Looking for a job, even with low unemployment, can be hard enough. In fact, it's actually harder to find a job when the market is tight because everyone is trading up and there is so much activity. But you may have more going on than trouble getting started. You're not lazy. You don't lack motivation. However, you may be thinking about depression. Are you wondering if you're depressed about your job search?
Are you having trouble getting going every day? Not only can frustration over the job search make you feel down, but you might worry over financial pressure. Weeks of worry and feeling down can turn into depression. If you think you might want to talk to someone about what's going on, give us a call. We can work together to put that spark back in your life.
It's more common than you think. And it may not be caused by your circumstances. People living with disabilities like AD/HD, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety (just to name a few) have a higher incidence of depression. It is not unusual for than one thing to show up. But you can find a safe place to talk and begin to turn things around with the right team.
Important: If you're thinking about suicide, go to your nearest emergency room or call 911. You can also get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat.
Help if you're depressed about your job search
It begins by making your self-care the number one thing. But how to you do that when you're already feeling down and unmotivated? Here are some tips to help you turn things around in your life (and perhaps get going again):
- Watch how much your thoughts focus on your job search. Several letters or e-mails from potential employers stating that you will not go to the next interview step can crush your soul. Try to distract yourself by binge-watching your favorite shows. Make a plan for the downtime in your life, perhaps a movie. Get out a see a buddy for a cup of coffee (or tea). Read a great fiction book at the library with people around. Remember all of the goals you have accomplished.
- Write down the things you're doing right. Check off the networking meetings you've held, the number of applications you have done, and the phone calls that you have made. If you need to do so, take a short break from your hunt by focusing on a hobby you love. Remind yourself how much progress you have made.
- Try not to focus on the past few months. Whether your job hunt has been one month or one year, it is temporary and will be over. Attempt to look ahead to when you will be working. Find ways to enjoy your time now when you have more flexibility. If you're not working a day job, try to volunteer someplace you would enjoy working. Find a way to make a difference while you're "between opportunities".
- Leave future worrying alone. Financial pressure can consume you while you're out of work. Remind yourself of options that you can seek: unemployment, disability benefits, and SNAP benefits. If you didn't qualify before, you may qualify now. Cut your subscriptions temporarily unless it is central to your mental health! If you cut cable, can you survive with Netflix? A temporary roommate may help with housing costs. Try to explore flexjobs, freelance, and temp work until you're back on your feet. Finally, spend 20 minutes in mindfulness prayer or meditation daily.
- Daily schedule. One of the hardest things to do when you're out of work is structure your day. However, keeping the same wake and sleep time will make it simple when you return to work. Your sleep quality will get better. You will interview more confidently. Schedule your whole day, not just your working hours. Limit the time you spend job hunting to half a day. Optimize the search and have the results e-mailed to you. Try to arrange a meeting every day, even if it's just coffee. Eat nutritious meals. Pack your food and have your meeting in a park to save dollars.
- Unemployment happens. Job hunting is difficult and it can feel demoralizing. But unemployment happens to everyone at some point. When you also live with a disability, it can take longer due to many factors. But almost everyone becomes employed again with consistent effort. Focus on the process. Celebrate progress at 10 applications, 10 phone interviews, and every in-person interview, even if it just a small treat. The path back to thriving requires consistent effort and creative thinking.
- Network for social to help you get hired. It is so easy to focus on getting hired when networking. You can, however, upset your contact if you are just making requests. Try to express interest in the other person. When your free-time allows, send articles and resources to help others. Get to know your network. Find an unemployment support group to express your frustration with your job search. Try to remain positive when meeting with your network. Think long-term and build your network for later as well as now. Meet in person as much as possible and develop quality contacts, not quantity.
Even following these steps may not banish the depression completely. If you would like to smile again and increase your enjoyment of life, call me to set a time to start working together. You deserve to live the best quality of life possible.
Adapted from Esposito, L. LCSW. "Depression: 7 Powerful Tips to Overcome Bad Moods". Psychology Today. May 27, 2016. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anxiety-zen/201605/depression-7-powerful-tips-help-you-overcome-bad-moods