There is nothing easy about being unemployed. It is stressful. It depletes your sense of self-confidence and takes away any feeling of financial stability that you may once have had. The longer that unemployment drags on, the more it feels like it’s going to make you crazy. However, there are many things that you can do to keep your sanity even while you’re unemployed. While it may sometimes be tough to motivate yourself to do these things, doing so will improve your mental health during your job search and make you a more appealing candidate at those interviews!
Here are 15 tips for staying sane during unemployment:
1. Stick to a schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Treat the job search like a job and make sure that you get to it on time each day and stay until your work day is done. When you leave the “job” for the day, do something else rather than just continuing to focus on the job hunt all day and all night.
2. Surround yourself with people who are employed. This may seem counterintuitive because it’s a lot easier to sit around with other unemployed people and commiserate. This, however, drags you down. Instead, spend time with people in your life who do have jobs. Not only do they bring up your spirits but they may also be good folks for job leads!
3. Learn something new. Challenge yourself to learn something you’ve always wanted to learn but never had the time for. Meeting this challenge will keep you busy while boosting your self-confidence.
4. Take a class in your field. This will look good on your resume and keep you busy at the same time. Look into free local classes through the SBA and other community organizations.
5. Breathe, say affirmations, get cheesy. Many people refuse to engage in the most common tips about staying calm and happy in life because they feel like they’re too cheesy. However, saying affirmations out loud and taking ten minutes per day for mindful breathing can actually make you feel better. It certainly isn’t going to hurt!
6. Avoid the bad news. Reading news reports about home foreclosures and unemployment rates just is not good for you right now. Stop doing it. Read an uplifting book instead!
7. Exercise daily. Even thirty minutes of exercise per day gets your blood pumping. This makes you feel better physically, which in turn makes you feel better mentally.
8. Eat a healthy diet. Again, the physical benefits will make your mind feel better.
9. Make an effort to talk about the things that you are doing. It’s easy to get mired in conversations about your frustrating job hunt. Those conversations will make you crazy after awhile. Talk about what you are doing, what you’ve read, what you wanted to be when you were a kid … anything positive that isn’t the job hunt!
10. Lean on the people you trust. On the other hand, when your feelings do start to get overwhelming, don’t bottle them up. Turn to the people in your life that are most supportive in times of need. Note that this isn’t always your spouse or best friend; a friend with less immediate investment in your wellbeing may be a better ear at this time.
11. Celebrate the little things. The interview may not have gone well, but hey, at least you got the interview. It’s tough to stay positive, but a focused effort on doing so is well worth it!
12. Set specific daily goals. It can be hard to see the big picture right now, but you can achieve daily goals related to the job search.
13. Set a budget. This can feel interminably frustrating when you don’t have an income. However, it ultimately gives you at least some feeling of control over your finances, which can make you feel better in the long run.
14. Go somewhere, anywhere, every day. Do not just sit in the house. It’s too easy to become depressed. Go get a $2 tea at the local coffee shop, go window shopping, or just walk around the block each day.
15. Consider speaking with a professional. If you are starting to suffer from serious problems with depression because of unemployment then you may want to seek the help of a psychologist or a psychiatrist. This sounds expensive, but there are community programs and deferred payment plans to help. Your mental health is worth the cost, if it comes down to it.
What’s the number one thing that you are doing to stay sane while you’re unemployed?