Trying To Stay Healthy
During The Job Search?
You’re not alone. One quick online search and you’ll find a mountain of search results about mental health during the job search—with titles such as “Job Hunting Tips For People With Anxiety,” “Ways to Keep Going When Job Hunting Is Getting You Down,” and “Why Job Hunting Sucks When You Have Anxiety and Depression.” Even Forbes weighed in on the debate! (Although, the advice that boils down to “just stay positive” is not entirely helpful for people dealing with mental illness).
So if you’re struggling, the first step to taking care of your mental health during a job transition is this: remember that you are not alone. Now, take a deep breath and keep reading.
1. Get Schedule Savvy
The largest obstacle during a job search lies in the fact that most people cannot quit their current job before applying to a new one. This results in essentially working two jobs at once. In order to manage it all, you’ll have to get serious about scheduling. From the moment you wake up to the moment your head hits the pillow at the end of the day, map out what you will be doing.
Take it even further and break down each element of your tasks. For example, you may have scheduled time to work on your resume, but what does that mean for you? Get specific about what that will entail; do you need to create different versions of your resume? Do you want to update your skills? Do you need to check in with references? By unpacking your to-do list in this way you will save yourself a massive amount of time and brain power later on.
Even if you don’t accomplish every single subtask in the first go, it will be a helpful guide for what the task calls for in general. This may sound tedious, but the benefits greatly outweigh the small hassle of planning.
2. Commit To Self Care
Speaking of scheduling, it’s essential to organize time for self care. No one is going to carve that time out for you, so write it in your planner and treat it like another job. In addition to drinking water, getting a good night's sleep, and eating nutrient-rich meals, planning dedicated time for self care is a game changer.
Start by making a list of activities that evoke self care for you. Maybe that means doing a face mask, watching an episode of your favorite tv show, or squeezing in a workout. Include big and small activities, just avoid any which are unrealistic or inaccessible for your current lifestyle.
Next, write down all of the materials, time, and other variables needed to enjoy each of these practices. And finally, look over your schedule and plug in a self-care moment for each day. If there’s a day that you only have 10 minutes for self care before bed, it’s still imperative to your mental health to take that time for yourself. Scheduling a bit of self care each day during your job search can help keep burnout at bay.
3. Create Loving Reminders
Part of self care often means creating affirmations. What are affirmations? I’m glad you asked! Colloquially speaking, affirmations mean self-empowering statements, and creating a handful of loving reminders for yourself can go a long way.
Remind yourself why you’re in this job search, why you’re an asset in the workplace, and what your values are. My therapist says “don’t believe your feelings, believe your values,” and by writing those values down, you can combat shame or insecurity when the job transition isn’t going well. Put together these reminders and possibly your own rejection ritual, like listening to your favorite song or doing some yoga. It’s hard not to take this kind of process personally and feel like each job application is “do or die.” With that in mind, make it a priority to have these affirmations at the ready to remind yourself, at the end of the day, that your self-worth is not tied to your profession.
This all reminds me of a song by Middle Kids called “Call Me Snowflake” because of a line sung towards the end: “Know your worth, it is not your work.” I believe wholeheartedly in this. I know that this world tries to make us think otherwise, but we can’t believe the lie.
4. Reach Out For Help
When all else fails, you can get by with a little help from your friends. Surely you know others who have gone through, or are currently going through, a difficult job search as well. Ask those you trust to look over your cover letter, practice interview questions with you, or just be there for moral support. Like I’ve said before, your friends want to be there for you more than you think—and all you have to do is ask. Sometimes commiserating with a loved one for a few minutes is all you need to feel less alone and ready to take on the next job application.
What practices have helped you support your mental health while searching and applying for jobs? Share in the comments below! 💼✨
Audrey Stanton was born and raised in the Bay Area and is currently based in Los Angeles. She works as a freelance writer and content creator with a focus in sustainable fashion. Audrey is deeply passionate about conscious living and hopes to continue to spread awareness of ethical consumption.