6 Coping Strategies to Stay Mentally Strong During a Job Search

job search coping strategies
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It is no secret that the results of the Covid-19 pandemic have been absolutely devastating on the employment figures in South Africa. Retrenchments have been taking place on a scale never seen before. And millions of South Africans have found themselves suddenly unable to earn an income and provide for their families. Not only have people lost their jobs, but they are also dealing with new stresses they never imagined possible before. The psychological and emotional effects on people in these situations are incomprehensible to those of us fortunate enough to still be earning an income. Even a reduced one.

If you are one of those among us who are feeling completely helpless, or if you know someone else in a similar situation to what I have described. Then let me tell you that all is not lost, even though it might feel that way now. Believe it or not, there are a few activities that you can do daily that will help you deal with these new challenges that you are facing. I am going to share six of these activities or “coping strategies” with you in this article.

Coping Strategies for job seekers

Right, before we get right into it I want to make sure that you know that what you are feeling is completely normal for your situation. It is fine to feel anxious and overwhelmed.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at our 6 activities that will keep you mentally sharp and on track during this difficult time.

Use your time wisely

It is not going to help sitting around worrying about everything that has gone wrong, or things that might go wrong in the future. Worrying is not going to not change anything for the better, plus it takes up valuable time that you could be engaged in productive activities.

I recently read a book where the author says “worrying is just an excuse to do nothing about your problems.” So how could you stop worrying and instead do something? Well besides the obvious job search, you could also do a few free online courses and upskill yourself. This will not only make you feel better about yourself, but it will also give you a few extra skills to list on your updated CV. You can never go wrong by improving yourself.

Remember that opportunities are everywhere

It is a well-known fact that when people become stressed and anxious they develop a sort of tunnel vision. This tunnel vision often makes us blind to opportunities around us, and because of this we get stuck in a rut rather than make progress in our lives.

See if you are only focused on a single goal then you might be missing super opportunities that are simply passing you by. Maybe you should broaden your job search criteria, or maybe you have the skills to provide a much-needed service in your community and could start a business. Keep your eyes open, but most importantly keep your mind open.

Follow a daily routine

Following a daily routine will significantly increase the amount that you get done during the day. Plan your routine in advance, either the day before, or, if you are going to plan for the entire week, then the week before. Write your planned routine down and stick to it as much as possible. Obviously, it needs to be slightly flexible to accommodate unexpected time delays.

Here are a few things that you should consider for your routine

1) Wake uptime.
Set your alarm clock for the time that you would like to get up. When it goes off do not hit the snooze button! Get out of bed and start your day. I get up at 04:30 every single morning, it is one of my favorite times in the day. Obviously, it is not necessary that you also get up this early, but I don’t suggest you sleep past 06:30. You only get 24 hours in a day.

2) Activities for the day
Plan your activities for the day. How much time are you going to dedicate to the job search, studies, and meals? As I said, it can and should be slightly flexible.

3) Exercise
Make sure that you set aside some time during your day for exercise. Even if this is just going for a 20-minute walk around the block. Do not think about the job search during this time! There is plenty of other time to think about that. You might not think that this is important, but trust me it is. Exercise is a fantastic mood booster, sometimes just the thing you need when times are tough.

Create a support network

We all have people in our lives that believe in us and help us to remain positive and optimistic. These people could be from your immediate family or professional work contacts that you formed a strong bond. This is not the time to connect with any negative friends that are only going to add to your worries. Also, keep away from friends that will just encourage you to “drink your problems away,” this never works and inevitably just makes things worse.

Reaching out to former work friends and letting them know that you are looking for a new job is a really great network-building strategy. They will often keep their eyes open for something that might be suitable for you, or even put in a good word for you if they are in a position to do so.

Talk to someone

As I said earlier, you are not alone in this, even though it might feel that way right now. Often talking to others helps us realise that which can make dealing with the situation much easier. Sometimes it is just that little extra bit of motivation that helps you carry on with your job search.

Stay positive

And finally, it is very important that you actively keep yourself positive. Depending on your situation this might sound completely impossible at the moment. But it is important. Tell yourself that there will be an end to this rough patch (Because there will!).

Find things that motivate you and keep you going. These will be different for each and every one of us so you need to try and figure out what lifts your spirits. Music and inspirational quotes quite often do the trick for me if I am feeling a little down. In fact, I have even composed a list of motivational job search quotes and a motivational playlist if you would like to check them out.


All I can say in conclusion is to remind yourself every single day that you are not alone. Remind yourself of all the positive things still in your life (Yes there are!) Remind yourself that this is not forever and it will pass. Remember this, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do!”

If you feel like you need to reach out and talk to someone are welcome to use the comments section below or you can use the contact form on the Bizcraft website or even just pop me an E-mail (Also available on the contact page of my site) I will respond.

Keep safe.

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The information contained on this website is simply aimed at providing readers with guidance on labour law in South Africa. This information has not been provided to meet the individual requirements of a specific individual. Bizcraft will always suggest that legal advice be obtained to address a person’s unique circumstances. It is important to remember that the law is constantly changing and although Bizcraft strives to keep the information up to date and of high quality, it cannot be guaranteed that the information will be updated and/or be without errors or omissions. As a result, Bizcraft will under no circumstances accept liability or be held liable, for any innocent or negligent actions or omissions which may result in any harm or liability flowing from the use of or the inability to use the information provided.

1 Comment

  1. Bhaskar Jyoti borah
    July 6, 2021

    Nice Article, thank you for sharing.


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