Let’s face it—searching for a new job is stressful at the best of times, and the longer your search goes on, the harder of a toll it can take on your mental health. To avoid the burnout associated with doing too much, it’s important to incorporate self-care strategies into your routine.
When things seem tough, it’s important to take a step back and prioritize your mental health. We’ve looked at what career experts believe to be some of the most efficient and reassuring self-care tips so that you can take care of yourself and come out on top in your career journey!
Pay attention to your needs
At its most basic level, all self-care needs to start with looking after your physical well-being. It’s hard to grow and succeed if you’re neglecting your needs in favor of accomplishing your job-seeking goals.
“There has been a lot of research proving that physical exercise provides countless mental health benefits, including alleviating anxiety, minimizing stress, and increasing brain function.” –Ashley Wilson
At the very least, you need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating right, and getting in some exercise. It’s extremely easy to forget, or at least prioritize, your psychical well-being when you feel the pressure to find a job, especially when you really need the money. But eventually, you’ll begin to feel the neglect catch up with you.
Balance your time
When it comes to job search specific self-care, learning how to balance your time effectively is crucial. Finding a job is important, but you can’t let the search control your every waking minute.
The best way to start is to plan out your day and create a daily schedule, writes Lindsay E. Mack. Use a calendar scheduling app to plan out your day, making sure to include necessary breaks. Adding in time limits on certain tasks will keep you from becoming overwhelmed.
Not only with this help your mental health, but having a balanced approach will make sure you’re covering all of your job search bases and not leaving any avenues behind. Check out this example calendar from career coach Hannah Morgan as a place to get started.
Try time blocking to schedule your week.
You used a calendar at work, now use if for your job search.
It's built-in accountability.
See what blocks to create ⬇ pic.twitter.com/ejEqp8DH5K
— Hannah Morgan (@careersherpa) February 6, 2023
When applying for jobs, don’t make the mistake of isolating yourself. Spending time with others in both a professional and friendly capacity can make the search easier to bare.
The Washington Post’s Danielle Paquette says that there are actual support groups for job seekers, providing a place for others going through the same things to connect. With the prevalence of LinkedIn and the availability of university alumni groups, these types of groups are even easier to find than ever.
“[M]eeting people has so many benefits to your mental health and to your job search! Engaging with others helps you keep a healthy balance during your job search, plus you never know who may have a hot job lead for you.” –Mac Prichard
Hannah Morgan writes that having an “accountability buddy” can help. Not only will this person make sure you’re working toward your milestones, but they can provide a fresh perspective to help you see things clearly.
Learn something new
If you want to take a break from what you’ve been doing but still want to focus on something career-related, there’s always the option of learning a new skill. We’ve evolved into a skills-based hiring cycle, and learning a new skill can be very rewarding.
Forbes’ Christine Y. Cruzvergara mentions the plethora of free or affordable online courses available for job seekers. Not only can you earn something that can go on a resume, but you might meet new friends or someone that can help your search!
Sometimes the most important thing you can do is take a step away from your search and do something fun. It may seem counter-intuitive, but having some fun is not only good for your mental well-being but a good way to reward yourself for your accomplishments.
Mac Prichard suggests getting out of the house and trying something new if possible. This can reinvigorate your life and help you keep things in perspective.
Career coach Emily Liou says that a sense of detachment in the job search is a good thing. Learning how to not take the search personally, handle the rejection well, and accept that something will come along is a healthy mindset. Knowing when to step back is part of embracing this mindset.
“As a jobseeker, the best state you can come from in your search is from a state of detachment: reminding yourself that a rejection isn’t personal, and you will find a great job or something even better down the line.” –Emily Liou
Some of the above tips may seem obvious, but knowing and doing aren’t the same. Are you making yourself a priority during your search? Sometimes the first step is simply recognizing you need a change or a break in routine so that you can get to where you need to be mentally. By embracing the above stratagems, you’ll be putting yourself in a good position to reduce burnout and find the career you deserve.