Invest in Your Mental Health Before a Job Search
No one has an unlimited capacity for stress.
When you have multiple worries popping in and out of your head, it can be hard to concentrate on the task at hand.
However, when chronic overload risks spiralling into depression, the initial impact is like falling into quicksand. The more you struggle, the deeper you get sucked in. The task at hand is swiftly forgotten.
When you can’t concentrate on your needs during a job search because your head is filled with unexploded bombs, it can be incredibly detrimental.
Some of the most important decisions come in the initial stages of a job search – how you are positioning yourself, where you would like to work and the basic (but crucial) consideration of how this move might fit in with your overall career plan.
This maze of possibility is likely fraught with dead ends and doubts. It is hard enough to navigate with a clear head, let alone when other worries are weighing on your mind. Clearing the mental decks (as much as possible) beforehand is so important.
Then comes one of the most stressful experiences in life….
The job interview.
Being “present” in an interview situation is one of the best bits of advice that a candidate can take on board. You only have an hour or so to make that lasting impact. If the interviewer senses that your mind is elsewhere (even for a moment), the reason for the perceived “absence” doesn’t matter. They simply conclude that you aren’t that interested. The same goes for communication of any sort during the entire process – a rushed email because you were distracted cannot be undone.
No one can control their circumstances, and it may well be the case that life seeks to overwhelm us exactly when we need it least.
If you are about the set off on a journey of change in your career, coming up with some coping strategies for the broader issues in your life would be a sensible place to start.
It is so tempting to tell yourself that you should “forget” about your problems for a while, but our brains just don’t work like that. Unresolved conflicts tend to knock us for six when we least expect it.
Now, I am not for a moment suggesting that it is easy.
But you owe it to yourself to try.
A job search can involve weeks and months of uncertainty, but the mental momentum that comes with having a clearer head can give you the edge that you need.
I am not an expert in this area (although I wish I was), so I am not going to offer some half-baked advice on how exactly to tackle your specific mental health demons.
I have had my fair share over the course of my life and each time I have got through things differently. The most important thing is recognising that if there is something bothering you, it is best to try to come to terms with it as well as possible before you start a job search.
Your head needs to be as clear as possible for one of the most important decisions in your life.