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5 Self-Care Tips to Reduce Job-Search Stress

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

This post was originally published by The Vault and was written by Raymond Chiu.

Person holding a cup of coffee that reads "Busy Introverting"
Credit: Unsplash via The Vault

Looking for a new job can be anxiety-inducing and stressful. But if you take good care of yourself—and follow these five tips—job searching can be a relatively stress-free activity.

1. Be clear about your next career step

The first step of successful job searching and career seeking is to identify your goal. If you’re not clear about the next step you’d like to take on your career path, then you’ll cause yourself unnecessary stress. You won’t know where to look for jobs, which interviews to go on, and which job offers to accept. Keep in mind that you don’t need to define your 10-year plan—just your next step. So, as clearly as you can, define what you’re looking to do for your next best step in your career.

2. Manage your time well (and don’t over-schedule yourself)

When you’re unemployed and job searching, it’s easy to dilly-dally and watch days go by as you get little to nothing accomplished. And if you’re working full time and job searching, it’s easy to watch weeks (if not months) go by without making much headway. So, consider developing a sustainable job-seeking schedule. For example, in week one, tell yourself you’ll only spruce up your resume and/or update your portfolio. And during weeks two through five, you’ll send out your resume and portfolio to all open positions that seem promising. After that, when you begin to get interviews, you’ll keep a schedule of your interviews without over-packing your days. Perhaps you can schedule just one interview a day if possible. That’ll give you more time to prepare for each interview, and will significantly reduce your stress and anxiety.

3. Give yourself some downtime

It’s easy to get glued to job boards and spend entire days on them while you look for your next best step. Since spending an entire day on these sites will do nothing but stress you out further, schedule breaks from your online searching. Maybe spend the morning online searching and then schedule something else in the afternoon. Maybe in the afternoon you rest, exercise, or prepare for an upcoming job interview. Whatever you do, be sure to schedule breaks and unplug a few times a day.

4. Celebrate small wins

When you’re looking for a job, you often have one aim: to get hired. But that doesn’t mean the entire job-seeking process should be stressful and winless until you reach that aim. Instead, learn to pause to celebrate small wins. For example, each time you secure an interview, reward yourself by prepping a fancy dinner the night before your scheduled interview. Or treat yourself to a soak in the tub so you can have a relaxing sleep—after all, a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to prepare for an interview. Or treat yourself to something unrelated to your job search. The point is to reward yourself for the accomplishment of landing an interview—which, really, is no small feat.

5. Avoid negative self-talk

Job hunting can be stressful in that it gives you a lot of time to ruminate—and rumination can lead to negativity. For example, you might feel insecure about the fact that you’re currently unemployed, and if you haven't heard from any companies lately, you might start to think your resume isn’t good enough. The same thing goes when one of your applications is declined. You start to second-guess yourself, and negative self-talk arises.

So, if possible, when you recognize that you’re speaking negatively to yourself, try to stop the internal chatter, take a few deep breaths, and replace the chatter with something that brings you comfort and takes you out of your negative state of mind. It can be a walk, a run, a guided meditation, reading a book, or re-focusing your job search. Whatever it is, it’s important to avoid negative self-talk as much as possible and do things that help you get closer to taking the next step in your career, not further away.

Raymond Chiu is the Director of Operations for Maid Sailors commercial cleaning service in New York. Maid Sailors takes pride in providing outstanding office cleaning services at affordable prices.

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