The mental health monthly blog was developed with the intent to share information regarding mental health topics that are not typically discussed. We hope to inspire personal reflection, increase knowledge of different topics, and increase awareness of support and services available. If anything in the blog sparks your interest or you would like more information, please contact the GMFRC social workers.
This months article:
September: Finding employment
This is one of the busiest times of the year for one of my colleagues, the Coordinator of Employment & Education Services (E&E Coordinator) at the GMFRC. September is sometimes referred to as another “New Year.” The start of a new school year and this is the time when integration for newly posted-in families begins. This is the peak time for newly posted military spouses to begin looking for employment, recertification, or going back to school. The E&E Coordinator is ready to help you with whatever your needs are. That’s why I reached out to her to collaborate on this blog about strategies to maintain your mental health when you’re finding employment or starting on a new career path.
Employment has a lot of value in our society. We have created a societal assumption that the more you work and the more you make determines your worth as a human being. One of the first questions we often ask people we meet is “What do you do for work?” As a result, what we do for employment makes up a large part of our social and personal identity. Thus, when our employment is taken from us, due to a posting or another reason, it is very stressful on our mental well-being. Anxiety and depression symptoms can increase. Having to search for employment can be a very stressful time. We are constantly judged by potential employers, society, and ourselves. We compare ourselves to each other and compare ourselves to the past, which is normal but not helpful in these situations. So, what can we do?
Here are some strategies the E&E Coordinator suggests for managing your mental wellbeing while searching for employment:
There are so many unknowns in the world of job searching; unknowns that are well beyond your control. Try not to let these consume you. Focus your energy and efforts on the pieces that you do have control over. You can control the quality of your job applications. You can control the effort you put into practicing and preparing for job interviews, you can control the outfit that you wear to interviews so you are feeling that you look your best. At the end of the day you will feel much better about your job search when you can say to yourself honestly “I did the best that I could”.
- Maintain a healthy focus on what you can control in the process
Unfortunately, a job search can often be more of a marathon than a sprint. By taking good care of yourself – eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, monitoring your stress levels – during the process you will be much more likely to be able to stick with it both physically and mentally until you reach your goal.
- Practice self-care
You deserve a treat for your hard work! Rewards don’t have to cost a lot of money. Match the size of the reward to the size of the goal. Did you submit those two resumes this week? Good for you! Buying a new car is probably not the best reward for this goal but you could treat yourself to an extra-long bubble bath, binge watch your favourite show, or your enjoy your favourite snack. Save a special, and budget friendly, reward for when you land the job!
- Reward yourself along the way
Your job search is a journey and like all journeys there are often unexpected stops, detours, and obstacles along the way. Often these come in the form of not getting the interview or the job offer. If this happens, don’t beat yourself up. Look at this as a learning experience. Perhaps it is time to review your road trip map and plan a different route or a new destination. Maybe the car, or your résumé, needs a tune up. There will be a lot of emotional ups and downs along the way and each one will bring you one step closer to your goal.
- Remember, every “no” is one step closer to a “yes”
- Remember, you do not have to do this alone
We often find comfort in discussing our struggles with someone who “gets it.” Find that person in your life, and lean on them for support when you need it during this process. Perhaps this person is a close friend, your spouse, a family member, a former colleague, or a career development professional, like our Coordinator of Employment & Education Services.).
As a social worker, one of the biggest things I suggest to people who are going through the motions of finding employment is to practice self-compassion. Follow the advice you would give to a friend who was struggling. Remember that this is a difficult thing to do, and it is not a reflection on your own personal limitations. Be kind to yourself.
If you would like support in finding employment or taking care of your mental health through any situation please reach out to the GMFRC at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
August: Mental Health and the Ocean
July: Veteran Families
June: Responding to change using the FACE method
April: Compassion Fatigue
March: Gut Health and Mental Health
February: Effective communication strategies
January: Mens Mental Health
December: Taking care of yourself during the holidays
November 2019: Grief and Remembrance
October 2019: World Mental Health Day
September 2019: Children’s Mental Health
August 2019: Reality of Self-Care
July 2019: Mental Health Stigma: Summertime Edition