Job-search anxiety management skills

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Guest column by Jina Park, Spring 2020 Starkloff Career Academy practicum student

Due to the pandemic outbreak, the world is suffering from drastically increasing unemployment rates. While employment has always been a difficult task for people with disabilities, we are now dealing with a tougher situation.  This has led to more job-search anxiety.

Here are some useful tips for those who may suffer job-search anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak:

1. Understand the anxiety loop

Before we start thinking about how we can manage our anxiety, it can be important to consider why we become anxious.  According to Therapistaid.com, anxiety can grow when a person avoids ‘scary’ things. To be specific, when a person meets some events or things that scare them, they might immediately avoid these things.

However, if the scary events are the ones that happen consistently, then bypassing the events is not the answer; the challenges will not be solved. By consecutively avoiding the scary events, a person’s anxiety continues to grow.

When applying the loop in today’s case, seeking a job is something that one has to do. Because of the recent economic crisis, this has become an unavoidable challenge that most of us will need to face. If you have given up because it has become difficult, then you will not be able to get a job, eventually making you more anxious.

But, you ask, how can I get out of this anxiety loop? Know your body. It is important to first know your health condition and become relaxed. If you feel anxious at this moment, take a deep breath and give yourself a moment to consider your body’s condition. Then, think about how you can improve your health. Try to get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet to avoid being tired. Regular exercise and meditation are also good strategies that encourage a healthier life.


2. Challenge your pessimistic thoughts

During this economic crisis, it is easy for people who are disabled to think they are unemployable. For some, this dire feeling lasts and causes them to act as if they will never be hired.

However, a lot of these negative judgements or thoughts that come from our minds are oftentimes not true and even irrational. It can be easy to think that there is no job available at this point. This is not actually true. Although the number has been reduced, you can easily see that new jobs that are posted online on sites such as LinkedIn or Indeed.com.

As cited above, countering pessimistic thoughts can be a great exercise to manage anxiety. For more information about the activity, click this link: https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-worksheet/countering-anxiety-thought-log and download free worksheet.

You may believe the above activity is making you suppress your unconscious thoughts, which can make you even more anxious and uncomfortable. If this is the case, it is also recommended to let your concerns out.

Pick a time that you can be by yourself. Allow 10-15 minutes to worry about anything.  Scheduling these 10-15 minutes of ‘worry time’ each day can help you to manage your anxious thoughts in a controlled manner. When you are done with your worry time, try to stop concentrate on other fun activities as soon as you can. Tell yourself that you can worry about the things later at your next scheduled worry time.  (For more information: https://www.queensu.ca/search/pages/anxiety%20workbook)


3. Plan ahead and move forward

When you are secure with your health conditions and your thought processes, the time has come for the job search. First, plan how you will search for it. This is a great help in that it limits the overwhelming feelings that you may have.

Start with analyzing your current situation — think about where you are, what you are doing. Then, prioritize the list of chores you need to do. Consider whether tasks are urgent or just important to you. By considering the urgency and significance of a task, you will be able to figure out which task you might need to consider first.

After deciding the priority, you can now schedule the tasks in detail. Start by filling out the tasks that you cannot change—for example, fixed appointments and lectures. Then, fill in the rest with your priorities.  When scheduling the task, remember that it has to be feasible. If you can get some help from others, first see if you can handle it yourself.

Also, remember to be more adaptable. Even though you might not accomplish all the tasks that you have set, you have learned how much you can do in a day. Think of scheduling as a journey of finding your own way of dealing with a day. Remember that it is okay to change your schedule, and reward yourself if you accomplished all you wrote for the day (See more information: https://www.queensu.ca/search/pages/anxiety%20workbook).


Searching for a job is always one of the most challenging tasks that we face. I hope my recommendations will help you successfully continue the journey of finding a job you want.




https://www.queensu.ca/search/pages/anxiety%20workbook (Download the first link shown at the website)

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