A job search can be challenging under the best of circumstances. Searching for a job is a process that takes time and effort, and sometimes you may lose your way, get discouraged and be tempted to give up. COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders bring additional challenges that may seem too difficult to overcome. However, as career coach Tammy Homegardner (Five Ways To Stay Motivated During A Job Search) points out, the key to any successful job search is to keep going and never give up because that’s how you’ll reap the rewards.

So, how do you stay motivated to keep your job search going in the current environment of layoffs, pandemic and quarantine, no matter how long it takes to get results? A survey of career experts provides a range of tips and ideas to help you stay motivated and on track until you land a job.

Remember that this situation is temporary. Looking for a job is a means to an end. While the job search may feel endless at times, remind yourself that the situation is temporary. The frustration and worry will end, and, if you persevere, you will find a job.

Learn to accept not getting the job. It can be difficult when you don’t get the job you wanted, especially if you feel you were a great fit. There could be many reasons why you weren’t chosen (e.g., an internal candidate got the position, the boss’ niece wanted the job, etc.). Try not to take it personally. If there is an opportunity, ask for constructive feedback. Learn what you can, realize it wasn’t meant to be and move on to the next opportunity.

Know you are not alone. Searching for a job can sometimes feel like a lonely process, but don’t forget that others are out there experiencing the same highs and lows. Consider joining job seeker groups on LinkedIn (see Best LinkedIn Groups for Job Seekers) or check out the Tri-Valley Career Center’s Virtual Job Club, which meets every Thursday from 10:00-11:30AM on Zoom. Besides offering moral support, your fellow job seekers could also be a valuable resource of information about other companies and even a source of job leads.

Search smarter, not harder. While you need to apply for job openings online, there is a lot of competition in the online job market. You are likely to apply for many jobs and hear back from very few, which is hard work for a low return. Job search experts recommend that you work smarter by spending more of your time networking to uncover the “hidden” job market. By networking and reaching out to hiring managers at companies that you want to work for, you are inquiring about openings that may not have been posted. Also, you’ll be developing contacts at companies that could help you as other positions open up down the road.

Create a schedule and stick to it. Creating structure can help keep you motivated and moving forward. Try mapping out your day and week and creating a schedule of specific activities that you plan to accomplish. For example, spend the first couple of hours each day searching for jobs on job boards, then focus the next couple of hours on connecting with people on professional networking sites. Use the afternoon to research companies of interest and find potential contacts within those companies.

Take a break. Sometimes, taking a clean, temporary break from the job hunt can allow you to have the space to reassess your overall approach and clarify what you could be doing differently, according to CareerBuilder job advisor Debra Auerbach (How to stay motivated during a frustrating job search). Stepping back can give you some perspective so you can avoid repeating the same tactics while expecting a different result. Auerbach says that being temporarily “unproductive” can sometimes be the most productive move you can make, so consider taking a brief job search vacation to recharge and reassess.

Exercise and stay active. Physical exercise provides many benefits, including reducing stress, alleviating anxiety, increasing brainpower and elevating mood, all of which can help you approach your job search with a more positive attitude. Try to engage in some form of exercise at least three times a week. Join an online fitness class, follow along with instructional videos, find dance workouts online, take up running or explore a new workout activity. Also, try to get outside as much as possible by going for walks or bike rides. As writer Sophia Beams (Ten Ways to Stay Motivated During Quarantine) points out, anything that energizes and tires you out will likely help you sleep better at night, give you more energy throughout the day and help keep your mind and body healthier.

Take time for self-care. You should always leave time for yourself at the end of your day. Choose activities that make you feel happy and relaxed and are entirely unrelated to your job search. Take a bubble bath, watch your favorite Netflix drama, play video games or facetime with family and friends. Giving yourself time to relax will help you de-stress and leave you feeling more refreshed to face the next day.

Count your achievements. Whenever you start feeling demoralized, it’s time to stop and pat yourself on the back, says writer Molly Barnes (7 ways to stay motivated during the quarantine). Take time to consider your professional and personal achievements. Make a list of everything you’ve achieved in the past year (leaned new skills, expanded your professional network, supported a friend through a challenging time, etc.) and take a moment to appreciate what it took to accomplish each one. Make this practice a habit, and you’ll be ready to build on your successes, advocate for your worth and continue your job search with renewed enthusiasm.

Hopefully, following some of these tips will rejuvenate your motivation and help give you the confidence you need to keep your job search going until you’ve found your next great career opportunity.