Self-care while job-hunting is always important, but it’s especially so now.
Looking for a new job can be hard work, and sometimes we can get demoralized by the whole thing. And honestly, I haven’t spoken to anyone who isn’t already brought pretty low by everything happening around us these days, so an added layer of discouragement is the last thing we need.
So if you’re in a job-search now, follow these tips to make sure you’re putting energy back into your system instead of just letting it all flow out of you.
- Work in small blocks of time. You may have heard of the Pomodoro Technique, but your approach doesn’t need to be even that formal. Just set a goal that makes sense to you, keeping things short and sweet so you know there’s the reward of a little break when you finish.
- Schedule breaks. This is important both if you have a job and are just adding your search to what you’re already doing and if you are purely in search mode. Breaks give us time to rejuvenate and stop focusing on the problem, and are also important in terms of general mental and emotional wellbeing. I like a combination of short breathers when I can stand up, stretch, and take some deep breaths, and longer breaks like lunch.
- Set boundaries. Determine when you are done working, both for the day and for the week. If your day off is Monday, be sure you are guarding your Monday and not letting tasks creep in. If work starts to be part of everything you do, you will burn out, and that’s not fair to you or your potential new employer.
- Apply for things you want. If you’ve been looking for a job for a while, things can start to feel desperate, and that’s when I see people applying for everything that comes along. But the truth is, your applications to positions you don’t want aren’t going to be very strong, and if you got the job, you would come to hate it quicky, which isn’t worth it.
- Do social things. These can be virtual, or if you’re in a place where meeting with friends outdoors is still possible, think about back yards and outdoor cafes. Our friends can really help us feel more normal and more connected.
- Try to keep general self-care habits. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise—all those things you do when things are normal are even more important when things aren’t You won’t be completely successful (my workout this morning was all of 10 minutes), but keep putting in the effort.
- Forgive yourself when you fall short. Things are hard enough without you beating yourself up! When you don’t do what you intended, understand that that’s just how it worked our for the day, and set your sites on tomorrow or next week instead. This is really a time to treat ourselves (and our loved ones) very gently.