The process of looking for work can be filled with stress and anxiety. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you take care of yourself too. Keep these self-care strategies in mind as you embark on this journey.
1. Pace yourself.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the tasks facing you (the resume-writing, profiles to revise, the people you need to reach out to, the sites to review, etc.). Try to be systematic in your job search. Set aside specific time in your schedule to accomplish tasks, such as looking through job listings or connecting with your network. Develop realistic goals for yourself and remember to schedule breaks.
2. Stay away from negative self-talk.
If you don’t hear back from or receive rejections from potential employers, don’t second guess the value of your experiences. Avoid a cascade of negative thinking by focusing on moving forward. Many HR departments are currently understaffed, creating a backlog of emails and applications. Additionally, hiring personnel often have specific information about the position and hiring process that isn’t communicated in the job posting.
3. Get rest.
Feeling rested helps to keep your mood up, decreases brain fatigue, and generally keeps you in a good frame of mind to handle stress. Take breaks from the job search and try to get good, quality sleep. Maintain good sleep hygiene by staying away from screens–phones, TVs, computer monitors–in the hour before bedtime. If you can, observe a regular sleep routine (i.e., have the same bedtime and wake-up time).
4. Take care of your body.
While it’s always important to get exercise and eat nourishing foods, it’s especially important while you are going through a stressful job search. Try to get outside to soak in some sunshine and vitamin D and eat more fruits and veggies. Consider finding an exercise or activity partner for accountability. A run or bike ride with a buddy, or even a walk and chat over the phone, is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family while getting your body moving. Cooking healthy meals with friends or family also can be a wonderful way to relax and connect.
5. Let go of what you can’t control.
Once you submit your applications or participate in interviews, know that you’ve done your part. Try not to overthink what is happening while you wait for the results of your efforts. This frees up your mind and energy to focus on continuing to move forward with the job search.
6. Celebrate small victories.
The job searching process can be lengthy and unpredictable; it’s hard to know when you will reach the finish line–landing your new job. So remember to enjoy the wins that you do receive when you get them. If you get an interview, celebrate by doing something you enjoy, like taking a hot bath or indulging in a favorite treat.
The job search journey takes however long it will take, and this can be frustrating. But using these self-care strategies to care for yourself mentally and physically will help keep you in a positive frame of mind and ready for opportunities as they come.
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About the Author: Shirley Huey, J.D., is a consultant providing research, writing, and strategic development assistance to organizational clients. Her experience includes service on academic and professional hiring, diversity, and professional development committees as well as coaching peers and mentees. She is also a freelance writer, with a focus on her passions: food and culture.