Twice in the last two weeks I’ve spoken with clients who were discouraged with their job search. Certainly, it can be an isolating, frustrating and disheartening experience. Who really enjoys a cycle of hope and rejection?
But there are ways to keep your spirits up during the job search. Even while you continue to treat your quest like a full-time job (especially if you’re unemployed), you can and should exercise some self-care. Money may be tight, but there are ways to restore body, mind and soul that don’t cost much (if anything) and can pay big dividends:
Get some exercise. If it’s at all nice outside, go for a walk. Studies have shown that spending time surrounded by Mother Nature can improve your mental health and emotional state. Even a park or yard will do! Look for gyms in your area that offer $10 monthly membership dues to get in a little endorphin-boosting cardio. And see if any nearby yoga studios offer a weekly community class at half price so that you can stretch your body and calm your mind.
Seek budget indulgences. See if there’s a massage school in your city where students offer massage therapy for a fraction of the usual cost. Schedule a mani-pedi at a beauty school—it’s a good investment in your appearance for interviews. And splurge on some superfoods that will ward off viruses that prey on the stressed.
Maintain habits and hobbies. Looking for work can be all-consuming. Give it your day, but be sure you carve out time in the evenings and weekends for the things you love: gardening, photography, music, reading, whatever you find absorbing and enjoyable. Focusing on your passion can keep your spirits up during the job search.
Make connections. Volunteering for a cause you care about can take you outside of yourself and offer perspective on your situation. It’s also a great way to meet new people…and you never know where a connection might lead. Most importantly, even if you feel awkward about your employment status, don’t neglect or avoid your relationships with family and friends. They know the real you, regardless of job title, and can help you normalize what sometimes feels like a very lonely position.
Even happily employed people take the day off from work sometimes, so why do we think we can’t take the day off from the full-time job that is looking for work? As long as you get back to work the next day searching for a position, there’s nothing wrong—and much right—with taking some time for those things that can keep your spirits up during the job search. You’ll return to the effort refreshed and re-energized!