“There are a number of key components to becoming and staying mentally healthy, and the foundations of good mental health are:
- experiencing positive emotions such as joy and satisfaction;
- connecting with others;
- feeling engaged with life;
- having a sense of meaning and purpose;
- setting and achieving goals (no matter how small);
- having a good routine (including being physically active and getting enough sleep.
“These are the building blocks of mental health and wellbeing,” Read says. “Being aware of these while job hunting can help you celebrate your achievements and make you feel like you’re making progress.”
Ways to care for your mental health during your job search
Read says with those building blocks in mind, there are positive steps you can take for your mental wellbeing while job hunting, including:
Treating job hunting like a job: Creating structure and routine in your day by setting a ‘workday’ with a time each day that you will undertake your job searching. This also includes ensuring you have downtime each day and giving yourself days off from job hunting to enjoy some free time.
Setting yourself small goals: Avoiding the temptation to set overly ambitious goals is especially important as failing to accomplish these goals will negatively affect your well-being. The power of small wins means these moments can have a major impact on our mental and emotional health. “When we reach small goals, it builds momentum and we get positive feedback to keep going and hit our target, Read says.” These goals can be as simple as reviewing your resume or following up with references.
Having a sense of meaning: “Think about what you are naturally drawn to, what you enjoy, your skills and strengths and move towards those,” Read says. “Doing things that we love gives us a sense of hope about the future and builds up positivity. And those emotions keep us on track when we’re looking for work.”
Seeing challenges in new ways: “If we don’t get a position or don’t hear back from an employer, we often jump straight to thinking ‘I’m not good enough’,” Read says. “But these thoughts won’t serve you as you move forward.” If you don’t hear back after an application, try not to personalise rejections from potential employers, and focus instead on the things you can do to reach your goals.
Staying social: Make time in your week to connect with family and friends and use this time to remember who you are outside of job hunting. Taking your laptop outdoors or to a coffee shop and having a change of scenery can also have the same effect in lifting your mood.
Learning new skills: This time can be used as an opportunity to upskill or reskill and try a different approach in your job hunting. You can also use this time to pursue new hobbies and skills, which has the added benefit of creating a positive mental health space for you to work from.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that you are more than your job and having a job doesn’t define you as a person. Taking simple actions like those outlined above can help you ensure you have the energy to see your job search through, and most importantly, care for your mental wellbeing.
If you are requiring assistance with your job application documents or are looking at a career change, we have multiple services available that can assist you with finding your dream job.