Let’s face it, the job hunting is tough. Add the COVID-19 situation to the mix, and you get a nightmarish smorgasbord of stress, anxiety, and sometimes depression. Jobseekers are facing what is arguably to most difficult job market in modern history. Taking care of your mental health has never been more important.
According to statistics, over 6.5 million jobs will be lost in the UK due to the corona virus. Since the lockdown measures were introduced, many companies paused their recruitment processes, some went out of business, and others had to implement layoffs. Needless to say, the last few months have been tough.
Looking for a new job is an intense process, adding all the complication above, it seems nigh on impossible. The constant emotional highs and lows will seriously mess with your mental health. “Will I ever find a job?” becomes a constant mantra.
Adding to that, to most people having a job directly influences our sense of self. Our jobs are closely linked to our identity and we sometimes feel lacking when we don’t have one. It doesn’t help that during the job-hunting process we are constantly dealing with rejection. No matter how much we try to rationalise it and teach ourselves not to take it personally – it still takes a toll on our motivation and self-esteem.
So, how can you take care of your mental health while trying to job hunt?
Structure your job hunt
The unique thing about our current situation is we’re stuck at home. The pressure of lockdown is already playing on our mental health. Our normal structures are currently curbed, and we are already under an immense amount of stress. Add jobhunting to the mix and it could completely derail all your efforts to create a semblance of normalcy.
Humans naturally crave order and structure, so it makes sense to feel uneasy and get anxious right now. A great way to deal with this is creating a schedule. Schedules and to do lists are a great way to add a sense of routine to your day. For example, you might want to dedicate an hour each morning to contact recruiters or set yourself a goal to find 5 jobs you’d be interested in. This can sustain your motivation and also help you from panic applying to jobs you might not even want – desperation can make us do silly things.
Adding structure to your job hunt will give you achievable goals and give you a sense of accomplishment.
Consider the fact that our current situation isn’t usual. Due to the lockdown, we can’t go through our normal routines. The structure of our everyday lives has dramatically changed.
Job hunting can be overwhelming, especially if your only focus is gaining employment. Defeatist thinking can easily counter all your best efforts and lower your morale. Create a step by step process of how you will approach each application. Don’t forget to give yourself some credit for all the progress you’re making.
Approach your job search like any other work assignment. If you break it down into smaller, manageable tasks, the process will become less daunting and more controllable. For example; on Monday you can update your LinkedIn, on Tuesday you can update your cover later, or keeping track of all your applications on an excel sheet. Seeing your progress will make your job search seem more feasible and less stressful.
Take a break
During all of this, it’s important to take a break. Sending as many applications as possible may seem like a great strategy but it can lead to burn out. It’s really surprising how people feel like they must spend every moment of their life job hunting, when realistically they don’t dedicate half as much time to working. The point is… take a break!
Make sure to add frequent breaks to your schedule. We would recommend some stress relief exercises or some simple work out. They will help you relax and clear your mind. If that doesn’t work for you, find what works for you and do that!
If you’re really feeling down and anxious about job hunting. It’s ok to take a break from job hunting altogether. The length of your break is entirely up to you. Do an internal audit of your emotional well-being and give yourself enough time to recoup. Use as much time as you need to get to physically and mentally rested.
Ask for Help
A worry shared is a worry half solved, or so we hear. Set yourself a skype date with a friend or talk to family about your worries. They will provide a realistic perspective to the challenges you’re facing.
One way to feel productive while taking a rest is to find a mentor. You don’t necessarily have to talk about job hunting with them. Getting a job is important but you need to do it in a healthy manner. A job is a long term undertaking and there’s no point through unhealthy methods. Chances are you’ll get burnt out and lose interest in that job. A career is after all a long-term investment.
Another place you can find help from is recruitment agencies. Contact a recruiter on your LinkedIn or better yet, send them a prospecting email with your cv attached. Chances are they would be more than willing to go through it with you or give you tips to improve it.
Reward your success
In all this stress, we sometimes forget to celebrate the little victories we achieve on the way to finding to a new job. Its ok to be happy that you’ve finished one task. Take the time to celebrate that achievement. It’s important to reflect on your progress and take pride in how far you’ve come.
Identify your triggers
If your job anxiety has reached unmanageable levels, it might be time to talk to someone professional about it. Therapists may be able to help you identify your triggers and help you learn how to cope with them.
Finding a job is an emotional rollercoaster. It can take a massive toll on your mental and emotional well-being. The important thing to understand that everyone goes through it, and it’s ok to feel overwhelmed and tired. All you need to do, is your best, and nothing more.
To all the jobseekers out there, good luck! Your job hunt won’t last forever, just take it one day at a time!