Another Source

Don't stress! 4 ways to combat job search anxiety

Jan 2023

Evelyn Kwong

Applying for jobs can surface many emotions, from positive ones such as excitement and curiosity to not-so-positive ones like disappointment and anxiety. Thankfully, there is more than one technique to counter anxiety if and when it does present itself. Which one resonates with you the most?

Finding gratitude and moments of joy

Your mindset can greatly impact your outlook on your professional future and job prospects. Gratitude doesn’t have to be overly complicated – it can look like finding one thing every day that you are thankful for. If it helps, write down that thing as a reminder to yourself. What small wins can you celebrate in the midst of emailing recruiters and hiring managers, networking, and researching companies?  

Similarly, be intentional about creating experiences of joy in your day-to-day. What drives you as a human being outside of work? This can be a practical – but fun – exercise! Carve out a little time to meet a friend for lunch, journal (if that’s your thing), or try that new hobby. While these activities aren’t directly related to your job search, they remind us to connect with the things and people who matter most. 

Have set “working” hours

Just as you have set working hours during a job, establishing a routine while looking for new employment will give you peace of mind. A routine can help you set good boundaries so job applications don’t take over your life, but you must respect those boundaries. Make sure to take breaks and sign off at the end of your work day. You don’t want to be burnt out before starting a new job.  

Keep in mind that the hours you decide on don’t necessarily have to be a traditional 9 to 5. For example, if you find that you have the most creative ideas after a morning hike, schedule the time you spend applying for roles in the afternoon. Be sure to clearly communicate when you are available to recruiters and hiring managers; you want to respect their time and vice versa. 

A pink cursive neon sign on a background of foliage reads "and breathe."

Meditation and mindfulness can teach you how to recognize anxious thoughts.

Make time to destress

You’ve been dedicated, you’re putting in the work, but make sure you’re also taking space to unwind from the application process. Contrary to many of our instincts, pulling up social media is not giving our brains the rest that they need. Instead, try incorporating some physical activity to get your blood flowing, read a book, or pull up your favorite podcast or music. These things will literally tell your body and mind to focus on something besides job searching and interviewing. 

Another popular technique is practicing mindfulness and meditation. This can be as structured or unstructured as you like. Nowadays, Calm and Headspace are convenient apps that facilitate guided meditations and even light stretching exercises. There are adult coloring books for about every topic under the sun, so pick your favorite! If those are not your cup of tea, breathing exercises are a method you can take anywhere (start with 5-5-5-5 Breathing on YouTube). 

Try a change in scenery

Are you familiar with the saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? If you find yourself in that boat, a different environment – a local café, a nearby library – could be what’s needed to spark inspiration.

The same can be said of perspectives as well. Here are some practical actions to try:

  • Rather than applying to every job with the exact title you want, research related roles and consider whether your skills and experience might be a fit.  
  • Ask a friend or family member to review your resume and cover letter and share their feedback. 
  • LinkedIn groups, sub-reddits, and Discord servers are sometimes overlooked as forums for industry-specific advice and insight.

Since job searching can look different for everyone, find what makes sense for you. While you’ll need to invest your time initially, these are resources you can revisit again and again. 


We hope you can take away some valuable steps for reducing stress and anxiety during the application process. Another Source would like to encourage you to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook so you stay notified of posts like this one. If you learned something today, please also take a minute to pass these techniques along to a fellow job seeker. As always, we wish you the best in your job search!

For more on tackling anxiety related to your job search, here are 3 additional resources with helpful advice: 

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