There are many reasons for a career change. From layoffs to getting fired to leaving a position on purpose, millions of individuals regularly find themselves in between jobs.
This time can be unsettling, to say the least. Even when done proactively, if you leave your job to look for other employment or make a career pivot, the interim can be challenging, especially for your mind.
If you can relate, here are a few tips to help you manage your mental health as you navigate a career change.
Start with the Stress
If you feel yourself starting to panic as you move on from your current position, don’t rush off looking for something, anything to fill the career gap.
Instead, start by gathering your thoughts and maintaining your composure. In other words, address the stress.
Stress is a normal part of life. You’re going to feel it during a career change. But that doesn’t mean it has to control you.
Once you’ve safeguarded your mental health, you can begin to consider the future. As you do so, try to be strategic. By planning ahead, you can ensure that you make every decision deliberately.
If you’re looking for another job in your field, make sure you find one that is better than your previous position. If you’re relocating to accept a new position, think about details like how you’ll move your stuff affordably, what school you want your kids to go to, and what you should look for when buying a new house.
Finances may not technically be a mental health concern, but they certainly can impact the state of your mind. With your finances in flux, it’s easy to feel stressed out about money during a career change.
Retake control of the situation by proactively managing your money. Tighten up your budget and cut your expenses wherever you can.
From there, consider what savings or loan options you can reasonably utilise as you work toward getting another paycheck. If you find that you’re short on cash, you can also look for easy-in, easy-out freelance gigs, like ghostwriting or working as a virtual assistant.
These can help you generate cash and ease your financial burdens. At the same time, they’re easy to set down once you’re ready to resume full-time work.
Don’t Dwell on the Past, Prepare for the Future
Finally, remember to stay focused on what’s ahead of you. It’s easy to dwell on the past when you’re in a career transition, regardless of how you left your last job.
For instance, if you were fired, it’s tempting to feel bitter or embarrassed about how things ended. If you left on your own, you may feel regretful as you compare your job options to your past situation.
Instead, focus on preparing for your future. Polish up a top-notch resume and practice your cover letter writing. Update your portfolio. Line up references. That way, you give yourself the best chance at improving your situation moving forward.
Mental Health and Work
Mental health is a major concern during every period of your career. However, during a career change, you need to be particularly on guard against things like stress, bitterness, and discontentment.
So, resist the urge to hit that panic button, and instead take stock of your situation. Start with a stress check. Then begin to strategize. If you can stay positive and focused on the future, you’ll be able to use this time of change as the stepping-off point for the next great phase of your career.
About the Author
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S.
She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to health and wellness, including mental health awareness and addiction education.