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Job Search Self Care And Anxiety Management

June 04, 2020

We all know the job search can be stressful, and sometimes even traumatic. So, what can we do to make sure we are supporting our mental health while looking for work?

As someone with a triple threat of mental health conditions [GAD, CPTSD, ADHD], I know better than most how hard it can be to manage your mental health while looking for work. On top of the typical stress that comes with the job search process, many of us are now looking for work during a global health crisis, a civil rights movement, and a financial depression. All of those factors bundled together can lead to a fire-storm of anxiety-inducing scenarios, that coupled with the inherent anxiety and stress of a typical job search, can make the task seems insurmountable.

Firstly, I am here to tell you a few things about yourself:

  1. You are strong
  2. You are capable
  3. You are worthy
  4. You are skilled
  5. You are enough

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way …

Many (if not most) of the people reading this will have experienced stress, anxiety, or even trauma, at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, most of us have not been prepared for how to mentally and emotionally handle these experiences.

One of the best anxiety coping mechanisms I have ever learned is focusing on your locus of control. Many times, the things that cause us the most anxiety, are the things over which we have no control. Once we are able to mentally and emotionally relinquish the desire to control the uncontrollable, and the anxiety over having no control over those things, we can productively focus on the things we can control.

Under Your ControlNot Under Your Control
The quality of your resumeAutomatic rejections based on an algorithm
Your preparedness for an interviewThe behavior of your interview and content of their questions
The quantity and quality of your projectsA lack of open positions for someone with your skillset
Your attitude and outlookThe opinions of others

This list will vary from person to person. I highly encourage you to make a list like this that suits your own scenario.

Not sure where to start? Make a list of what’s causing you anxiety in your job search, then divide those things among the “Can Control” and “Can’t Control” columns. Do your best to let go of a desire to control what you cannot. Recognizing that it’s out of your control can go a long way to easing some of your anxiety around those things.

But what if the lack of control is what causes your anxiety?

Unfortunately, this one is going to require significantly more inner work. There is no quick-fix to being a “control freak”. This is something I have struggled with, and continue to struggle with, on a nearly daily basis.

The best advice I can give you is to first start by recognizing when you are grasping for control. Recognizing those behaviors and reactions within yourself is your first step to redirecting and correcting those thoughts and behaviors.

Once you’ve recognized your own patterns, you can then redirect and correct.

Refocus to things you can control. Go back to the list you made of what things are actually under your control, and focus on those instead.

Utilize meditation practices, and repeat a mantra to yourself. It’s important to find a mantra that works for you personally, but something like “I control what I can and release what I can’t” could be a good place to start.

This can be ANYTHING. Any hobby you have that is not directly related to your job search can work here.

Read a good book, work on a craft project, work on a coding project that’s just for fun, play a video game you love, play a board game with friends, indulge in your skincare routine, bake your favorite pastry, cook your favorite meal.

The options are endless.

Remind yourself that you are allowed to take time away from the pressures of your job search. It will still be there when you go back to it.

Time away from a task is essential to allowing your brain to relax, and your mind to de-stress. Focusing on something that’s just for you, and just for fun, is so important to your mental and emotional wellbeing.

But what if I still can’t get a handle on my anxiety?

If your anxiety is truly overwhelming and pervasive, it is extremely important that you seek professional help.

Talking to a therapist or other mental health professional can be the difference between suffering and relief for so many people. If you have the financial privilege and means to seek professional help, I highly encourage you to do so. They will be the best person to give you concrete tools and guidance for approaching your personal situation, and will be there to advise you on whether looking to medication for relief might be the right choice for you.

Personally, I have found great relief through a combination of supplementing with Full-Spectrum CBD and L-Theanine. I take a 20mg dose of sublingual CBD, and 100mg capsule of L-Theanine twice per day, and it has done wonders for my stress response, anxiety levels, and overall mood.

I am not a healthcare professional and cannot advise you on what you should or should not do for yourself, in terms of botanical supplements*. However, I do recommend reaching out to someone with the authority to do so (your own doctor, for example), to see if this could be a good option for you.

* If you are generally in good health, both of these supplements are free from side-effects and safe to try, if you choose to do so without first consulting your healthcare provider.

In closing, I just want to say: I see you. You are working so hard, and will get there soon. We both will. I believe in us. 💕


Written by Emily (TheCodePixi) Harber.
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