Access to meaningful, productive paid work is considered by some to be a human right. So when something happens and you find yourself among the unemployed, it’s important to keep an eye on your mental health. Finishing school, layoffs, being fired or quitting a bad situation are just some of the reasons people find themselves looking for a job and it’s stressful for everyone. But here are some tips to make it easier on your mental health.
What is mental health?
Mental health consists of our emotional, psychological and social wellness. It impacts how we think, how we feel and how we act. It also has a huge influence on how we handle stress, interact with others and the decisions that we make. In other words, it can have a big influence on your job search and the job you eventually land.
So how do you keep on an even keel?
1. Keep in touch with others
“If you often feel alone, ignored, or forgotten, think about this: closing the door and locking yourself in won’t change anything—literally and figuratively.”― Richelle E. Goodrich
When you’re going to work every day you have friends, co-workers and acquaintances you’re interacting with all the time. Searching for a job takes you away from your regular network and can be isolating. So don’t forget to reach out! Even if you’re not going to be in touch with your former work network, you can make sure you spend time with friends and family or maybe even get involved in activities to make new friends. People do better with social support.
2. Beware of negative self-talk
“Positive things happen to positive people.” – Sarah Beeny
Our biggest enemy can be that negative voice in our head, especially if your job search goes on longer than you expected. Don’t take things personally and don’t get down on yourself. If you find yourself getting pessimistic take a minute to look in the mirror and do some positive self-talk, or try meditation or call a friend. You don’t have to listen to that negativity.
3. Have a plan
“We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our souls.” – Winston Churchill
Looking for a job can make you feel you’re not in control of your life, but you are. One way to help you feel in control is to make a plan. First thing, look into if you qualify for EI. This can take some of the financial pressure off. Then make a step-by-step plan to tackle all aspects of your job search. Spend some time thinking about what you liked about your past work experience and what you didn’t like, to better help you zero in on what you’re looking for.
Take a look at your resume and cover letter, how could you do it better? What’s missing to target your dream job? Make a schedule to maximize the time and energy you put into the job search. Plan things you can do to remain positive if negativity starts to get in the way by outlining tools, services and people who you can rely on for support. There’s a lot you can do, you’re not subjected to the whims of fate.
4. Take action
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” — Estee Lauder
Get outside; get active! And do it in any way you feel is best for you. Take a walk, go to the gym, volunteer with a charity. Don’t spend all your time thinking about looking for work, engage with life! Don’t fall prey to job search burn out.
Everyone goes through this, looking for work is something we all experience and you can do things to make it a positive experience. Besides you never know if this will end up being a doorway to the best experiences of your life.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell