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Careers Advice

How to look after your mental health whilst job searching

Job hunting is usually an intense process and can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. Especially, as for most people, their career is closely linked to their identity, so searching for a job is like searching for a piece of themselves and until that piece is in place, it’s usual for people to feel unsettled and incomplete.

There are many factors that can play havoc with your emotions when looking for a new job. Dealing with rejection, being ignored or not getting proper feedback, along with a general lack of control can make people feel worthless and invisible. To help you, here’s our best tips on how to manage your mental health whilst seeking a new role.

Connect with others

It’s common to feel isolated when you’re looking for a new job so it’s important to reach out and speak with family or friends. You don’t necessarily need to discuss your job hunt, it’s just important for your mental health to not feel alone and that it’s you against the World. Some people feel ashamed of themselves if they are suddenly out of work, so sharing their issues can give them a sense of hope and perspective. Never suffer alone and seek professional help if you feel you are struggling to cope emotionally.

Manage your expectations

If you don’t hear back regarding an application, don’t automatically tell yourself that you’ve failed and are not good enough. Try not to take it personally because the organisation might have altered or put their hiring plans on hold, or their recruiter is slow to respond. Always remember to keep everything in perspective and be as objective as possible when looking for a new job. Perhaps the company isn’t interested in your amazing skill set and are just rude or maybe they are going to call in a couple of weeks.

Set smaller goals

Whilst your overall aim is to get a new job, breaking the process into smaller steps will make it easier as well as lifting your mental health along the way. Set yourself goals such as updating your CV or apply for five jobs this week.

It’s also important to celebrate the small successes too. Things like getting some feedback at last or being asked to your first interview are important parts of the recruitment process and are one step closer to your new role.

Establish a routine

It’s crucial for your physical and emotional health to have a routine when you’re looking for a new job. Firstly, find a set space to complete your daily job-hunting tasks at, a desk or table would be best. It needs to be somewhere that you leave to take a break from. Don’t sit applying for jobs in bed for example, because your bed is for relaxing and won’t put you in the right frame of mind!

Next, set yourself a timetable of tasks you will complete each day, such as 9:00 – 10:00am for searching the job boards. This includes taking regular breaks throughout the day to keep your senses sharp. It’s important to not just sit all day applying for every job advertised, as this strategy is highly unlikely to be more successful, than researching and putting real effort into carefully selected applications to roles which fit your skill set.

Don’t forget about your physical health as well. Make sure you get some daily exercise, such as going for a walk or swimming, as it’s extremely beneficial for your mental and physical wellbeing. Even a quick ten minute stroll in the fresh air is beneficial for your mental health. Also remember that sleep is vital for a healthy mind and body.

We know that looking for a new role can be a huge physical and mental strain. It’s important to remember that recruitment takes time and that every application is part of that process and possible lessons learnt. Don’t be too hard on yourself and always seek help if things get too much. Organisations such as the NHS, MIND and the Samaritans can provide advice and assistance at any time of the day.

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