Contributor Julie Leigh

[Editor’s note: This month, I thought I’d share with you an insider’s perspective on some simple actions you can take to make job hunting a more peaceful, productive and prosperous adventure. Many thanks to Julie Leigh for writing this article.]

The internet abounds with articles offering advice on how to find a job. What is often ignored though, is how mentally and emotionally exhausting job hunting can be. This is true whether you are unemployed or are unhappy in your current role.

If you’ve been looking for your perfect job for what already feels like a lifetime, and are yet to make any real progress, you may have adopted a negative outlook which is now damaging your chances of finding employment. It’s easy to get down when job hunting, particularly if you are unemployed. You may begin to think you are simply not worthy, or are under (or over) qualified.

Thinking like this is damaging. It can prevent you from putting yourself forward for certain roles, and from putting your all into applications.

Transform your negative outlook into a positive one by applying the following changes to your lifestyle.

Get Plenty of Sleep

In 2013 the Huffington Post published an article revealing that in the month of March 91% of Americans felt stressed by something, with 77% saying they felt stressed on a weekly basis.

The relationship between stress and sleep has always been an extremely close one. Stress causes problems sleeping, and a lack of sleep in turn causes you to feel more stressed.

If you are having problems finding work, it is extremely likely you will be suffering from some degree of stress, and potentially also from sleep problems. Getting a good night’s sleep (around eight to ten solid hours) can be remarkably transformative, and will start you help you to start your day job hunting in a positive mindset.

Prioritize sleep above being up every day at 7am to start your job hunt. If you feel you need the extra sleep to function properly, take it.

Exercise and Nourish Your Body

It’s easy to get into bad habits when stressed out or down about job hunting. This is particularly true when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine. Ironically, these areas that people neglect have amazing power to boost your happiness and motivation levels.

The biggest mistake people you can make when feeling down is turning to alcohol to make yourself feel better. A few glasses of wine in the evening may provide a temporary reprieve. But alcohol is actually a depressant, and will only make you feel worse the next morning.

Reliance on alcohol is a slippery slope to go down, and if you fear you’re developing a reliance problem, you should look in the phone directory for help beating alcohol addiction.

If you’ve been neglecting exercise, start making time for it now. Exercise is a proven stress-relief method, and gives you an endorphin boost far greater than chocolate, alcohol or fatty foods can provide. Even a 20 minute stroll in the morning can elevate your mood the rest of the day.

Talk to Other People

It’s easy to feel lost in your own limited world when job hunting. Every day becomes about how many applications you can get out, and whether or not you’ve gotten responses from previous job applications.

You may find yourself feeling isolated. Add this to any mounting sense of inadequacy, and it can amplify every rejection into a much bigger problem than it is.

As important as it is to spend a considerable chunk of the working day job-hunting, it is equally important to set aside some time for yourself, and for socializing with family and friends. The old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ exists because it is true.

You’d be surprised how far talking through things with someone else can go towards changing your perspective. Approach the conversations by sharing what IS going right and then asking for input about upcoming steps you’re thinking of taking. You don’t have to necessarily take anyone’s advice. Just creating a flow of conversation can create often put unexpected events into motion!

Make a Conscious Effort to Stay Positive

As silly as it may sound, you’re unlikely to stay positive unless you actively choose to do so. Instead of projecting negativity at every company that rejects your application, or worse still, doesn’t respond to you at all, give the company your warmest regards and move on.

Job rejections are not personal. It simply means the employer doesn’t see you as the best person for that particular job. Keep this in perspective; it doesn’t mean you aren’t right for any job, just that one. Write yourself a list of positive attributes you believe you could bring to the workplace, and achievements you valued in your old job. Put this list where you can see it while job hunting. It will remind you that you are worthy and capable, and that the right job will come along eventually. Or, for an extra boost, get yourself a copy of Paula Langguth Ryan’s How to Manifest the Right and Perfect Job (on CD or instantly downloadable as an MP3 file).

Julie Leigh spent a decade working in Human Resources before taking a step back from her hectic work life to take up writing and spend more time with her young family. She has not regretted it for a second. When not reading or writing about her favorite subjects, she loves nothing more than to try something new. This year it is water skiing.