is a great way to reduce anxiety. Counseling and Consultation Service’s smartphone application OSUCCS has a number of breathing techniques and guided imagery under the Self-Help section and is a great way to have them with you everywhere you go! There are a number of other smartphone applications as well: Calm, Slumber, and Headspace to name a few.  

Take care of yourself and good luck with those interviews!

"Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line." - Lucille Ball

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