Your mental health matters. Maintaining good mental health on your job hunt is difficult though. “Stay positive” might be easy to say but hard to deliver on in times of crisis. However you can take small steps to maintain a positive mind frame to support you throughout the job hunting process.

Accept what you can’t change

Firstly, recognise and acknowledge the things you can’t change. Your present unemployment isn’t within your control. And yes, it sucks. What you do control however, is your response to it. And what’s more, you’re definitely not in it alone.

Work on what you can for your mental health on your job hunt

Instead of expending energy worrying about the things you have no power over, focus on the things you do. You can make a plan, get prepared, build a network, upskill, review your CV, apply for new roles, embrace new opportunities and give yourself the best possible chance of securing a new role. Use that autonomy to spur you on through the tougher moments.

Beware of relying on your emotional crutch

Physical and mental health aren’t mutually exclusive, they’re dependent on one another. Staying healthy should always be our number one priority, but our best intentions can slip by the wayside in favour of short term ‘fixes’ when we’re feeling down.

We’re all guilty of having emotional crutches. If you know yours is overindulging in your favourite vice (sugar, alcohol, cigarettes to name a few favourites) try and be conscious of it. Maintaining a healthy diet is critical to our overall health and wellbeing long term, which in turn will support a healthy and productive attitude to your job search.

Hit the great outdoors

The benefits of exercise on mental and physical wellbeing are widely reported so we won’t bore them with you here. However, it’s also worth noting that exercise (whether that’s sweating it out to a YouTube video or going for a genteel walk around the park) is a positive way to take a break away from your screen.

In fact, taking a break is pretty essential to maintaining good mental health on your job hunt. Even if it feels counter-intuitive. Taking regular breaks gives you an outlet for escapism…and you may find a new route to success suddenly appears in your mind if you give yourself a breather. Working on job hunting 24/7 will only burn you out – the same way it would if you were working 24/7!

A scientific paper released in 2020 found that spending at least a couple of hours a week out in nature is associated with improved mental health and wellbeing. Whether you have a garden you can enjoy, an amble to some local woodland or lucky enough to have a national park on your doorstep, recognise when you need to take a break and head for the outdoors.

Mental health resources

Found yourself out of work for the first time in a long time? We’ve launched the #GetHired Skills Toolkit as a simple and actionable step by step guide to secure your next role. Access the full kit here.