Manal Karime, Ability Management Consultant; Acclaim Ability Management 


Job seeking is stressful under the best circumstances. The ongoing uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic can make the prospect of looking for work feel almost hopeless with increased anxiety and reduced motivation towards finding employment. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t give up. 

Since the beginning of COVID-19, people all over the world are uniting to combat this unusual and unprecedented disease. “Powerlessness” has been a common feeling among many people because of it. It is especially triggering for people who have mental disorders. A study by Huang, Y., & Zhao, N. (2020) showcases that since COVID-19, the number of Chinese people who have generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and decreased sleep quality have increased by 35.1%, 20.1%, and 18.2% respectively.  

Scientists are forecasting that COVID-19 will stay here for the long haul. They predict it and its impact will have an effect for years to come. Even with numerous efforts directed towards the development of a vaccine against COVID-19, the process for developing a safe and effective vaccine will take at least 12 to 18 months. 

Moreover, scientist are speculating that there will be more pandemics in the future. It is important that we start utilizing effective strategies to improve our productivity, combat feelings of powerlessness and reduce our anxiety levels now.

Evidence Based Strategies that Improves Motivation:

1. Assign weekly short-term goals instead of big goals to sustain progress:

Studies have shown that assigning goals is a powerful technique for helping an individual develop a solid foundation for future planning and organization.  By knowing what you want to achieve in life, you can determine where you want to concentrate your time and energy and assess what needs to be improved to make your goal a reality.  By setting well-defined small sub goals, a person can measure and take pride in the achievement of the goals identified.

2. Find effective rewards:

Some tasks you are required to do might be tedious, repetitive, or unpleasant. That’s why it can be helpful to create external rewards that could work as motivators for yourself. For example, you might promise yourself new clothes as a gift for losing weight or dine out as a result of completing a difficult task.

Evidence Based Strategies that Combat feelings of Powerlessness and Reduce Anxiety Levels.

1. Meditation and deep breathing:

Studies have demonstrated that people experiencing anxiety and stress, have imbalanced breathing patterns that contribute to increasing their anxiety symptoms and may lead to sever panic attacks, increased heart rate, and feeling light-headed. As such, it is recommended to practice deep breathing and meditation.

2. Exercise:

Getting regular physical exercise, at least 30 to 40 minutes of moderate exercise daily, can help reduce your stress levels and increase your self-confidence. There are numerous ways to exercise at home or outdoors while maintaining social distancing such as walking, swimming, yoga, dancing, HIIT training etc.

3. Journaling:

Another technique that some people employ to deal with their stress/anxiety is to try to understand and address the factors that contribute to it. Creating a ‘Stress Journal’ where you regularly record information about the stresses you are experiencing can help you understand the causes of stress in more detail, the levels of pressure at which you operate most effectively and how you can improve the way you manage stress.

4. Self compassion:

Be kind to yourself today and every day. Remember progress takes time so stay optimistic, positive, and persistent! You will overcome these obstacles and achieve your goals.