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Self-Care for Job Seekers

Topics: Career Advice

You’re looking for a new job, and it’s stressing you out to the point of collapse. You have to learn some self-care so you don’t implode.

Remember, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.


You’re in the Top Five

If you’re looking for work because you lost a job, congratulations! You’re going through one of the top five most stressful life events, according to Stress Resilience Specialist Heidi Weiker.

Stress can manifest itself in physical symptoms, Weiker said. A few examples:

  • Inflammation
  • A compromised immune system
  • Digestion issues
  • Lower bone density in women
  • Loss of libido and sleep
  • Stronger emotional reactions from weariness to anxiety and agitation

“If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for others. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish – it’s a responsibility,” Weiker said.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Tip #1: Breathe

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Max van den Oetelaar/Unsplash

So many stressful situations can be diffused by just taking a moment to breathe in and out. Take a meditation break if that helps. (Try a free guided meditation app like Calm). When you start to feel itchy and twitchy from job searching, step back from the computer and take a break.

Tip #2: Slow it Down

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If you’re unemployed and looking for work, you might be in a hurry to find a new job. But if you get impatient with the details, you’re more likely to make a misstep that will cost you.

Typos on resumes or cover letters don’t say good things about your attention to detail. Harassing the hiring manager every few hours about the progress of your application will not get you an interview. Instead, try to be patient in your search.

Find ways to fill those anxious hours that are productive both for your job search and your brain. Switch from scrolling job listing sites to connecting on networking sites or groups. Email a couple of alumni from your past schools or past colleagues to chat with them about their work environments. Research companies in the news or via their profiles online.

If you're unemployed and looking for work, you might be in a hurry to find a new job. But if you get impatient with the details, you're more likely to make a misstep that will cost you. Click To Tweet

Tip #3: Don’t Get Overwhelmed

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Ian Espinosa/Unsplash

Especially when you’re starting out, it can seem like you have SO MUCH to do and not enough hours in the day to do it. After all the job search itself can feel like a full-time job.

“The whole multistep process—networking, looking for openings, revising and reviewing your resume, preparing for your interview, repeat—can be monotonous, unfulfilling and all-consuming,” said Valarie Berrios at MediaBistro. “It’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly nonstop loop.”

The answer is to get organized. Think of your job search as the ultimate project you’re managing. Set aside “job search” hours after work (never at work) and keep to them regularly. When the time is up, go and do something else.

Keep yourself organized so you don’t accidentally contact the same person twice, or use the wrong name with an email address. If you stay on top of your organization, the search won’t feel so much like a mountain of to-do’s.

Tip #4: Don’t Hide

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Elisabetta Foco/Unsplash

If you’ve gone through a layoff, firing or you’re just a little awkward about your search, you may feel the need to keep it from loved ones like your significant other or friends and family. Don’t do that! Keeping your feelings bottled up inside won’t improve things. It’ll just make your friends worry about you.

Instead, reach out and talk to trusted loved ones about what’s going on. It’s great to have a support network there when you need someone to bring you a hot drink or just watch a movie together. It’s also a good idea to tell others that you’re looking for work so they can keep you in mind for any openings they hear about. That’s networking at its core!

Tip #5: Don’t Underestimate Yourself

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Sammie Vasquez/Unsplash

Does it seem like your dream job requires a dream applicant — i.e., not you? Keep in mind that often, job listings are at best a “wish list.” It never hurts to apply for a job you’d be great at (even if you’re not a 100 percent perfect fit). Don’t talk yourself out of taking a chance.

You might try listing your strengths and experience in a list you can keep in your sights during the day. A little positive affirmation never hurt anyone.

Remember: You’re awesome, and we believe in you. Now, go get ’em, Tiger!


What do you do to practice self-care? Share your story in the comments or talk with us on Twitter.

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