Managing Depression During Your Job Search

A psychologist once told me that losing a job can have the emotional impact of having a doctor tell you that you have cancer. I have seen grown men and women reduced to tears after a job loss, with overwhelming feelings of grief and inadequacy, in spite of a history of career achievements.

The irony in all of this is that when you’re looking for a job, you have to sell yourself in a very competitive market, so it’s of utmost importance that you remain positive and confident. Be proactive about this! Don’t wait until you’re too depressed to get out of bed in the morning. Develop a plan to keep depression at bay. Following are some suggestions:

Establish a Routine

Searching for a job can be a full-time job in itself, so think of it that way. Set specific hours each day to do Internet research, and establish a rule that you will make at least ten calls to networking contacts and prospective employers every business day.

Develop Strategies for Staying Positive

Let’s face it, looking for a job can be a frustrating and even demeaning experience. I’ve had job seekers tell me they have enough rejection letters to wallpaper a room! Do whatever it takes to stay positive in the midst of it all. Take regular walks, spend more time with family members, or volunteer. In addition, many job seekers have found a period of career transition to be a respite, giving them the opportunity for prayer and spiritual renewal.

Network, Network, Network!

Isolation is unhealthy in the face of discouragement and depression. Take this opportunity to stay on top of business trends, take a class or two to improve your skills, attend conferences, and keep in touch with people in your industry. A capable and caring resume and career consultant can also be a positive source of encouragement and direction as you maneuver your job search.

Take Care of Yourself

Eat your veggies, OD on healthy fruits, enjoy lean meats, stay on a consistent sleep routine, and exercise regularly. ‘Nuff said.

The psychologist was right: a job loss can be a devastating experience. The good news is, it really isn’t the end of the world, although it may seem that way at the time. I can’t count the number of clients I’ve worked with who viewed their job loss as a crisis of cosmic proportions, only to discover after landing another job that it was the best thing that ever happened to them. It may sound cliche, but you can do this, and you may even come through better for the experience. So whatever it takes, refuse to let depression take hold.

~ Anne Follis, CPRW

© Copyright 2010, Anne Follis. All rights reserved.

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