How to Manage Stress as a Jobseeker
Looking for work can be an overwhelming experience.
Mental health is a crucial part of life, and should not be neglected while you are on the job hunt. Having too much stress in your daily life can lead to adverse effects for you, your home life and your eventual experience at work. If left untreated, it could also grow into long-term issues such as generalised anxiety or depression.
As such, here are a few helpful tips for whenever you feel the stress beginning to build. They may not work for everyone, but they can be a good starting point. With a little bit of patience and practice, you’ll find yourself better equipped to manage stress whilst looking for work.
Symptoms of Stress
One of the biggest steps to managing stress is acknowledging you are stressed to begin with. It can be easy to push your symptoms aside for the sake of productivity, but this is not stress management. Identify the symptoms when they arise; that way, you can begin to tackle them head on.
Some symptoms of stress include:
- Being unusually short / snappy with people
- Unable to “switch off” after looking work
- Tension in the chest, shoulders, head
- Inability to focus or concentrate like usual
- Trouble falling asleep at night
- Smoking or drinking more than usual
- A sense of dread that you can’t shake
For more symptoms of stress, visit the Mind Charity website.
Take care of yourself
When we are feeling stressed, it can be easy to forget about taking care of ourselves. We can feel demotivated or without energy at the end of the day, resulting in lack of exercise and too many microwave meals. It is natural to retreat mentally inward in times of stress, but it is important to remember that the brain and the body directly influence each other.
During times of high stress, do your best to take care of your physical body. Resist the urge to care less about yourself. Cook yourself a proper meal at the end of the day. Go for a run, visit the gym, or simply turn on some music at home and dance. Staying active may not cure your worries, but it may place a barrier between the job search and your day-to-day life.
As the saying goes: A healthy body is a health mind.
Use Breaks to Recharge
Taking regular breaks – ranging from five minutes to half an hour – can be a great way to break up the day and manage jobhunting stress. However, doing so runs the risk of delaying your stress for later or, worse, taking a five minute break and never returning to the hunt.
To counter this, make sure you stick to the time allotted for your break, and use that time with intent. Bring yourself to the present moment and ask yourself: Is there a particular problem you are stressed about? Is there anything you can do to solve it?
A break shouldn’t be used to avoid a problem – it should be used to address it when you return.
Break Bad Habits and Find Good Ones
Habits are hard to break. But once you have identified your stress, it’s important to look at the habits which feed it.
When something stressful happens, what is your response? Monitor how you behave in the face of a problem and see if those habits reduce, or feed, your stress levels.
In addition, think about habits that you would like to cultivate in the future. Whether it’s to improve your organisational skills, your networking skills or any other ability, the goal of your new habits should be to make your life easier in some capacity.
Identify and remove bad habits. Assess and cultivate helpful ones. It may take time, but you will find your level of stress decreasing as a result.
Try not to be hard on yourself
Being able to manage stressis not an easy task. This is doubly so if you have been looking for work for quite some time. You may make mistakes – You may find yourself worrying over the smallest things, or being impatient with your loved ones.
When these slip ups happen, it is important to not be too hard on yourself. We are all our own worst critics, and being stressed about the fact that we let our stress get the best of us will not do you any favours.
Accept, forgive, improve. That is the key to managing stress.
Note: If you are concerned about your mental health, we highly recommend Mind, Blurt and the Samaritans. All three organisations provide guidance on issues surrounding mental health, and we encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out.
Want to reduce the stress of the job search?
Merit Recruitment offer a bespoke recruitment service for a wide variety of companies. Whether you’re looking to be a manager or a salesman, our team is here to help. To find out more about our services, click here, or call 01256 471 508.