8 Ways to look after yourself while searching for work

Looking for a job can be hard work and it’s natural to feel discouraged along the way. Whether you’ve just started searching or have been at it for a while, it’s important to look after your physical and mental health during the process. Here are 8 ways to do just that.

1. Set up a routine

Looking for work can be a job in itself. Like any other job, it’s important to create balance between work and life. That means setting aside time to look for work and also making time to rest, connect with others and practice self care.

Having a realistic routine in place can help you stick to your goals and stay motivated. It can also prevent you from overworking and stressing out.

Try to get into a healthy sleep pattern by getting up and going to bed at the same time everyday. Carve out some time to look for a job every day, but don’t push yourself too hard. You don’t want to burn out before you even start working.

2. Stay active

The job hunt can make you feel emotionally and physically tired, but it’s important to make time to be active. If you can, try and get out of the house once a day for some fresh air.

Whether you like to workout, go for a walk or play sports with friends, staying active can help lift your mood. It can also be a great way to get away from the computer and connect with others.

3. Practice positive self talk

If you experience repeated rejections and setbacks, you might find yourself focusing on your failures. Try to take a step back and be kind to yourself.

Instead of saying something like: “You’re hopeless”, try speaking more positively to yourself. You might say something like: “You got through a hard day looking for work. I’m proud of you.”

Think about how you would support and encourage a friend if they were in your position and try to treat yourself the same way.

If you spend a lot of time on social media, you might want to take a look at the voices you’re absorbing. Are they making you feel bad about yourself or are they inspiring you?

4. Set small goals

Your main goal might be to get hired, but it’s also important to set smaller goals for yourself. For example, you might set a goal to apply for 5 jobs by the end of the week or attend one networking event in your local area.

Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. It’s also best to make goals that you can measure – that way you know when to tick them off your list. For example, you could set a goal to work on your resume for 1 hour today.

Ticking goals off your list, no matter how small, can help you feel accomplished and motivated.

5. Celebrate all your successes

Don’t forget to celebrate all the small wins along the way, not just the big win of landing a job. If you get a call back or achieve one of your weekly goals, reward yourself with something that makes you feel good.

Share your small successes with your loved ones too. When others are cheering for you, it can help you feel more encouraged to keep going.

6. Stay connected

Job searching can be an isolating time if you’re not careful. It’s important to connect with others and keep up your social life. Having meaningful connections with others can help boost your mood.

Sharing how you’ve been going with people you trust can help you feel lighter and more positive about your situation. They may also be able to offer suggestions of strategies to try or places to look for jobs.

7. Take a break

If you notice that you’re feeling burnt out, overwhelmed or stressed out by the search for work, it may help to take a longer break away from your computer.

Don’t be afraid to take a day off if you need it. Focus on another activity such as a hobby, spending time with friends or volunteering for something that’s personally meaningful to you.

When you’re feeling disheartened or emotionally fatigued it can be tough to put job searching tips into practice. Taking a break can help calm your mind, and it’ll often mean you can return to the job search feeling more fresh and energised.

8. Get help

You don’t have to do it on your own. If you’re finding it hard to get a job, try seeking professional help from an employment services provider.

If you’re living with injury, illness or disability, you could be eligible for Disability Employment Services, a government funded program which helps people find and keep a job.

Disability Employment Services providers can help you with finding job opportunities, writing resumes and preparing for interviews. They can also help you access mental health support and funding for things like uniforms and transport.

You’ll make the best impression when you’re focused on self care.

If you invest time into your physical and mental health, you’ll be in a better position to impress potential employers when the time comes. If you’re finding it tough to cope, know that you’re not alone and that support is available.

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