How can I protect my mental and physical health when looking for a new job?
Unemployment can be a challenging and stressful time. According to a report by the American Psychological Association, Gen Zers are the most stressed generation, with unemployment being one of the top stressors.
Therefore, it's crucial to take care of yourself during this period and prioritise your mental and physical health. Here are some dos and don'ts to help you protect your well-being:
Stick to a routine: Establish a daily routine that includes time for job searching, exercise, hobbies, and self-care. A structure to your day can help you maintain a sense of purpose and control.
Exercise: Regular exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress, improve mood, and boost overall health. In fact, a study by the University of Michigan found that just 20 minutes of exercise can reduce anxiety symptoms.
Learn new skills: Use the time to learn new skills, take online courses or volunteer in your community. This can help you stay motivated and enhance your job prospects. According to a LinkedIn report, 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates, so learning new skills can improve your chances of being hired.
Connect with others: Stay connected with friends, family, and other job seekers. Joining a job club, attending networking events, or contacting contacts can help you build relationships and stay motivated. A study by the American Psychological Association found that social support is essential for reducing stress and improving mental health.
Seek professional help: If you're feeling overwhelmed or struggling with mental health issues, seek professional help. Available resources include counselling, support groups, and online services. Many companies, such as Google and IBM, offer their employees and job candidates mental health resources.
Isolate yourself: Avoid isolating yourself from friends, family, and the community. According to a study by Cigna, loneliness is a growing epidemic, and social isolation can negatively affect mental health.
Overwork yourself: While spending time job searching is important, don't overwork yourself. Take breaks, exercise, and do things that you enjoy to avoid burnout. According to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study, job stress is the leading workplace health problem.
Compare yourself to others: Avoid comparing yourself to others or dwelling on negative thoughts. Everyone's journey is different, and focusing on your goals and achievements is important. According to a study by the University of California, Berkeley, social comparison can lead to negative emotions and lower well-being.
Neglect self-care: Don't neglect self-care, including eating well, sleeping enough, and taking time to relax. This can help you maintain your physical health and reduce stress. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, sleep deficiency is associated with depression, obesity, and other health problems.
Give up hope: It's easy to feel discouraged during unemployment, but staying positive and focused on your goals is important. Believe in yourself and your abilities, and keep working towards your objectives. According to a study by Gallup, hope is a critical factor for well-being and success.
Companies are recognising the importance of psychological safety for job candidates. For example, Deloitte has implemented a "candidate care" program, which includes resources such as mental health support and financial counselling. Similarly, Salesforce has a "mindfulness" program for job candidates, including stress reduction and self-care resources.
Job seekers can protect their mental and physical health during unemployment by establishing a routine, exercising, learning new skills, connecting with others, and seeking professional help when needed. It's important to avoid isolating yourself, overworking, comparing yourself to others, neglecting self-care, and giving up hope. By following these dos and don'ts, you can stay motivated, positive, and healthy during your job search.
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