Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: Job Interviews: How do I calm my nerves several days before an interview? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
First, I suggest going over everything that you need to know for this interview. Do everything you can to make sure that you’re as prepared as you can be. Once you’ve done that, there’s nothing else to be done. You know deep in your heart that anticipation and worry will not make anything happen. That doesn’t stop you worrying of course :P But now that there’s nothing else to be done you can turn your nervous energy toward a productive activity.
Your goal is to:
A) get your mind off the interview for as long as you can,
B) give yourself a feeling of accomplishment, or make yourself feel like you haven’t wasted the day, and
C) put things into perspective.
Ideally you want something that will burn off the physical nervous energy as well as calm the nervous mind. This could be one activity or a combination of several over the course of your five days.
Here are some productive activities that I have used to get through the days before an exciting event. Give ’em a try!
- Cleaning. Personally, when I’m nervous, cleaning is my go-to choice. It’s repetitive and not entirely mindless, so I’m both distracted mentally by the task AND using that nervous physical energy in a productive way. When I’m done my mind has been calmed by the repetition, and my body is slightly tired from exerting myself, so I’m able to relax more. And my house is shiny too :D
- Gaming. Many folks love to unwind with a game (video game or other kinds). Gaming challenges the mind with puzzles, works your reflexes, and can be very immersive.
- Cooking. Try a new recipe for yourself, or bake a bunch of stuff for family/friends/neighbors. Cooking requires your full attention, some physical activity, and a large chunk of time…all great things when you need to be distracted from something.
- Catching up with friends/family. When was the last time you called Grandma? Or checked in on that neighbor who talks too much? Need to kill time? Now’s the time.
- Reading. Good if you’re the type who gets really involved in books. If you’re not that type, beware, this might just make you fidget more.
- Sports/Working out. A great way to burn physical energy, but if you don’t usually do athletic stuff go easy. You don’t want to be sore by the end of the week.
- Going for walks. Another of my favorites, although I inevitably let my mind wander to whatever I’m trying to distract myself from. Still, a good way to burn some nervous energy, appreciate the things around you, and gain some perspective.
- Writing. If it makes you feel better, write about the interview, how you feel about it, what you think might happen. Sometimes it helps to calm the mind to get it all out on paper. Or, write about something completely unrelated. Write a review of the book you just read, or a letter to Grandma, or an answer to a nagging question on Quora :)
- Other productive/favorite activities, such as playing music, knitting, gardening, going for a drive, meditating, going out with friends, volunteering at a charity, etc.
Activities like this can really put things into perspective and help you to realize that although the interview is important to you, in the end it’s just another moment in time that will come and go.