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Returners' A-Z: Overcoming Overthinking and Self-Doubt

One common challenge that many returning professionals face is the tendency to overthink and grapple with self-doubt. The fear of not being good enough, having outdated skills, or not fitting in anymore can lead to paralysis and hinder your progress.


In this blog, we’ll explore practical strategies to help you stop overthinking and reduce self-doubt as you embark on your career re-entry journey.


1. Acknowledge Your Accomplishments:

One of the first steps to combat self-doubt is to acknowledge your past accomplishments. Remember your achievements before the career break and remind yourself of your skills and abilities. Create a Confidence Journal (a list of all your successes, no matter how big or small). This exercise can boost your self-confidence and help to remind you of your value.


2. Set Realistic Goals:

lady stood by autumnal lake, looking dejected

Set achievable, short-term goals for yourself as you return to work. Break down your long-term objectives into smaller, manageable steps. By focusing on these smaller milestones, you can reduce the overwhelming feeling of taking on too much at once. If you can, put a realistic timeframe for you to complete these tasks. Achieving these goals will provide a sense of accomplishment and reinforce your confidence.


3. Continuous Learning:

Embrace the mindset of continuous learning. Industries and technologies evolve, and staying updated is essential. Invest time in courses, workshops, or certifications that align with your career goals. Gaining new knowledge and skills will boost your self-esteem and prove to employers that you are committed to professional growth. Don’t forget, as a Tribe member, you have access to over 30 fully funded nationally recognised qualifications across a range of topics, which you can access here.


4. Network and Seek Support:

Returning professionals often underestimate the power of networking and support. Connect with peers, mentors, and your Tribe coach who can provide guidance and encouragement. Share your concerns and fears with them, as they’ve likely experienced similar challenges during their own career journeys.


5. Challenge Negative Thoughts:

Overthinking often stems from negative thoughts and self-doubt. Challenge these thoughts by asking yourself, “Is this belief based on evidence, or is it just a fear?” Use a physical signal to snap you out of a chain of negative thoughts, such as saying ‘stop’ out-loud, or clicking your fingers, whatever works for you. Develop a more balanced perspective and consider alternative, more positive interpretations of your situation.


lady in red jacket standing in blizzard next to lake, arms aloft in celebration

6. Mindfulness and Stress Management:

Practicing mindfulness techniques and stress management can help reduce overthinking. Activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises can calm your mind and enhance your ability to stay focused and grounded. Use one of the many free mindfulness apps or YouTube videos to help you how to use this. Activities such as running, cycling, knitting and cross-stitch are also a form of mindfulness as they force you to exist in the moment and all those ‘what-if’ thoughts that can cause so much anxiety.


7. Build a Support System:

Build a strong support system of friends and family who understand your journey and can provide the right emotional support. They can offer encouragement when you face challenges and remind you of your strengths when self-doubt creeps in.


Returning to work after a career break is a significant achievement, and it’s important to remember that self-doubt and overthinking are common challenges during this transition.


By acknowledging your accomplishments, setting achievable goals, continuous learning, seeking support, challenging negative thoughts, and practicing stress management, you can regain your confidence and successfully re-enter the workforce.


Embrace your journey, be kind to yourself, and trust that your experience and skills are valuable assets that will help you succeed in your career re-entry.


And if you feel you need more support and guidance on your journey then please reach out - we are here to help.


Lady walking a long and windy hillside path

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