There’s no magic cure for a bad day, but here’s a few tips to try and help you stop singing the moody blues and get refocused and prepared for the interview:
Identify the problem.
Figure out what’s bothering you and write it down. Sometimes just the mere act of writing it out allows your brain to release it and stop worrying about it. If you’re still not settled, try identifying possible solutions to the issue or asking yourself, “Is it really that bad?” Often problems feel worse than they really are and when we can admit that, we can let them go.
Find a rote task to occupy your mind for a bit. Some people focus on cleaning, others cooking or baking, or tasks like grading papers. Anything that you don’t have to think too much but can get fully absorbed in for a few minutes will do. Why not even run through your interview checklist or go back and review your research on the company and explore their website. These types of tasks allow your mind to be fully occupied with something else and relaxes your thoughts on what’s bothering you.
Phone a friend.
Pick up the phone or go visit someone who makes you smile. DO NOT use this as a time to vent about your frustrations. Save that for after the job interview, as often venting about problems can actually perpetuate them and doesn’t always make us feel better. Explain you’re in a funk and try discussing topics like future plans that you’re looking forward to, funny stories, highlights from each other’s days, or your excitement about the interview to get your mind off of your own woes.
Play some music.
Put on some music that makes you happy. Avoid sad songs that force you to dwell on your problems. Get up and dance or sing and really feel the rhythm and joy the music brings. Know that feeling when a great song comes on the radio in your car and you start belting out the lyrics and you get a big smile on your face? This is the feeling you’re trying to replicate. Try some oldies like “Eye of the Tiger” or “We Are the Champions” to get you in the winning mood for the interview.
Similar to getting busy, do something that allows your creative energies to get lost in the process. Draw a picture, knit or crochet, paint your finger nails, design something–whatever motivates you. Not only will you side track your mind for a bit, but you’ll feel better about creating something that makes you happy.
Talk in a funny voice. Make odd faces in the mirror. Slink around the house as if you were different kinds of animals. Sound a little weird? It should be! Activities like these will get you relaxed and laughing at yourself and definitely not focused on what’s bothering you.
Find a feel good activity.
We all have them–those things we know that make us feel better. Whether it’s walking the dog, a few minutes of a favorite TV show, or reading a chapter in a good book–take a few minutes for yourself to do the things you like to do.
Do a few jumping jacks to get your adrenaline pumping or try yoga to relax and clear your head. Exercise is a great stress reducer.
Hug it out.
Hugs have been proven to raise levels of oxytocin (the feel good hormone) in the brain. So go ahead, find someone to hug! But make it count–three seconds or more is the general rule of thumb. Even better, if it’s another person that’s got you down, hug them, and the barriers that stood between you could start to fall down and make you both feel better.
Force a smile.
And keep it there. Even if you don’t feel like it, smiles have a way of growing on you, and they’re contagious so you may have other people smile back, which in turn will make you want to continue to return the favor. And once the smile becomes natural, it’s effects speak for themselves.
Change your attitude.
Sometimes we just have to make an active choice to change our attitudes and start our day over. If you have the inner will power to do this, it can change your whole day.
Have a spot of tea.
Many of our British counterparts consider a cup of tea as a magic cure all elixir. Perhaps it’s the warm soothing liquid, or having to take the time to sit and relax and enjoy it, or the touch of sugar and caffeine to give you a little boost. Whatever it is, it’s worth a try!
Take a long shower.
Or bath–whatever your preference. Let the warm water wash away any stress or funk from your bad mood. If you’ve got any bath salts or aromatherapy soaps or candles in scents like lavender or peppermint, don’t be afraid to add them to the mix for an added bonus. You need to clean up for the interview anyway, take advantage of that time to pamper yourself and feel good.
Remind yourself of your ‘awesomeness.’
You’re getting ready for a job interview after all, take a minute to go through all the reasons you are an amazing fit for the job. Be sure to use lots of fun descriptors as you run through your reasons to yourself, like: amazing, fantastic, super, wonderful, outstanding, change-maker, etc. The more positive you are, the more confidence you will build to rise out of your mood and re-focused and ready to tackle the job interview. Added bonus: You’re also doing some interview prep in the process of making yourself feel better.
Rinse and repeat.
Still not feeling up to par? Tried a few things but walking around kind of grumpy? Rinse and repeat. Clear your head and repeat any of the above ideas or others until you boost your mood. Make sure you are focused that you actually want to change your mood, get in the right mind set and repeat, repeat, repeat.
No one’s perfect, even the best of us have our days of self pity or where we are just upset with the world. But, we all have the ability to change how we feel or how we approach the day. If the interview is important to you, you’ll make an active choice to get yourself in the right frame of mind to present yourself.
And if for some reason you bomb the interview (and, yes, this too can happen to anyone!), don’t fret. It wasn’t meant to be. Try these same tactics to get you in a better place so you can refocus on your job hunt with a fresh perspective.
Robin L. Rayburn is the Editor & General Manager of Interviewing.com. Robin was introduced to the recruitment industry in 2007 and her passion for people has never let her stray far from it since. In her spare time she manages her blog, RestlessPillow.com, tweets from @interviewingcom and @chitowntexan, and is always striving to help those around her who have a vision for success. You can also find Robin on LinkedIn and Google+.