Looking for a great job can be taxing on your mind and body. While, hearing variants of “you will get there soon”, and “it’s tough for everyone”, from well-wishers is placating the first few times, soon they start to morph into stressors themselves. You can start getting antsy while waiting for something to take off, and the disapproving grunts from parents gradually get louder. Success stories and achievements of peers can further add to the pressure, and together they can send you down the rabbit-hole of self-doubt.
So, no matter how long the job-hunt process lasts, it is absolutely necessary that you take care of yourself during this time. And, while popular memes and social media posts usually portray self-care as a bubble-bath on a Friday night, or going on a sudden shopping spree, how you take care of yourself and your emotional state depends on you. Having pointed that out, here are a few things that can help guide your self-care regime.
1. Maintain a Support System
A long and arduous job-search can make you want to withdraw. You might feel like you have nothing new to say, or that your friends are getting annoyed hearing about your job hunting stories. But it is helpful to remember that good friends and family will always want to help you. If you are worried that you are annoying them, just make sure when you talk to them it is a two-way street. Isolating yourself from family and friends will make the job-hunt process more difficult. So, keep in touch with those you love.
2. Keep Yourself Motivated
A long job-hunt can make giving-up tempting. To keep yourself rooted, keep reminding yourself of the rewards that the job you are looking for will bring. Put up a board in your room with pictures of the things you will be able to do and afford once you get that job. Write down your professional goal and stick it on the board, so that you have a visual reminder of what you are after. Gyms use pictures of their fittest members on their brochures and walls to show you what’s possible, if only you persisted through those horrifying weight sessions. This is the same process. Keep powering through the process and reminding yourself of the rewards, until you make it.
3. Engage in Other Productive Activities
Everyone knows that finding a great job is important, but it is useful to remember that it is one part of your life. Do not let the job-search take over your entire life. Keep yourself mentally and physically engaged in other activities you enjoy. Read for pleasure, take up crocheting, update your blog weekly (if you have one), hit the gym, go on inexpensive hiking trips with your friends or start a new hobby. Sometimes, when the competition is neck-to-neck, your hobbies can make you a more attractive candidate.
4. Put on Some Social Media Blinkers
Social media is great! It keeps you in the loop, helps you remain in touch with friends and family, and sometimes even gets news from around the world (hopefully not the fake kind). But it can also lead to self-doubt and sadness by flashing only the good-bits of others’ lives. Imagine you have been looking for a job that you remotely want for months, but your classmates on Facebook seem to be levelling-up in their lives like no one’s business. This can lead you to compare yourself with them, doubting your own efforts and skills. To keep yourself motivated, quit scanning how your competition is doing, this will not help you get to your goal sooner. Unless you find someone on your friend list who inspires and confuses you, which brings us to the next point.
5. Find Someone Inspiring
This is not a mandatory step, but it often helps you keep perspective during long job-searches. Following the story of someone extraordinary and impressive can often help keep you focused and inspired. While the definition of what is extraordinary is subjective, the purpose it serves is pretty much the same, which is always bear in mind the silver-lining.
There is also a reverse way of doing this, which is finding someone unreasonably perfect and focusing all your negative thoughts into competing with them, thus making you more productive. Now, this is not a scientifically proven step, it’s just something I do, so you do not have to buy it. How is this done you ask? Well, imagine while we are struggling to find an unpaid internship, there’s news about some 15yr old who has found their own company, saved a litter of kittens from drowning, won the lottery, and landed a role in the next Christopher Nolan movie. As awestruck as I am going to be by that individual, I am going to be angry at them for achieving this level of all-round excellence. And, I am going to use that anger to work harder and harder. The only rule of doing this is to pick someone you have no personal contact or relation with.
While keeping it together during a long and difficult job-hunt is easier said than done, it is, in the end, beneficial to your own well-being and productivity. So, take care of yourself while out in the professional jungle, and happy hunting!