Combat Self Pity: How to Stay Positive During Your Job Search

staying positive during job searchCoping with unemployment can be tough.  With what can seem to be an overwhelming amount of free time, lack of purpose and insufficient income, it’s easy to get down on yourself and lose motivation, especially when your job search efforts seem to be fruitless.  But just because you lack a steady job at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t have a positive attitude and live a productive life in other aspects.  Here are some strategies to help you cope with unemployment and stay positive during your job search:

1)  Establish a routine

Since you don’t have a job to force you out of bed by a certain time, it can be tempting to sleep late, take frequent naps and keep irregular hours.  But this can have a huge negative affect on your mood, and make it even more difficult to adjust to a schedule once you do find work.  Getting up at a reasonable time every day, eating regular meals, and setting aside a block of hours each day devoted to job searching can go a long way in helping you cope with unemployment.

2)  Recall Struggles You Have Overcome in the Past

While your jobless state may seem like the worst thing in the world at times, reality is years from now you will probably rarely think about this time in your life.  Think about other struggles you have overcome in the past that seemed so horrible at the time but you were able to move through and leave behind you.  Chances are there have been situations in your life much more difficult than your unemployment, such as the death of a loved one, health scare, painful breakup, etc.  Realizing how tough you were through these times will give you more faith in yourself, and allow you to be more positive about the outcome of your job search efforts.

3)  Keep some distance from the media

There are all kinds of reports on the news and social media about the negative state of the job market, but they are often a matter of perspective.  Furthermore, the more you focus on bad news such as this, the bigger it seems, and the less effort you are likely to put into your job search.

4)  Break a sweat

Since you have more free time, there is no excuse to not take advantage of it by exercising.  It will boost your mood and self-confidence, and make it a whole lot easier to cope with your unemployment.   Join a gym if you can afford it, or simply get outside (fresh air will double the positive effects).

5)  Surround yourself with positive people

Having a good support network is essential for getting through difficult times.  Stay in touch with friends and family members who motivate and inspire you, and make you laugh.  When you forget about your positive skills and attributes during your job search, you can call on these people to remind you.

6)  Volunteer

Helping others who are worse off than you is the most effective way to take the focus off of yourself and your problems.  Reach out to a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, underprivileged youth program, or one of the countless other options out there for volunteer work.  You will be killing two birds with one stone in your job search by doing this, since it will also be valuable material for your resume.

7)  Lower your expectations

It takes work to find the right job, and it probably isn’t going to happen overnight.  But this is no reflection on you; it is just the nature of job searching.  Many of the jobs you apply for or interview with may not turn out to be what you want, but don’t let this discourage you.  Not expecting too much too soon will make it a lot easier for you to stay positive during your job search.

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Jessica Cody

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

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