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How mental health can affect your job search

Published: Saturday 10th October 2020

For most of us our mental health, dips and rises from day-to-day, influenced by things like our friends, our family, our jobs, our social interactions and even our genetics. On the other hand, the job market is a tough place for people right now and job hunting can be a stress-inducing, energy-sapping nightmare. On top of this, the coronavirus pandemic has brought upon all of us constant changes, challenges and financial difficulties. Therefore, it is likely that mental health can affect your job search process through added stress.

How can mental health impact your job search?

Looking for a new job is filled with constant emotional highs and lows. Battling the fear of the unknown is enough to make anyone feel frustrated, anxious, and downright bummed.

Job hunting is an intense process that can mess with your mood. For most people, the feeling of having a career and stability is closely linked to their identity. For others, searching for a job can feel like searching for a piece of yourself and until that piece is in place, you can feel unsettled or incomplete.

 woman suffering stress from the job search process

Dealing with rejection in the job search process

On top of that, looking for a new job is a constant lesson in dealing with rejection. No matter whether unemployment is at an all time how or low, misconceptions of the job search process can cloud peoples’ judgements and negatively impact their motivation. Thoughts like “It should be easier and faster to find a job.” Or “There’s something wrong with me if companies aren’t knocking on my door.” Or even the thought of “When I apply online and nobody responds, it means my skills and abilities aren’t as strong as I thought.”

No matter how many people tell you not to take it personally, rejection is, no doubt, difficult to handle every time. It can take a toll on your motivation to move forward with your job hunt.

Acknowledge the challenges

It’s normal to feel additional stress and anxiety during the job search process—but it’s also a difficult cycle to break. So, when you’re feeling down about your job search, how can you cope?

Frustrated young man massaging his nose and keeping eyes closed while sitting at his desk. Mental health concept

Firstly, you have got to acknowledge the situation. Feeling stressed or anxious is natural. It just means you’re human. And for nearly all of us there will be at least one period in our lives when these feelings are so overwhelming, they may get us down or even risk making us ill. Hence taking care of your mental health and remaining positive while job hunting is of tremendous importance. Don’t forget that a change of jobs or careers could even benefit your mental health!

Seek out emotional support

If you bottle up all these stressful reactions, you’ll perpetuate the production of stress hormones throughout your entire body, which will continue to bring you down. Instead, take these emotions as a signal to make a change in your outlook. A great way to do this is to turn to a friend or family member, who can support you and remind you that you are loved, and that you are a person of tremendous value despite the challenges you’re currently facing. Engaging with a therapist can also help you uncover limiting beliefs that are holding you back and learn how to turn those around.

Create structure

Get Organized

As humans it is in our nature to crave order and control. So, it’s no wonder why the uncertainty associated with the job search process can make us feel uneasy and impact our mental health. Creating a schedule for your job search can help add that sense of control to your life. In turn, this can sustain your motivation and keep you thinking positively. For instance, you might set aside one hour each morning specifically to work on updating your resume.

Remember that it is crucial to celebrate your small wins each day. This helps foster positive feelings of self-efficacy. That is, a sense that you are capable of finding a new job. Knowing that you’re able to accomplish goals you set for yourself can help revive your motivation and flip your mindset around.

If you are currently looking for a job, Zoek can help. With thousands of roles across all types of jobs and sectors in the UK, visit Zoek’s job board and search for your next career opportunity.

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