Job hunting is usually an exciting adventure, as you look for a great new role that supports your identity, your lifestyle and your skills. But, in the current climate it can be a real challenge, time-consuming and seemingly filled with disappointments. So, you need to find ways to look after your mental health while job hunting.
The good news is, by maintaining your mental fitness throughout the process, you can remain confident, excited and full of positive energy, which is not only great for your health but can help you impress a potential employer.
Here are 11 ways to protect your mental health while job hunting - backed by science.
1. Visualise the benefits
When you are buying a white car, all you see on the road are white cars. When you can visualise the exact job you want, you are more likely to notice when it presents itself to you and when it doesn’t. Think about how you will feel when you land that job and start to get excited about the possibilities. Scientists have learned that visualisation can change your brain, make you happier, boost your immune system, improve your relationships, and make you more productive.
2. Get a routine
Every great workout starts with a warm-up, the main activity and then a cool down. While you may be tempted to sit by the computer pressing refresh on job sites and email for responses from potential employers, this will drain your energy. Instead, set yourself a routine that involves a healthy amount of job seeking. Giving yourself time to do other things to nurture yourself mentally and physically will pay off in spades.
3. Choose your training partners wisely
You become the sum of the people around you. So, make sure those you keep in touch with right now have a greater emphasis on positive energy than negative. According to research, positive social connections are the greatest predictor of long -term happiness. Whether a coach, training partner or your mates.
4. Spot for others
It is easy to get absorbed into our own world when job seeking but why not spend some of that free time helping others. Doing volunteer work gives us a sense of purpose and connection to something bigger than ourselves which has huge benefits for mental fitness.
Amazingly, the brain benefits of volunteering are so great that it can lower your risk of depression and anxiety, and even boost your psychological well-being. We all need a little more of that right now.
If it’s too hard to volunteer right now then random acts of kindness might also do the trick. Send a kind note to a neighbour, offer to do someone’s shopping or reach out to someone who you think needs it most during this time.
5. Vary your workout
Most people have a bit more time on their hands at the moment. So, why not stretch yourself mentally by learning a language, unleashing your inner artist on a creative activity, brain teasers, quizzes, puzzles, read or listen to something new. Learning new skills, like a second language, benefits abilities like intelligence and memory, while lowering risks of brain ageing, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
6. Get in the zone
Whether you get completely engaged in the process of job seeking each morning, take up a new virtual hobby or learn a new skill during this time, getting your mind into the zone, also known as a state of flow, helps build mental fitness.
Those who regularly get in the zone experience greater creativity, increased productivity, accelerated learning, ability to overcome fears, improved athletic performance, better sleep, and enhanced happiness.
7. Keep your eye on the prize
When job seeking it is common to feel like life is out of control. But even initiating small actions can give you a sense of empowerment which can give you the confidence to take bigger steps. Accepting some things may be outside your control and keep your eyes on the things that matter and where you can make a difference build mental resilience.
8. Stretch yourself
Our greatest achievements come from overcoming adversity and that is not possible without some hard work. Set goals, aim high and know that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
9. Celebrate the wins
When you have lifted a personal best, you celebrate. Job seeking is no different.
Perhaps you got a callback, maybe a video interview, even if you spent your non-job seeking time wisely. Dr Martin Seligman, one of the world’s leading positive psychologists stresses a sense of accomplishment is a large contributor to helping us flourish.
10. Practice some self care
This is a great way to look after your mental health while job hunting.
While a massage after a heavy session of job seeking may not be on the cards right now, practising some self-care can be. Getting enough sleep, preparing healthy, nurturing meals, taking some time out to do the things you love can be a massage for the mind.
11. Keep in touch with your mentor
Like a sports coach or trainer, a good mentor can inspire you to keep going. Research shows that mentors can help boost your mental wellbeing because they listen, offer sound advice and provide direction. So, if you have a career mentor, ensure you nurture this relationship (even if you cannot see them in person) by setting up video conference call or sending them an email.
Dedicating time to your mental fitness will not only keep you feeling great but will also ensure you are sharp, energised and putting your best foot forward when the next big opportunity comes your way.
We hope you enjoyed our tips for protecting your mental health while job hunting. If you’re serious about landing that dream job, contact a trusted recruitment agency and get advice from the experts in labour hire, temporary work and recruitment. With a little professional help, you might find that next new opportunity is closer than you think.
 Seligman, M.E.P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York, NY: Published by Free Press.