Job hunting self care tips for being kind to yourself
Job hunting self care tips: Be kind to yourself when looking for work, because it’s hard enough.
Self-care is really important when you’re looking for work, and life’s washing machine feels like it’s on a cycle of research, apply, wait, repeat. Keeping your sense of self intact can be tough, especially if you’re also coping with depression, anxiety or any other aspect of mental ill-health. Over time you might find yourself losing some of that motivation and confidence in your employability, when in fact you’re even more employable than ever because you’ve put so much time into researching and refining your skills, qualities and experience for CVs and cover letters. Here are just a few ways to focus on being kind to yourself when job hunting – even when it’s all taking a bit longer than you’d hoped.
Job hunting self care tips
Taking control can really help
Big steps come from little ones. There are all kinds of small steps you can take when job hunting, and it can help your self-belief to take control of these. It feels better to do than to be done to. Looking for vacancies? Brainstorming (hopefully enjoyable) jobs you’d be qualified for? Filling in application forms? Tweaking your CV and cover letter to match any roles you’re applying for? The less-than-joyful task of filing away those impersonal rejection emails, even? They’re all important and valuable steps towards a goal. One thing you can try is making a list of things you want to do that day. Keep your tasks bite-sized, so you’ll have a highly-deserved sense of achievement of ticking them off as you go. Be realistic in the number of tasks you set yourself. To be realistic about where your head’s at and what you can do that day is an important way to be kind to yourself. With every small but important step, you’re taking control.
Acknowledge how you feel
Does it feel like you’re having a bad day – it’s all getting a bit much and you’re not coping as well as you’d like? It’s better not to brush all those feelings under the carpet, but to be aware of them. If possible, it’s good to have an outlet for them so they can be processed, too. Have a vent with people you trust. Allow yourself to take a break and find a way to relax. Do something that will make you feel better, whether it’s an activity you enjoy or a way of airing out those feelings. Give yourself space to acknowledge your emotions and work with them.
If you have depression, or anxiety, and are working to get that balance between self-care and productivity, take a look at the patterns of your moods. Do you work best in the morning, afternoon or at night? How much sleep do you need, and are you getting it? If you get periods, are you aware of any ways in which they affect your mood and comfort levels, and when that happens in the cycle? Recognising the rhythm of your moods and emotions can help you create a job hunting timetable that’s in tune with the way you naturally work best. For example, if you’re job hunting in winter and your mood is affected by the seasons, perhaps you could try to sit by the window as you job hunt and get as much light on you as possible while you work?
Recognise your achievements
Giving yourself support, encouragement and praise is an important way of mentally rewarding yourself. Acknowledging your achievements can help improve your general well-being and even your productivity. Mentally reward yourself by recognising your achievements as often as you can, especially if your mind is acting like a stuck record with all those unhelpful thoughts that can get in the way! You may well find you respond better to kindness, encouragement and praise from yourself than you do from self-beration. Remember, you’ll have all kinds of achievements and successes on your way to getting hired, and you’ll have lots of them. It’s to your benefit to recognise all the ones you can.
Frame all the steps you’ve taken to get a job so far as the successes they are. Did you make a to-do list? That’s really good, and very important – clarifying the steps to your goal is a big achievement. Did you get a rejection email? That shows how you made it all the way to application stage, which means you must have thought about what skills and qualities you had to offer for the role, and you thought about how to present them to the employer. These are all really important steps you’ve taken. Find an achievement you can recognise every day, and set your limits where you need to.
Mental rewards are important. So are physical ones!
If you have a day where you’re not job searching, allow yourself to feel and appreciate the benefit of a day in bed or a boxset marathon. You are allowed breaks and you deserve them. Balance any job hunting with doing things you really love to do, especially ones you know you get therapeutic value from. This could be cooking, or artistic pursuits, or visiting friends. Cleanliness and grooming are also really important – they’re not luxuries, but a big step to centring yourself and feeling ready for the day. If you’re not feeling at your best, even taking a shower or bathe can feel like a mission – but it can make you feel so much better once you’ve done it.
Rewarding yourself with breaks is a good way to get a new perspective, whether you’re having a good job hunting day or a bad one. Physical rewards help break the pattern of a low mood. For a quick mood-lifter, stick a tune on, get to your feet and give yourself a one-minute disco. If you’re feeling under pressure, try literally changing your perspective by heading out and going for a walk. It can help lift your feelings and clear your head, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Leaving the house can be a big step if you have anxiety, but getting some fresh air or seeing someone can help to improve your mood.
Acknowledge your basic needs
Some key areas of basic needs to consider include:
- You’ve had enough to eat and drink
- You’ve had enough sleep
- You’re clean
- You’re comfortable
- You’re working in a tidy environment where you can find what you need
- You’re working in a place with privacy/sound levels you’re comfortable with
These are examples of your basic needs. If any of these areas need fixing, give yourself time to fix them. It’s not procrastination. It’s taking care of your basic needs.
Don’t go it alone
People you trust – or organisations like the ones below – can help you in many ways. Talking to someone is an important way to air your feelings and get some support. You deserve to talk to someone. Talking to someone is never a sign of weakness, or failure, or something that only other people deserve to have happen. It’s a key way to be kind to yourself and boost your motivation, too. If you’re feeling bad, take a deep breath and allow yourself to tell someone. Asking for help or a listening ear is always OK.
Job hunting takes time. Getting hired happens when it happens, and you’ll get loads of advice online on how to get a job – but remember hopefully these job hunting self care tips will help you remember how important it is to be kind to yourself in the meantime.
Helpful job hunting self care links
- Young Minds – a major UK charity providing support to help improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people
- Get Connected – a free, confidential UK helpline service for under 25s
- Young Women’s Trust – an organisation dedicated to improving the confidence and motivation of young women aged 16-30 who are seeking employment and want to feel ready for work. Their Work It Out coaching is absolutely free.