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31 Jul

Judy Robbins

Content manager

Being unemployed sucks. It takes away your self-confidence. It makes you feel stressed and miserable. It introduces doubt. It reduces your self-worth. It threatens your financial stability. And the longer it drags on, the more it feels as if it could make you crazy.


But you shouldn't give in. Everyone has been through some tough times and just because you don't have a job at the moment doesn't mean that your life should pause. Quite the contrary – there's nothing holding you back from growing and learning new things. But how do you find the motivation and focus when unemployed?

Here are 7 ways to help you boost your mental health during job search and make you appear a more attractive candidate during job interviews.

1. Build a schedule and stick to it


It's easy to lose control over your time when your lifestyle isn't regulated by your job. But even when unemployed, you need to have a schedule.


Make sure that you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Set daily goals for yourself and try to achieve them as planned.


Make your job search into a job. Take your time when browsing offers. Tailor your resume to the job description every time you apply for the job. Check out similar job offers on job boards like Gumtree to learn about what the industry expects of candidates who want to perform your dream role. Try to get in touch with recruiters directly. Research the company.


All this takes enough time to fill a working day. And when you're done, stop thinking about your job search and do something else.


2. Stay positive


That's easier said than done, you might say. But consider this: your energy and enthusiasm for your chosen field are essential to the success of your job search. How else will you catch the eye of employers?


Pick an industry and position that stir your passion. Don't settle or treat your job as a necessary evil. Expect challenges to appear on your way – that's when your enthusiasm works to your favor and keeps you going no matter what.


3. And keep moving


Do your best every day. If you fail to do that, you're bound to fall into self-doubt, procrastination and low self-esteem.


Give your best here and keep on moving. If you become a passive observer of your own job hunt, you're never going to find a position that matches your needs. You'll probably get invited to less job interviews as well – everyone will be able to sense your lack of enthusiasm, including the hiring manager.


If you spot your dream job, just go for it. You've got no time to waste, even if you're not working right now.


4. Learn new things


The mere challenge of learning a new skill is enough to keep you busy and boost your self-confidence. Is there anything you've always wanted to learn but never had enough time for it? Well, you've got no excuses now.


So face the challenge and do it. Enroll into an online course or take classes at your local community organizations. These skills will look great on your resume and show recruiters that you like to grow your skill set.


5. Focus comes with health


Make sure to follow a healthy diet. Keep yourself hydrated but ditch the soda for water and light herbal infusions. Eat plenty of veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds. Have a fun and varied diet to bring you lots of positive energy.


But that's not everything. You need to move your body as well. Have at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to get your blood pumping. It can be an energizing walk or a home yoga session. The important thing is that working out will make you feel better physically and mentally.


6. Talk about what you're up to


And that doesn't mean you should burden your friends and family with tales of your professional misfortunes and frustrating job hunt. This type of conversations will only make you go crazy.


Instead, talk about what you're doing – what you've read, what you've learned or experienced. Literally anything but the job hunt makes a great conversation topic.


Take your mind off unemployment and focus on other aspects of your life – after all, there's more to our lives than our jobs!


7. Seek support from people you trust


It's easy to become desperate and look for help in people who aren't able or willing to give it to you. Spare yourself the disappointment and reach out to people you really know and trust.


This is the time when you should turn to those who are most supportive in times of need. It might be better to confide in a friend rather than your partner – a friend might be less invested in the problem and offer an interesting perspective.


Looking for a job can be frustrating, but it's part of a professional's life. If you're struggling with unemployment, know that you're not alone. You'll get through this, but only if you keep in mind these 7 tips that help to maintain a mental balance and positive attitude.

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