3 Ways Job Searches Impact Your Mental Health, And How To Stop It

When was the last time you embarked on a job search?

For some of you, it might have been a while ago. For me, it was the sole focus of the past two months of my life.

By now, most of you know that I’m taking on a new position in December. I’m looking very forward to it!

I started this search in September for a number of reasons. If I’m being honest, I wanted to find job that paid better, and allowed for better hours. I also wanted a job that made even better use of my skills. While I love my (previous/still current through the end of November) job and the doors its opened for me, I just knew that my husband and I needed better.

No regrets! I’m a firm believer that you learn and gain skills with every employment opportunity.

However, there was one sentence that blew my mind when I sat in interviews during this process. When I asked prospective employers, “what about my résumé stood out to you?” they replied, “well, your résumé is concise, designed well, and fits on one page.”

WHAT!? Could you repeat that!?

I was getting call backs solely because my résumé was efficient!? I mean, that’s great news for me, but what does that say about the rest of society?

I think it says that some of us aren’t open to bettering ourselves, some of us give up too quickly, and some of us just don’t take advantage of the amazing technological tools that are glued to our eyes and hands.

The job hunt has an effect on our mental health, no doubt about it.

Specifically, there are ways that I think a job search can affect your mental health. Some of this applied to me just recently as well. Take a look at these thoughts, and let me know if you agree with them.

  • The job search increases anxiety: Think about it, there’s only so much that you can control in the job hunt. You might be able to put presentation together, but you have no idea who’s competing for the same job as you, and if you’re really what the prospective employer is looking for – that is up to them. This alone can cause sleepless nights, sweaty palms, and racing thoughts in seconds.
  • Depression can set in: If your only current focus in life is getting a new job, other things fall to the wayside. For me, that meant no social life, dishes piling up, and adjusting my schedule within just hours notice. That can onset depression for some of us. Sometimes depression sets in when it feels like you’re waiting forever for an interview too. You start to think, “maybe I’m not good enough?” I know I did while I waited.
  • Sleeping too much or too little: Getting a poor nights sleep before an interview, or while awaiting a potential job offer is a recipe for a bruised mental state. So is sleeping too much. You’re not able to prepare for what comes with the job search if you’re always sleeping until the last minute you can. Sleeping too much or too little has an effect on what occurs during the day, and that can affect what happens in your mind.

So how do we combat all of this during a time period that is just so unpredictable to begin with?

I think it’s important to stay social. Connect with your friends and family throughout the duration of your job search, and don’t dump all of your thoughts and worries solely onto your partner. Sure, they’ll support you – but they’re going to need a break too! This is why a large support system (however large you can make it) is going to be important.

I think it’s also wise to make time for things that make you happy. If you’re a creative, force yourself to create! If you need to workout, go do it! Don’t spend every waking second focused on the search.

Lastly, remember this: the job search is chaotic! There really is no rhyme or reason as to why things do or don’t work out. You can analyze each scenario twenty different ways, but nothing your mind can conjure can explain what’s going on in theirs. The only thing you have control of in the middle of this unpredictable time is yourself. Put your best face and presentation forward. Do not give up the search, but accept that it’s built to be in a state of constant disarray. Furthermore, the fact that a job search is so ever-changing has nothing to do with you. Relax!

You got this!

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