How to Stay Motivated on the Job Hunt with Bipolar
Let's be honest: job hunting is demoralizing if you're neurotypical. There are so many uncertainties that can wear you down when seeking a new position—and when you live with bipolar disorder, job hunting stressors can lead to changes in mood, which could result in a full-blown episode of depression or mania. It may be easier said than done, but a critical key to preventing mood episodes while you're on the prowl for a new job is learning ways to keep yourself motivated.
It's Okay to Feel Frustrated on the Job Hunt with Bipolar
The job hunt with bipolar disorder is frustrating. You might be turned down for jobs you know that you're qualified for. You might encounter recruiters who ghost you. You might have to analyze job descriptions for signs of scams or toxic work environments. You might stress over the interview process. You might wait on a response for weeks or months while worrying about bills to pay. You might even wonder if you'll ever find a job that you're genuinely passionate about for a livable wage.
These are just some of the factors that can lead to frustration, burnout, and mood episodes while job hunting with bipolar. I know because I have experienced them many times. Before I was diagnosed and medicated, job hunting was a nearly impossible task for me. I knew that it was necessary, but it pulled me into such a deep depression that even sitting down in front of the computer to trawl online job boards often sent me into panic-induced crying fits.
Job hunting occasionally triggered manic episodes in me as well. I became so bored and frustrated with the job-hunting process that my brain started to crave more stimulation, which tipped me over the edge into an unhealthy high. Getting my bipolar symptoms under control with medication and therapy helped manage these symptoms, but it took a long time to regain my professional confidence. While I am in a stable place now, I still experience career anxiety from time to time.
To address the challenges that come with job hunting while bipolar, I think it's important to acknowledge these feelings—even so-called "negative" ones. This is the only way to cope and take care of business.
How to Stay Motivated While Job Hunting with Bipolar
The following motivational strategies worked for me when I've had to job hunt while attempting to manage my bipolar disorder. Feel free to adjust them as you see fit.
1. Make a Career Plan and Apply to Jobs that Align with It
Where do you want to be in the next five or 10 years? Whether it's growing your current career or forging a new path, sit down and get honest about the direction you want to take. From there, tailor your job hunt to positions that align with your goals.
2. Set Boundaries and Track Your Progress
A common piece of advice is to treat the job hunt as full-time employment, but this strategy has never worked for me. I get overwhelmed and burned out when I spend all day scouring the Internet for job openings, filling out applications, and taking online assessments. Instead, I set a goal to apply for a certain number of jobs per day, then block off a chunk of time to do it.
To help me track my progress, I keep a spreadsheet that includes the name of the position I apply for, the company, the dates when I applied and followed up, whether I submitted a custom resume or cover letter, and whether I was invited to interview. I also include a section under each job heading to list why I would be a good fit as a way to uplift my confidence.
3. Reward Yourself
What would make you feel good after a day on the job hunt? Whether it's drinking a cup of coffee, spending time with a loved one, playing with a pet, or watching a favorite movie, give yourself small rewards for meeting your job hunting goals. This can help you stay motivated throughout the process.
Job hunting is rough—especially as the pandemic continues to drag on—but don't give up on yourself. I believe that nine times out of 10, good outcomes do happen to those who stay the course, even if the road is rocky and throws you a lot of surprise twists and turns.
Do you have any tips for staying motivated on the job hunt with bipolar? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Rose, N. (2021, February 10). How to Stay Motivated on the Job Hunt with Bipolar, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, July 4 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/workandbipolarordepression/2021/2/how-to-stay-motivated-on-the-job-hunt-with-bipolar