Job Searching Burnouts: 24 Ways to Refuel Yourself

September 30th, 2010 | Job Search | No Comments »

No matter how long you’ve been searching for a new job, at one time or another, it may all suddenly become too much. Your shoulders are weighed down, you feel mentally and emotionally paralyzed, and there’s a constant glossy, blank look in your eyes. When the job hunt gets tough and overwhelming, burnouts are real and extremely daunting.

Signs and Causes

If you’re feeling the following, you might be burnt out:

• Loss of motivation
• Emotional detachment
• Cynical/negative attitude
• Depression/hopelessness
• Procrastination
• Isolation

Wondering why you feel like this? These are typical causes:

• Lack of support from friends and family
• Lack of recognition from where you’re applying to
• High pressure and demanding home environment
• Lack of control over your job search
• Monotonous, uninteresting job search tactics

Prevention and Remedy

  1. Recognize your symptoms but don’t dwell on them; be proactive.
  2. Start your day with a relaxing ritual – instead of hopping (or slowly dragging yourself) out of your bed right into your job search, start your morning with relaxing activities, whether it’s a hot bath, a good book, a tasty cooked breakfast, or a morning run.
  3. Add personality to your workspace – you may have ditched the office cubicle, but chances are your home office isn’t much more interesting. Say goodbye to bland colors and cold environments and add pictures and music to make you more positive.
  4. Be healthy – burnouts can take a big toll on your health. Make sure you’re eating healthily, getting some oxygen into your lungs by working out, and getting plenty of sleep.
  5. Find something funny to laugh atlaughter releases endorphins, which can help you think more positively about your situation.
  6. Give yourself small rewards – for every personal cover letter your write and resume you send out, reward yourself. Give yourself even bigger rewards for interviews. This will help you realize that what you do does make a difference.
  7. Learn and practice how to say no – perhaps you have demanding family or friends who don’t realize that just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you’re not working (i.e. job searching). You don’t have to say yes to everything they ask of you.
  8. Take a break from technology – sometimes staring at a computer screen and countless windows of job boards for too long can take its burden on your brain – and eyes. Tear yourself away from the screen and let your eye muscles relax.
  9. Do something creative – flexing those mental muscles with something creative can get your mind out of that negative slump. Plus, a creative approach to your job search may be just what you need to land the right job.
  10. Slow down – if you find your time flying away before your eyes as you endlessly research companies that are hiring, find ways to slow it down without decreasing your productivity.
  11. Turn to friends or family for support – a little venting session or friendly distraction is often just enough to jolt you out of your down moments.
  12. Reevaluate your goals and priorities – long term burnouts can occur when you’re not fulfilling your dreams and are focused on the wrong things. Make sure you’re searching for the kind of job and company that can fulfill your goals.
  13. Take a vacation – If you’re too deeply burnt out, a total break from everything may be the answer. Leave any hint of job searching out of your life for a few days.
  14. Don’t skip lunch – just because you’re not in a regular office doesn’t mean you can’t schedule lunch or coffee breaks for yourself. Listen to your body when it’s hungry or needs a caffeine boost.
  15. Understand that most changes won’t happen overnight – while any of these tips can help you, you have to be consistent with your efforts before you see change.
  16. Join a support group – for severe burnouts, talking to people in similar situations can be a relief. You are not the only one to feel this way; you’ll find others everywhere, whether it’s in your local community or online.
  17. Establish boundaries – if you’re job searching from home, create a structured boundary so that you still have “home” time outside of job searching. If you lack those boundaries, your home life will suffer just as much as your professional life.
  18. Develop time management skills – if you spend hours pouring through the classifieds before you even realize the time passed, you need to manage your time better. There are countless resources for developing time management skills.
  19. Organize your desk and home – less clutter is calming and a clean space leads to a clean mind, making it easier to focus on what matters.
  20. Take lunch breaks away from your desk – if you’ve got a spoonful of soup in your mouth and both eyes on the computer, you’re not really taking a true lunch break. That break is time for your brain to recharge and focus on digesting the food you eat.
  21. Take on a challenge – don’t let job searching take up all your time; taking on an interesting challenge can stimulate the mind and get you out of your rut.
  22. Switch up your schedule – maybe your body functions better in the evening than in the morning. Experiment with your daily schedule and your body may put itself right.
  23. Head outside –get some breaths of fresh air to refresh your mind and body.
  24. Focus on someone else – helping out friends and family or taking a volunteer opportunity will stop you from dwelling on your own situation.

Clare Saumell – Marketing Director at Ashley Ellis

Related Links

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Mind the Gap: 4 Ways to Banish Employment Gaps