How to Deal with Job Hunting Depression

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How to Deal With Job Hunting Depression

Hunting for a new job can be daunting and exhausting. If you’re in the weeds of the job hunt, you may find yourself experiencing fatigue and even job hunting depression.


Many people say that their unemployment has led to emotional and mental health issues such as anxiety or depression during this period. However, there are some constructive ways that you can try to overcome job hunting depression. Read on to find out more!

What Is Job Search Depression?

Job search depression is exactly what it sounds like. It is a bit different from depression because it has a specific cause, while most depression varies in triggers or causes. Job search depression occurs during the job hunt, and can be linked to low self-worth and feelings of hopelessness.


A big reason for this is because in today’s society, we often equate our job as our identity and tie our self-worth to our career. After all, how many times have you been asked by a new person “what do you do?” during introductions. When you are experiencing these volatile emotions and dealing with job search depression, it can adversely affect your job hunt even more.


Because of this, job search depression is truly a vicious cycle. However, there are a few methods you can take to break job search depression, starting with taking care of yourself. It is also wise to chat with a therapist or career coach about what you are experiencing. 


Self care is the number one tip that experts have for those who are experiencing job hunting depression. Take the time to care for yourself, instead of only focusing on results, as this can lead you to burnout and depression on your search. When it comes to self care, sleep is our foundation for a healthy and sound mind. 


Not sticking to a regular sleep schedule– whether this means that you are sleeping too much or too little– can not only cause depression, but can actually hinder you in your job search as well. You will want to be sure to stick to your sleep schedule so that your body is able to properly rest and recharge. The right amount of quality sleep is crucial for mental health. Many of those who suffer from depression also suffer from either insomnia or sleeping too much. The two are very clearly linked, and poor sleep can even induce or worsen depression. For adults, the recommended amount of sleep is 7 or more hours each night, though sleep needs may vary between individuals. 


Another facet of self care is eating well– both food that is good for you, and food that you enjoy and can look forward to! While there is no fail proof diet to cure depression, a healthy and balanced diet has ties to boosting a person’s well-being and mental health. For example, it has been shown that those who suffered from depression experienced a lessening of symptoms when they were offered nutritional counseling sessions. 


There are certain foods and nutrients that can be instrumental in combating job search depression. Fresh and whole foods, which are high in nutrients, as well as limiting sweets, fried food, and processed foods, were shown to alleviate depressive symptoms such as mood and anxiety.

Recommended Foods

Some foods that are recommended for dealing with depression are proteins, zinc, and B vitamins. Protein helps the body grow and repair itself. When the body uses the protein tryptophan, it creates serotonin. Serotonin is commonly known as the “feel good” hormone. While it does play a role in combating depression, it is not known exactly how serotonin does this. It’s been observed that zinc levels are often lower in those who are suffering from depression. Zinc commonly helps boost the immune system. You can either aim to eat foods that are high in zinc, such as whole grains, beef, chicken, and pork, or you can begin taking a supplement, which is easy to find in your local health food stores. When it comes to B vitamins, vitamins B-9 and B-12 are known to help maintain the nervous system– including the brain. For this reason, it is believed that these vitamins can help to reduce both the risk and the symptoms of mood disorders like depression. Like zinc, you can either consume more B vitamins in your regular diet– by eating foods such as eggs, leafy vegetables, or dairy– or by starting a supplement.

Foods to Avoid

Some of the foods that should be avoided are alcohol, refined foods, and caffeine. Alcohol is very clearly linked to mental health issues and could become both a way to cope with depression and as a trigger for new bouts of depression or anxiety problems. Refined foods, such as fast food or junk food, are high in calories and low in nutrients, so they are not healthy for a person regardless. When a person eats carbs, the energy level of their body increases rapidly and then crashes. This causes a high and then a rapid low– it’s best to look for foods that are nutrient dense instead, since these will provide a steady source of energy. Caffeine can actually be a benefit to those with depression– in moderation. However, caffeine can also affect feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. It can affect a person’s sleep, too, which, as discussed above, is crucial for a person’s mental well-being.  

Human Connections

We humans are social creatures. Loneliness can be a factor in depression as well for this very reason (in fact, it can raise your body’s level of cortisol, the stress hormone), so human connection is another way that you can try to avoid job search depression. Introverts can often struggle the most with this because being social isn't their natual state.


A great way to ensure that you are investing in quality human connections is to examine your currently existing relationships. If you and these individuals exist together without truly connecting, the quality of the interaction is low and will therefore not fulfill you.


For example, try taking on new activities together that you enjoy and that will help you interact in a natural way. Or, you could heed the old adage that “laughter is the best medicine” and go to an event together, such as a comedy show! Enriching experiences such as these will help you feel renewed.


You can also try to find a new community of those who are in the same situation that you are in, whether through a support group or on social media. Talking about your issues– such as your job hunt– with likeminded people can both motivate you and show you that you are not alone.


A person is strengthened by community, and being surrounded by people who are motivated by the same things and shooting for the same goal as you can be uplifting and inspiring. 


Meditation is another solution that is commonly recommended for dealing with issues such as anxiety, stress, or depression. Many people might think this is a suggestion without merit, but in fact, meditation has been shown to have great positive benefits. Of course, this is an action that should be taken in conjunction with other solutions, as it will not single handedly cure a person’s depression. Meditation should be implemented into your life as a continued practice, as studies have shown that meditation practices have a greater effect when incorporated into your life regularly. 


The reason that meditation can help with depression is because it changes your body and mind’s response to negative thinking. It is a form of mental reconditioning. During meditation, you will heighten your awareness of your thoughts and experiences, but you are also taught not to pass judgment on these feelings. You must learn to accept your thoughts and then let them go, rather than clinging to the negativity. These practices can also help a person learn how to manage their depression by becoming more aware of their emotions. This increase in awareness can help a person identify the symptoms of a depressive episode, such as irritability, fatigue, or negative thought patterns. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I not get depressed at job hunting?

Be sure to take time for yourself and focus on self care and doing some of the things that you enjoy. If you focus solely on your job hunt and your prospects, your feelings are much more so tied to your job and can, in turn, affect your psyche and motivation.

Why is looking for jobs so depressing?

Jobs are typically tied to our self-worth. When we do not find a job right away, we may experience lower self-esteem and self-worth, along with a feeling of depression or hopelessness.

What job has the highest rate of depression?

Public and private transportation jobs are those with the highest rates of depression, followed by real estate careers and jobs in social work.

Is job hunting stressful?

Yes, job hunting can be stressful and a long job search, especially, can lead to feelings of exhaustion and burnout, which can often lead to depression as well.