Strategies for Maintaining Good Mental Health During a Tough Job Search

Contributed by: Jane Sandwood

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

“The average job seeker is rejected by 24 decision-makers before they get the ‘yes.’” according to the LA Times. The frequency and depth of rejection experienced during a job search can lead to the development of mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. It can also trigger symptoms in individuals who already have a pre-existing mental health condition. Because rejection can create such profound negative emotions and the loss of confidence, watching out for your mental health while searching for jobs is vital.For those who are seeking a job in Connecticut or elsewhere, explore the following three strategies for maintaining good mental health during a tough job search.

Practice mindfulness
Whether you’re at the stage of creating your updated resume, or you’ve moved on to yet another interview, staying in the present is a big challenge when looking for a new job. Thoughts of what will or won’t happen in the future can be troubling, especially if you are already in the midst of a challenging job search. That is why mindfulness (a practice than encourages one to live in the present) is an extremely useful tool for discouraged job seekers. Scientific research has even backed the effects of these practices on mental health. In one study, mindfulness was “found to be as effective as antidepressants in preventing depressive relapse.” Whether you seek out a guided mindfulness practice online or in person, focusing on what you can do for your job search in the moment is an absolute must.

Reach out to friends and family who support you
Receiving rejection letter after rejection letter is tough on the brain and body. This is no surprise, as the same areas of the brain that control physical pain are activated after experiencing rejection. The disconnection that rejection of any kind creates leads an individual to feel significant emotional pain. It can also lead to physical problems, such as a weakened immune system. Therefore, taking regular breaks from your daily job search to spend time with supportive friends and family is key. Immerse yourself in experiences that reinforce the notion that you are accepted within your social circles, and that this temporary search will soon come to an end.

If unemployed, keep your days structured and stay active
A lack of daily structure and physical activity have both been shown to have negative impacts on one’s mental health. Unfortunately, both of these situations are far more likely to occur to individuals who are unemployed. When you do not have a daily work schedule, it is easy to slip into a pattern of not working out, and spending most of your day on distracting activities. Even if you don’t feel it is necessary, set a regular time for yourself to wake up every morning. Also, participate in physical exercise 3-5 times per week. Creating a routine and staying active will go a long way for your mental health.

The constant rejection experienced during a job search can feel devastating, and can lead to mental health challenges. By practicing mindfulness, reaching out to friends and family, keeping your days structured, and staying active, you can help maintain good mental health for the duration of your search.