Author: Melissa Curran – Mindset Coach, Counsellor and Director @ The Modern Mind Group

When it comes to looking for work in the current climate, it certainly has affected the mental health of many. You do not have to look far to hear stories of others going through the same thing following redundancy or restructuring. Firstly, allow yourself to feel and process the emotions you are going through. Suppressed emotions are more likely to produce physiological symptoms.

To safeguard our mental health when looking for work, it comes down to four key areas – building our confidence to believe in ourselves, resilience to overcome setbacks, the ability to manage our anxiety or stress levels and finding perspective to not feel alone in this challenging time.

Building your confidence:

1. Write a list of 100 things that you have achieved.

We often hold on to our failures more than our achievements. So, writing them down and reading it every few days will remind you how truly awesome you are. You are unique.

2. Know what your superpowers are.

Some people find it’s communication, others are great at analytical tasks, some creative and innovative projects. Values assessments, feedback from people you have worked with, personality tests can all help with this.

Building Resilience:

You have overcome 100% of your hardest days so far. Take a reflection day (a day with a notepad, a cuppa and the aim to investigate yourself) and ask yourself these questions based on the book by Bernadette Jiwa – ‘Story Driven’:

a. What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
b. What did this teach you about yourself?
c. What’s your proudest memory?
d. When are you at your best?
e. What wouldn’t you change about yourself? And how can you bring that into your next role?

Managing Anxiety and Stress levels:

1. Focus on what you can control

Anxiety and fear comes from feeling that our lives are out of our control when in fact they are to an extent. There are two parts to the anxiety cycle that we can control – our thoughts and our coping methods. There is an article I wrote on this which you can find here:

2. Give yourself a timeline

You will hear people say looking for work is a full-time job. It can be, although many of us let it consume our thoughts way beyond the 9-5 hours. Set yourself a timeline every day to finish looking by, for example, 4pm or make the morning about you. First, for example, get up, do some exercise, walk the dog and then start looking with a clear mindset.

Finding Perspective:

There is a good quote that is “The man that fears the wild animal on the way to work has everything else in the back of his mind”. Many of us are blessed enough to live in a world where we don’t have to worry about basic survival. We have running water, an indoor toilet, electricity, heat and clothes. If you have all these things plus one mode of transport (even if it is a bike) puts you wealthier than most of the world.

That’s something to be very grateful for. Make a list of all the things that you can be grateful for that give you comfort and peace of mind in your life. Do this daily for seven days and it will help you feel better by up to 35%.


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