How can I navigate the stress of unemployment and undertaking a new job search when I feel depressed?
Last Updated: 07/04/2016 at 12:52pm
Deane Rain Marie, LMFT
Marriage & Family Therapist
I take a holistic approach in working with eating disorders, mood disorders, relationships, and the LGBTQ community. I use EMDR, Dreamwork, Stories, CBT and Cinema therapy.
Top Rated Answers
If you live in the United States, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. Contact your local DVR office. Also use your local libraries and job centers. They can be wonderful resources! Sometimes there are programs that may not be as well known as DVR, such as WIA.
focus on where you want to be in one years time and make small realistic and achievable steps that bring you closer to your goal. remember- they have to be realistic goals...
Exercise helps a lot - or at least a little. Any physical activity can help you get out of your head for a little while and feel a sense of motion again, which can be the spark that ignites a new course of action.
Give it time. Go slow. Don't try to do too much, too fast. Write down a list of your skills and strengths so you can feel better and prepare for interviews.
Remember, with depression, little steps are the most vital. Set a small goal for yourself - getting out of a bed early in the day. Build up with these small goals until you feel more comfortable searching for a job.
Try not to view it as a negative: a job search is an opportunity. Let the goal of finding a job light a fire underneath you and motivate you. Think of how much less depressed you will feel when you're active, working 9-5 (or whatever hours) on your feet, interacting, having a purpose. A job will get you to that. Take a day to sit down with a friend and go over your resume as if it's an art project. Make an activity of it. Review all 5-10 of your template cover letters and revise them. Your effort will be rewarded, and landing that sweet sweet job will deliver a serious blow to your depressive state.
Part of your depression is likely caused by the fact that you want to work. Not just in the field you want, but you just don't want to be unemployed. I'd suggest the best thing is to change you situation by getting either a part time job or, better yet, a temporary full time job. A lot of times the temp job turns into a permanent position. Depression is often an issue of a loss of direction and too much time to think about being in that situation. Just recognize that your depression is actually an emotion telling you that you really do want to work. You want a something to occupy your time and you know that when you get a job, you will likely do it well. If you were unemployed and content, you'd be a bum right? That's not you. You want to work! Find something you get a tangible benefit from and do your best at it and you can be proud of yourself again :)
Yeah, that's a very tough question . . . I've been there and it is indeed hard. I would say you just have to get up and do it, even though you may not feel quite up to par. It could also be that your unemployment is one of the factors that is actually making you depressed. I know for sure that one of the worst things you can do when you feel depressed is to sit around and sulk, because then you start to fixate on it and sink deeper into it. So, just go out and do it. There really isn't any harm in at least attempting.
Look for positive things in your life, Don't forget that this is always can find some Good in the Bad and also Bad in the Good.
I've been unemployed plenty of times and I understand the toll it can take on your feeling of self-worth. "What's wrong with me? Why doesn't anyone want to hire me?" When you're job hunting, a day feels like a week. One rejection feels like 10. Remind yourself frequently of your reality when your thoughts try to exaggerate. If you think "I've been unemployed forever" remind yourself that "forever" isn't accurate. If you think "No one wants to hire me" remind yourself that unless you've been turned down by every employer in every country in the world, that can't be true. When you start to think "I'm so poor", try to remember that if you have access to clean water, enough food, electricity, and indoor plumbing, you're better off than millions of people who don't have those things. In first world countries, we often forget how lucky we are.
Depression takes a toll on our emotions of feeling worthwhile and of our energy level. So it's hard to tell ourselves that we can get another job while making ourselves move to get up to find a new job. In my experience with depression, it's taking things a step at a time. With today's day and age of the internet, checking on monster.com or kellyservices.com to see if there is anything in your area, or even when you could move to. Take one step at a time. Brush up your resume, so that when you do have the opportunity to apply, you can submit it at the same time. Many agencies have online applications even, so it's possible to be able to do most of your hunting from the comfort of home. Because of the depression, try to set a goal where you can apply to X number of potential employers per day. If you are doing okay and want to apply for more, go for it! For those you need to get out and apply for, push yourself to get in the shower and dress up like you want a job, even when you don't feel like it. Avoid the comfy clothes like jeans and sweats unless applying for a position where that would be the standard work attire. Here's to your success and taking steps one at a time to find your new job.
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