5 ways to de-stress during a long job search

By Brad McNally, Senior Editor

5 ways to de-stress during a long job search

brad.mcnallySearching for a job takes a huge amount of effort. When the job search is unexpected, or goes longer than you originally thought it would, you can definitely begin feeling the stress. Some people even feel like finding a new job is the hardest job of all, which doesn’t help in the stress department either. While these tips won’t exactly be the thing that lands you the job, they can help you deal with the effects of looking, and beyond that, if you walk into an interview in the right mindset it will likely go so much better than if you walk in a ball of nerves.

1. Develop patience

This is #1 on the list for a reason.  These two words are quite possibly the hardest part of anything in life, including job searching. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a problem with this one as well. If you find yourself looking at the same job posting every day after you’ve already applied for to see if there were changes, you may need to work on this though. Generally, following up on applications makes perfect sense, but it is important not to become obsessive about it. The importance of this is more for your mental health than anything.

2. Exercise (or do some physical activity)

There is plenty of evidence that says exercise has a large number of benefits, and stress relief is a well-known benefit. During any job search you may begin to feel beaten down by the whole process. Putting forth some physical effort can help you develop not just some chemical changes to boost your mood, but also can help you develop some more confidence (especially as you improve in your sport over time). Perhaps running and lifting weights isn’t exactly your thing, but even as much as talking regular walks can help boost your mood.

3. Get outdoors

This one goes hand-in-hand with #2, but winter can make this one difficult. Often those that are job searching end up spending a large amount of time in front of a screen. Updating resumes, writing cover letters, and finding job postings can take up a lot of time on the laptop, so taking a few minutes to get up and get outside can have a quick effect on your stress level. While it can be for exercise reasons, just getting out for a few minutes to take in some scenery can do a lot to lower your stress level.

4. Take up a new hobby

It may be a safe assumption to say that while job searching you might not want to take up the most expensive hobby you can find, but do find something to occupy your time beyond obsessing over applications. One example is restoring old furniture and woodworking. Another option would be knitting, sewing, or anything similar. The act of creating something is cathartic; it can give you some control over something in a situation where you have little control otherwise. You can’t force someone to hire you, although you can do your best to repair. After that, this gives you something to focus that energy on. This can help you develop patience, as mentioned in number one on this list.

5. Treat yourself

This one is also difficult when you are searching for a job because any extra expense seems frivolous, but treating yourself to either a purchase or activity that you would have pushed off otherwise can help relieve stress. It can also help you from going overboard later because you can give yourself small treats here and there instead of draining your bank account on a larger item. Even though it might not make a big difference in the grand scheme of things, a little treat can help motivate you and remove some of the stress.

Job hunting is one of the most stressful things most people experience. Make sure you take the time to work through your stress instead of letting it build up. Find what works for you and stick with it. Keep your head up and keep searching.