Depression can kill your job search—and it can kill you.
When you’re out of work you need to do all you can to get on top of depression and keep it from hurting you and those you love.
A lot of people react to depression by falling into toxic isolation. A while ago, one of our clients dropped out of contact. We had no response to emails and voicemails, and we grew very concerned. When he finally called, he admitted that most days he was too depressed to get out of bed, for what felt like forever.
Depression is different from the blues we all feel at one time or another. It can interfere with your ability to work, read, eat, sleep, and have fun. Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting. Many describe it as feeling like there’s no way out of a dark tunnel. They can’t see a light at the end.
It’s not surprising that unemployed people get depressed. Until you get that offer, there is one rejection after another, leading to crushing negativity. Without occasional positive feedback, it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other. Money issues create stress, and tension with spouses and kids.
Worse, one of the first things people ask when they meet us is “What do you do?” Who wants to admit, “Uh…I’m out of work at this point”? So it’s easier to stay home alone.
So what do you do to ward off depression—or climb out?
First, let’s address the root of the depression – your unemployment. Unfortunately, for those lucky enough to have been out of the job market for many years, re-entering it and finding how the rules of the game have changed is a rude awakening. Make sure that you are doing the right things to get hired.
Don’t waste time
Many people spend most of their time on the least effective activities, like job boards. Polish your personal presentation: how you dress, your resume, an updated LinkedIn profile and other marketing materials and that depict you powerfully. Thus, you will improve your first impression while adding efficiency.
Remember, job hunting is like boxing. If you don’t do it well, you get beaten up. If you’re spinning your wheels, call a career coach. If you feel you can’t fit it in your budget, do an internet search for free career counseling services in your community. Being ineffective will, in the long run, cost you dearly.
We are what we eat
To maximize energy and a sense of well-being, cut down on red meat and unhealthy fats, and replace them with vegetables, fruits and nuts. Watch out for “sneaky depressants” like caffeine, sugar/sugar substitutes, and alcohol; sure, there’s an initial boost or jolt, but the aftereffect is a sense of letdown. Ultimately, you will experience an uplifting transformation that carries over to your entire life and relationships.
Watch what you put in your mind
Resist turning into a TV zombie. While it’s good to keep a finger on the pulse of major news, avoid the “downers” that many news program churn out. Studies have shown that a daily bombardment of every fire, rape or murder that happened in your city actually weakens your immune system, and common sense says it brings your spirits down. Read or listen to inspirational books and recordings, and be selective about newspapers and magazines.
Find a place to contribute. Keep your skills sharp, be around other people, and get that satisfaction of a job well done that you don’t experience when you’re out of work. And here’s a helpful hint: you may be surprised to find out that when volunteer work is a good match, paid jobs often grow out of it.
Develop a cocoon of positive people around you
Spend time with upbeat friends, join a support group, and network with others. Stay away from negative people who swamp you with naysaying and whining. There’s no shortage of people who will continually complain about everything from the job market to the weather; you can’t afford to be around them.
Get out of the house
Every day, get out of the house. Enjoy nature and spend time with other human beings. You can’t rise above depression by sitting around the house all day.
Being sedentary isn’t good for your body or your mind. On a daily basis, pick an activity you enjoy, e.g. bike riding, the gym, long walks, a sport, etc. and go do it. Think of benefits: looking and feeling more energetic, sleeping better, potential weight loss and more. Also, vigorous exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, powerful neurotransmitters that resemble opiates in their abilities to produce a feeling of well-being. Yes, the “runners’ high” is real!
Consult a professional
Talking with a counselor can do wonders to lift your spirits. Further, some people greatly benefit from anti-depressants. They’re not for everyone, but they have helped a lot of people to kick a debilitating depression.
In summary, keep your spirits up and keep in action. Best of luck to you–and call us if you’d like to discuss your career/job search: 847-673-0339.