10 Tips to Deal with Stress When Looking For a Job
Looking for a job can be a very stressful journey for most of us. It often follows the equally stressful situation of losing a job. Sometimes this stress can be overwhelming and detrimental to our mental health. Below are some useful tips, which deal with anxiety experienced by many candidates when looking for a new position.
Tip 1: Accept that Grief is a Normal Emotion
If you are looking for a new job out of necessity as your previous position no longer exists, it is normally a lot more stressful than looking for a new position out of choice. The feeling of grief that you may feel can be a natural reaction to the loss of your old position. Other natural reactions include hurt, panic, rejection, anger and fear. These emotions are completely normal and are all part of the grieving process.
It should be remembered that many of the most successful people in Ireland have had rollercoasters of careers, from success to failure and success again. They also have experienced these intense emotions at various stages of their careers. The process of overcoming setbacks is critical to job-hunting success, as it makes us stronger and more resilient for the long haul.
Tip 2: Share Your Feelings
A problem shared can be a problem halved. If you are feeling anxious about your job-hunting journey, confide in a friend or a family member and you should notice straight away a significant amount of the burden being lifted off your shoulders. If you notice yourself struggling a lot to cope it can be well worth while to also confide in your GP.
Tip 3: Write about your Emotions
It can be cathartic to write down your feelings and emotions, especially if they relate to a former boss or colleague. This is a much better option than keeping these emotions bottled up inside, simmering in a passive-aggressive way or exploding inappropriately.
Tip 4: Look to the future
This might be easier said than done but try not to dwell on past injustices where you feel that you were clearly wronged. Try to accept the situation you have found yourself in, as once you have reached this stage you will find it much easier to focus on the future with confidence.
Tip 5: Develop an understanding of how your thoughts, beliefs and actions can impact on your feelings
While looking for a job, thoughts such as ‘I hope I get this’, ‘What if I don’t’, ‘I’m too inexperienced/old/qualified’ and ‘Other people will have a better CV’, may trigger feelings such as hopelessness, fear, anxiety and maybe even despair. Other more helpful thoughts such as, ‘I choose to prepare as well as I possibly can’, and ‘There are many aspects of this job that suit me really well’, can trigger a sense of confidence and hope. This approach of acknowledging thoughts and feelings, and focusing on helpful actions you can take, are based on principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Aware has two separate Life Skills programmes which are based on CBT and offered free of charge – these can be a great way for people to learn basic cognitive behavioural principles.
Tip 6: Be kind to yourself and work on your resilience
If you send off a number of CV’s and get no response, a voice in your head might say, “I’m useless” or “I don’t deserve any luck”. Begin to recognise that these are unhelpful thoughts rather than the reality, and that you do not actually have to believe them or act on them. We can all be very harsh on ourselves, particularly when things are not going well. However, there is nothing to be achieved by beating yourself up. Self-criticism or self-blame can be very common amongst job hunters so practice being kind towards yourself. Often we underestimate just how resilient we are and challenges such as seeking work can give us opportunities to become more so.
Tip 7: Avail of family support
Most family members will want to assist you in your job hunting journey. Some who may have faced a similar journey in their own lives, dealing with the ups and downs of the job-hunting process, can be invaluable to you at this time.
Keeping your family in the loop can be helpful – it helps them to be there for you if you reach a low ebb and are in need of an encouraging voice.
Let your family know how they can support you in the job hunting process. If they are really keen, you can delegate some tasks to them such as researching job opportunities or in keeping a calendar for you in regards upcoming appointments. Having company and sharing thoughts and ideas with a family member is a great way to keep motivated and maintain a positive mental attitude.
Tip 8: Involve your children
Children often get worried when they hear change is afoot. Therefore it is important to maintain an open dialogue with your children and make them feel that you are contributing to the process by allocating them tasks such as putting stamps on envelopes or simply collecting sheets of paper from the printer. Children also help lighten your anxiety if you involve them in this process.
Children also need reassurance that a new job is for the better in the long run.
If you are job-hunting as a result of your last position being made redundant it is neither their fault nor yours. It is better to explain that you lost your job because of the recession and the downturn in the economy, rather than laying the blame on anyone close to home.
Tip 9: Look after your health
“Healthy body, healthy mind” is the old adage – and with good reason: It is important to take time out for regular exercise as it not only boosts mood but also boosts energy levels.
It is also important to take time out for some fun activities rather than becoming consumed by the whole job-hunting journey. Also ensure that you have time to relax rather than applying for jobs seven days a week. 7-8 hours’ sleep a night is also an essential part of keeping a positive and productive mind set. You might like to learn and practice mindfulness which is a wonderful resource for mind and body.
Tip 10: Keep to a Daily Routine and Complete a Job Search Plan
If you find yourself between jobs, be sure to stick to a daily routine and compile a job search plan. This job search plan is also very important if you are anxious to leave your current position.
Breaking up a plan into small manageable chunks is much more attainable than setting unrealistic and lofty goals. In addition to the benefit of remaining motivated achieving these smaller goals gives you much needed momentum to achieve larger goals, when they come to pass.
Reducing stress in the job hunting process is critical to maintaining positive mental attitude. The tips above can help to lessen some of the stress involved. But do remember that if at any stage you are concerned that anxiety or depression is possibly a factor for you, Aware can help. The organisation has a number of trained volunteers just a phone call or email away who can help you learn how to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Aware and Abrivia Recruitment Specialists are working together to highlight the importance of positive mental health at each stage of the job hunters journey.