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How To Manage Depression Symptoms While Job Hunting

Typically followed by stress, anxiety, and depression, unemployment is an experience that can affect anyone at anytime. The level at which it negatively affects a person depends on their individual resources and coping strategies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is currently 3.7% totaling a whopping 6 million people. There are also 4 million involuntary part-time workers unable to secure full-time work or are dealing with a reduction in hours situation. Numbers of dissatisfied employees working low-paying or ill-suited positions are unclear, but all of the above mentioned situations can be extremely depressing.    

Much of this depression may stem from a fear of failure, financial instability, history of episodes of depression, or losing a sense of purpose/direction. Much of our identity is intertwined with what we do for work. When this identity is underdeveloped or lost-even temporarily- depression can firmly plant it’s roots. While fixing depression is not always possible during situations such as these, there are plenty of ways to effectively manage symptoms.

Recognize Symptoms

Although negative feelings can be easily recognizable, the extent of emotional havoc can go unnoticed. This is why it’s important to recognize symptoms. Some people may cope by rejecting their feelings altogether. Stuffing them down, rather than acknowledging they exist can make the situation worse and make you less likely to seek help. Some symptoms to watch out for are irritability, not being able to sleep at night due to anxious thoughts, drinking or smoking more than usual, coping by engaging in anything excessively (eating, sex, etc.) feelings of worthlessness or self-deprecating thoughts.

Hustle And Market Yourself

This involves a little bit more than dropping applications in. This is a form of problem-focused coping, which is aimed towards eliminating the stressor altogether (job loss.) Problem-focused coping is consistently associated with obtaining reemployment. Create or update your LinkedIn. Tailor your resume and past job descriptions to the language and tone of the different companies to which you apply. Utilize social media to explore job opportunities. Facebook and Twitter especially have postings listed all the time and not just by hiring managers but by regular employees. Don’t be afraid to reach out to old acquaintances, your sibling’s ex’s, or people you went to high school with for information on who’s hiring or just to let them know what you do. It’s not weird it’s all part of adulting. 

Social Support

Studies show that having a strong circle in your corner for emotional support can help not only with depression, but with obtaining reemployment. The thought is that support helps with self-esteem, fighting against negative self-talk, and as an outlet for expressing emotions. People close to you can help you stay motivated in your job search as well as have their own eyes and ears out for job listings. 

Maintain Self-Esteem

Individuals with higher levels of self-esteem believe that re-employment is certainly achievable. They believe they possess the right tools and talents to navigate the job search ahead. Unemployment has been shown to more strongly affect the mental health of men over women due to household responsibilities. However, not being able to contribute financially to the home is a tremendous stressor that can negatively affect anyone’s self-esteem-male or female. To Maintaining feelings of usefulness is important- whether that’s increasing your help around the house, learning new skills to increase marketability, or creating a schedule to add routine to your day. 

By Joni B. Hess

Joni is a writer and social worker based in New Orleans. She enjoys ghostwriting and writing about mental health. She loves Mardi Gras season more than Christmas.

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