5 proven (and easy) ways to deal with job search depression

Losing a job can be a very transformative experience. Job loss can motivate and stimulate us when we think of it as a new beginning and that a better opportunity isn’t far away. We don’t realize that looking for a new job is often a longer process. Studies show that we’ll likely lose motivation and experience job search depression if our search takes longer than ten to twelve weeks. 

While the financial pressures that come with being out of work for a long time are damaging, a prolonged job search can affect us more than financially. Frequent rejections can impact our self-confidence and make us feel inadequate or worthless. Often, this impacts our personal relationships- over time, the consequences can grow more severe.

When we lose our jobs, we also lose a source of identity. We use the work we do to construct our self-view. Without work, we become uncertain about our social role and present place in the world. Despite this, job search depression isn’t irreversible. This week, we’ll cover several tips and processes you can use to overcome it.

Contextualizing the job search

For a start, it might help to put your search into context. For example, if you’re experiencing identity loss, shift your focus to other areas of your life that make you who you are. Spending time with your friends, family and hobbies, and seeking out new experiences are great ways to reconnect with yourself. It can be easier said than done, but if you establish a support network, you’ll put yourself in a better position to tackle these challenges. Support is a critical tool for navigating job search depression.

 

Setting a strategy

Setting bite-sized goals to stack up small but rewarding accomplishments can simplify your job search. You can refresh your resume, set daily application submission goals, or complete tasks that don’t directly relate to the job search, like a half-hour of daily exercise or cooking a healthy meal for lunch.  

Another element of planning is mentally preparing yourself for potential rejection and frustration. You can ask for feedback from recruiters and practice self-compassion to see each rejection as a positive learning experience.

Creating rituals

Setting out a strategy makes it easier to form a daily or weekly routine. Rituals and daily structure are essential to overcome job search depression- they create purpose. Waking up each day and knowing your daily to-do’s can increase self-worth, especially when it’s time to log off. You’ll be able to enjoy your downtime knowing you’ve made good use of your day. Also, setting aside time for breaks can combat fatigue and exhaustion and increase productivity.

Socializing

Between applying and interviewing for jobs, we need occasional distractions from the job search. Socializing with friends and family is a great way to disconnect from stress. Having a network is important, but maintaining your network is even more so. You should find the time to socialize with the people closest to you, as these relationships can be vital to overcoming depression. Your personal network is essential for your emotional support, so if you can, we recommend you check in with the people who care about you.

Hobbies & skills

Another way to stay energized in the job search is to take up new hobbies or invest more time in your existing ones. Learning new skills is rewarding and exciting and can also improve your job search outcomes. Blocking time for learning or indulging in a hobby is a great way to reward yourself and can help combat job search depression.

Navigating job search depression

Experiencing job search depression is, unfortunately, a common effect of unemployment. It can often feel overwhelming, but it’s also something to overcome. Creating a plan and preparing for a long job search is a great place to start. Along the way, check in with loved ones for support, and find space in your daily life to learn, relax, and unwind. Finding a manageable way to balance these aspects of your life can make your job search much easier to navigate.

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