Coping with mental health on the job hunt
Credit: ISTOCK (EVERYDAYPLUS)
We are no strangers to stress and its best friend anxiety, but it can be even more difficult to handle while on the hunt for a job.
Mental health is an important aspect of our holistic wellbeing and looking for work shouldn’t get in the way of maintaining it. Sometimes it becomes difficult to balance school, work and health, but if you want to avoid burning out and being overwhelmed by it all, then you need to take some steps to avoid straining your mental wellbeing. Here are some ways to get you started.
Get organized and plan out your day. Consider making a checklist that could potentially make you feel better as you go through; nothing feels better than crossing out a task once it is done and out of the way.
Creating step-by-step plans to get you towards your goal will help optimize your schedule and keep you focused on your priorities. If you feel like you are avoiding a step or task because it feels too daunting and big, then break it down into smaller steps and more manageable tasks. This way you still complete what you need to do, but in a pace, you are comfortable in. There is no need to rush and risk being overwhelmed, take steps on your own time to feel more in control.
Make sure you are in the right mindset going into this job hunt. Do not let the process control you and how you feel, it is a temporary time in your life and its outcome does not define who you are. You are worth more than an occupation and your identity is not just based on your career.
If you get too wrapped up in the process of finding a job and forget that this is just one chapter in your life, it won’t take long for your mind to be submerged by anxiety-ridden thoughts and extreme stress. Take a step back, relax, and treat the experience as it is, an experience. Nothing more.
To help with attainment of a healthy mentality, it is encouraged to pursue a less stressful perspective on job hunting. Treat the hunt as a job rather than a life altering moment. If you create a routine, structure, and stability in your process, then it will become a job with strict deadlines and guidelines that will allow separation from other aspects of your life
For example, provide yourself with allotted times where you work on your job hunt, and times where you can enjoy other activities and pass times for yourself. This way, you can avoid feeling constantly drained and tied to finding a career at all moments of your day.
Just like self-care is important when you are a student, it continues to be important on the job hunt and when you step into the career world. You have to make sure you take time for yourself to nurture your body otherwise it’s a straight road to burnout. Keep a water bottle beside you to remind you to hydrate yourself. A good night’s sleep can do wonders, and you know it. A balanced meal full of nutrients can go a long way in making you energized. Taking a step back and doing the things you love to do should also be part of your process. Self-care will help you in the long run if you continue to incorporate it in your routine.
Socially distanced socializing
Spend time with the people who care about you. Take a break from the stress of finding a job and preparing for interviews by taking time for yourself to do something with your family or safely with your friends, socially distanced of course. Whether it’s a Netflix party movie, a much-needed FaceTime call just to talk things out, or playing a fun game with the family, take that time and let go of the tension and worry of the job hunt. You will find encouragement and support from your loved ones that will rejuvenate your spirit in the process of finding a job.
If it gets too overwhelming the answer is simple: step away and take a day off. Pacing yourself is key in a successful job hunt. If you become to frustrated with your progress or hit a wall with your plans, just give yourself some time. There is no harm in taking it at your own pace to avoid stress and panic. Take the day, do some self-care, reach out to your support system, and get back to it when you feel healthy enough to do so.
Help is there when you need it
Sometimes it is hard to go through the job-hunting process alone without getting overwhelmed, and that’s okay. The first step to getting through the hump is acknowledgment of the problem. Next, is seeking help to get you back on track. Career counselling is available at Fanshawe for those who need some guidance and support before, during, and after the job hunt. Visit fanshawec.ca/student-life/student-services/career-services/career-advising for more information on how to access this service. For personal counselling and other mental health services visit the counselling services page here: fanshawec.ca/student-life/student-services/counselling-services.
We often forget why we are on this search. We get too absorbed in the chaos of it all, that we forget why we are working so hard to making this step towards our careers. Sometimes, all you need is a little reminder to get you through the toughest of days. Write down your goals, dreams, and values. Record them and keep them safe so that when you start doubting yourself or feel a little discouraged, your words will give you the affirmation you need.
Remember that this period is not your entire life, you are more than just a profile picture and the dot jots on your resume. You have worked so hard all your life and if you don’t make it to one or two interviews, then it was not meant to be. Something better is on the way, you just have to take care of yourself, stay focused, keep doing great until that opportunity presents itself to you.