Five ways to stay positive and healthy while looking for a job
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4 min. read

Five ways to stay positive and healthy while looking for a job

Unemployment can be tough. According to The Health Foundation, unemployed people are more likely to report poor mental health than those in employment. And a longitudinal study from Pace University in the US also found that long-term unemployment can lead to a significant decline in physical activity and hence weight gain.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re unemployed and looking for an ethical job, here are five simple things you can do to stay positive and healthy throughout your job-search:

1. Create a daily routine

Losing your routine when you’re no longer in regular work is unsettling and can lead to the formation of bad habits – such as sleeping in, becoming inactive or eating poorly.

Try planning a new, healthy routine by dividing your job search up into a few structured activities and then scheduling them into a regular 9-5 work day. For example, your job search might involve:

  • Checking for new jobs relevant to you;
  • Researching new developments in your field of interest;
  • Undertaking self-guided or online study to increase your skills; and
  • Networking with people who can help you find a job.

Balance these out with regular meal breaks like you would if you were at work, including lots of fruit and vegetables and some exercise as well (see point 4 below).

2. Connect with others

Being taken out of the work environment can be socially isolating and lead to feelings of loneliness, which according to beyondblue can turn into depression if ignored.

Incorporating some time to connect with others during your job search will help you to stay happy and socially connected ­– and can also lead to job opportunities

To stay connected consider:

  • Scheduling time to meet with friends in their lunch break or after work and share how you’re feeling;
  • Volunteer for an organisation you are passionate about, and make connections that could lead to paid work; and
  • Schedule phone calls or meetings with people within your network and ask them for their help finding your next job.

3. Keep an eye on your stress

Job-hunting is stressful for a myriad of reasons, from finances to self-confidence. Make sure you don’t ignore the signs of stress, by keeping an eye on how you’re feeling.

Keeping a daily journal about your routine and job-search activities is a good way to reflect on how you’re feeling. It’s cathartic and can also help you to identify adjustments you may need to make to your routine to stay healthy – both mentally and physically. It’s also surprisingly good for your physical and mental health.

There are also some great, simple techniques for reducing stress at work, like meditation, listening to music and finding a hobby, which you can also apply to your life even when you’re out of work.

4. Stay active

The benefits of exercise hardly need repeating – increased energy, reduced stress, and increased motivation. And one benefit of being out of a job is you can no longer use the excuse that you’re too busy to hit the gym or the pavement.

It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Some free exercise ideas include:

  • Going for a walk. In 1960s Japan, 10,000 steps per day was considered optimum for staying healthy and losing weight. It’s now recommended by the National Heart Foundation in Australia and the World Health Organisation;
  • Take up running – there are lots of free apps that you can download to turn any couch potato into a runner; or
  • Take out exercise DVDs from your library or watch them on YouTube – even just ten minutes of yoga can do wonders.

5. Remember life is about more than your job search

Just as important as what you do for your health while job hunting is what you don’t do – and that includes being too hard on yourself.

It’s easy to let your job search consume you, so make sure you don’t neglect the other parts of your life along the way, such as socialising with friends and family.

While it may seem difficult, this period can also be an opportunity to learn and think about your life holistically as you transition.

This article is based on an article that originally appeared on