Written by: Mike Smith | 3 Dec 2022

How do I look after my Mental Health during my job search?

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This is a very important question, and it’s actually a question we never really get asked, at least directly.

Your physical and mental health are probably the two most important things you are ever likely to own. Until the day where you can cure all physical and mental illnesses using plain hard cash, chasing money should always be a secondary to looking after yourself.

When you enter the job market for the first time (or even after a period of employment), things can be incredibly daunting. The problem is made infinitely worse when you actually don’t know what sort of role you are seeking.

The whole recruitment process can really take its toll on people. Its not uncommon for people to send literally hundreds of applications without hearing a peep. It’s also not uncommon for people to even attend interviews, and never hear back from the prospective employer / recruitment agency – which should be illegal if you ask me – but it does happen.

Both of these scenarios can be devastating to someone’s self-confidence. It’s often perceived as a direct attack from the corporate world on you as a person, which we all know isn’t usually the case.

Firstly, if you are unemployed you need to understand that your job is to apply for jobs. You should be aiming to spend 4+ hours a day being proactive on your job search. People often don’t like to hear this, especially people who attend job center meetings as their targets usually pale in comparison. They suggest applying for 3-5 jobs per week, whereas you should be aiming to do that as a minimum each day.

So here are a few things to really focus on during your job search that will help you remain healthy and confident:

Eating well – Eating well is important for all facets of your life, but it’s especially important when you are going through a stressful time. Eating a balanced diet can reduce cortisol (your primary stress hormone) and improve concentration levels. The problem people can face is comfort eating, which unfortunately can become its own addiction.

Going for a walk – Break up your day! You don’t need to sit at a computer all day, and in fact, that is not productive. Going for a short walk, or doing other physical activities, such as sports or going to the gym, will dramatically improve your outlook on the situation. Trust me, this is a big one and it’s time-tested.

Speak to people – Tell people how you’re feeling. Talk to friends, family, or even support groups. It’s a tough time looking for a job, especially at the start of your career, and although it may leave you feeling very vulnerable the vast majority of people will have been through a similar stage in their life.

Try not to beat yourself up too much – Try not to sit there at the end of the day looking at what you failed to achieve, but instead, look at what you did achieve! Yes, you may have wanted to apply for 5 roles and follow up with phone calls, but only managed 3. That’s great! That’s 3 more chances in your pipeline! Self-reflection is important, but it also shouldn’t be seen as negative all the time.

Hopefully these little tips will have helped you get a handle on your mental and physical health. Remember, getting a job and starting a career is important, but if it costs you everything, then it’s not worth it. Finding a balance is crucial.

Also, if you are someone who is prone to struggling with your mental health, just know that having a career that you enjoy changes nearly everyone’s outlook on life.

Most of the people Career Smart work with often have varying degrees of mental health challenges, which can often arise from having no direction in life and feeling inadequate. Identifying a career path, and successfully finding a job in that space can take you from a dark mental place to a world full of positivity, in just a few short moments.