Looking for a job in your 60s can feel similar to riding a wave. On one hand, you may welcome the chance to hit the restart button on your career and gain a fresh sense of purpose. On the other, landing your dream job isn’t always a smooth process, and you may experience a few setbacks along the way.

Everyone’s journey is unique, and it’s difficult to predict how long your job search will last. But it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone and that the right job will come along eventually.

Accepting this truth isn’t always easy, but here are a few things you can try to help you manage your happiness and well-being while you’re searching.

Go Small

Job searching can become overwhelming at times, especially if you set out to do everything required at once. Instead, start with smaller, more manageable goals that you can tackle one at a time.

These goals should be realistic and focus on things that are within your full control, e.g., creating a compelling cover letter, meeting up with people from your network to open up new opportunities, or simply getting tips and advice on your CV so it’s the best it can be.

It’s easy to get too focused on the outcome of your job search, which can quickly leave you feeling impatient and frustrated if things don’t go to plan.

By adopting a “stepping stone” approach, where you complete a series of small tasks one at a time, you’ll hopefully feel more accomplished and confident, and more likely to find the right role for you.

Stick to a Routine

Once you adopt the smaller-goals approach, it can be useful to start following a daily routine of positive habits. This can give you some direction and purpose, without which it’s easy to become lost and unmotivated and fall into unhelpful behaviour patterns, such as sleeping in late or eating unhealthily.

Not everyone finds the same routine helpful, so it’s up to you to create one that works for you. For example, if you’re a morning person, you may prefer to use your mornings to send off job applications and dedicate your afternoons/evenings to more relaxing activities, like walking the dog or spending time with family.

Spend Time Around Positive People

The company you keep can have a significant impact on your mood and your general outlook on life. Spending time around people who tend to look on the bright side of life can help you feel more positive about your own circumstances. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true.

Of course, it may not be possible to completely cut negative people out of your life, but try to maximise the time you spend around cheerful individuals and minimise the time spent with those who have a tendency to dwell on the negatives. Chances are, you’ll feel much more positive as a result.

Do Things You Love

Whilst it’s important to stay focussed and build momentum in your job search, try to remember that you’re only human, and downtime is important too.

You could start by allocating to yourself some time each day to do something you enjoy – whether that be getting stuck into a new novel, going round to a friend’s house for dinner, or going to your favourite gym class.

A job search is a journey, and the sooner that you embrace that journey and allow yourself a good balance between work and play, the more manageable it can become. Linking your job status to your sense of self-worth (which many people do), can make it hard to be kind to yourself.

If this describes you, then remind yourself that you do deserve regular breaks and that you are deserving of kindness – from yourself and from others. By accepting this, you can start giving yourself more of what you need.

Practice Positive Affirmations

It’s not uncommon for people to fall into negative thought patterns whilst looking for a job – especially if an application is followed by a rejection or a long period of silence. Some people tell themselves that they aren’t good enough or that they will never get a job.

Remember though, these are just thoughts, and they’re likely untrue.

Breaking away from self-deprecating thoughts can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Adopting the practice of positive affirmations and building it into your daily routine is one of the best ways to rewire your brain.

Start by telling yourself that you are good enough, that you have a lot to offer and that the right job is out there waiting for you – you just haven’t found it yet.

Some people find it helpful to set aside 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening to practice repeating positive affirmations until it starts to become second nature.

The effects of positive affirmations have been scientifically proven and, it’s likely that the more you use them, the greater your belief in yourself will be.

Ask for Help If You Need It

If your job search makes you feel particularly low and you’re struggling to cope, reach out to someone – a friend, relative, or a professional – rather than trying to deal with the issue alone.

Sometimes it can be beneficial to discuss your experiences with other job seekers in a similar position, as you may be able to swap tips and advice and offer each other a bit of moral support. If you think this might be helpful, you could try joining an online community where you can chat with other job seekers over 50.

Looking for a job can be tough and can require a lot of stamina, so it’s completely normal to experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anger if things don’t turn out like you’d hoped. However, it’s important not to let these feelings build up so much that they overwhelm you.

It’s possible that those around you may not know you’re struggling until you let them know, and once you do, chances are you’ll move closer to getting the help that you need.

These ideas may not work for everyone, but hopefully you can use them as a helpful starting point when considering what will work for you during your job search. Best of luck, and keep reminding yourself of all the positive things you can bring!

How does job hunting make you feel? Do you experience positive or negative emotions? What do you do to take your mind off of job searching? Do you have any additional tips on how to keep your spirits lifted when you’re looking for work? Please share them with our community!

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