Looking for work takes so much time and effort, but once you’ve spent part of your day networking and applying for jobs, you probably still have hours left to fill. With all that down time, it’s common for anxiety and worry to take over.
Feelings of fear and anxiety can have a constricting effect on the brain, shutting down the ability to feel optimistic and creative. In fact, worrying is like the imagination’s evil twin brother. It involves the act of fantasizing, but in a pessimistic way, spinning notions about a negative future that can take hold and run rampant: “I’ll never find work… I’ll never have a life that I dream about...”
How do you counter anxiety, worry and fear while on the job hunt?
Make a Schedule
In addition to setting a structured period every day to find job openings and submit well-crafted applications and cover letters, include time on your daily schedule for activities that have nothing to do with your job search. Do things that reflect your imagination and creative self. We all need hobbies. Work on your writing, or improve your cooking skills. Play your fiddle. Practice juggling. Go dancing!
Find Your Spark
By engaging in activities that trigger your creativity during the job hunt, you can keep your spirits up, but it can also ensure that you’re a more attractive candidate when you land interviews. People are drawn to other people who have the spark of life (that’s as true on a first date as it is in a first interview). If being unemployed destroys your spirit, it will show when you meet an employer. In other words, having other things to focus on during your search can prevent you from giving off negative (or desperate) vibes in an interview.
Follow Your Inclinations
If you struggle to know what can give you that creative spark, hitting that “to-read” pile you’ve been meaning to start for months is one way to start. Spend time laughing with friends. Turn on music and dance around your living room. Or, if you’re like me, you may find that writing down your dreams and reliving those images can provide a wellspring of support. The unconscious is constantly engaging in the imaginative space.
Be intentional about engaging your creative self. Invest in helping your imagination to flourish. In the end it will provide you with the strength and joy you need to pursue the search for employment, and help you land the position that’s right for you.