We've all been there at some point...unemployed with no sense of direction or hope. Marie says (and we agree) that the most important thing is to stay positive through it all. Let Marie's uplifting post tell you how.
Unemployment is rough. There is no skirting around how it is an awful time in someone’s life, and how easy it can be to slip into a depression or let your mood get down. Here are some tips that I found helpful to keep a positive attitude while I was unemployed:
When I found myself unemployed, my first resolution was to keep my schedule going as much as possible. It’s easy to allow yourself to sleep in late and stay up late at night when you don’t have to go to work, but that can also lead to those depressive feelings. Keeping normal sleeping and waking hours allows you to get the most of the mood-lifting sunlight. It also helps keep you feeling as if you are still an active member of society because you are keeping the same waking hours as everyone else.
To give me something to do and to make a routine for myself, I began to exercise daily. Most working people give the excuses that they are too tired from work, or don’t have enough time to exercise. Being unemployed gives you a lot of free time to get rid of those stubborn ten pounds. Plus, don’t forget all the endorphins that a good workout provides!
While you are looking for a full-time job, try and find a part-time job to help fill the time and make some money. I initially started my job as a way to make some money when I realized finding a full-time job was not going to be easy. Another unexpected perk of having a part-time job was finding that I was able to still have a lot of flexibility with my schedule. Having flexibility in my schedule allowed me to maximize what I did with my period of unemployment.
Travel! Spend time with friends! This one took me a while to figure out. The first year of my unemployment, I avoided outings with friends or vacations because of the lack of money. Much of that year was spent staying at home and watching TV, and feeling like I was wasting my life. I started finding low-cost activities for my friends and I to do that fit my budget, and I began to save a small amount of my paycheck to put in a vacation fund so that I could still do one of my favorite activities, traveling.
Another benefit of having a flexible schedule was finding the time to be able to give back to my community. With the bustle of graduate school, I realized it had been 3 years since I had actively done community service. While I was unemployed I was able to find the time to get involved with a meaningful organization, and I had the time I otherwise would not have had to train to become a volunteer there. Plus, giving back to others, especially those who might be in worse situations than you, helps to put things into perspective and it makes you grateful for the good things that are going on in your life.
Make use of the time you have to try new things that you ordinarily may not have tried or would not have had the time to try. For me, I expanded on my love of cooking by trying more complicated dishes and techniques that I was afraid to try before. I also tried writing for a blog! You never know where trying those new things may lead you.
This last point is probably the hardest. The longer that you are unemployed the harder it is to keep a positive outlook on your job situation and you may even find your self-esteem taking a dip. It's natural for the negative thoughts to creep in, but try to not let them overrun your life. Remind yourself of your positive attributes, surround yourself with positive people, and do things that make you happy. If nothing else works, try to laugh. They say it's hard to be sad when you're laughing, even if you are forcing yourself to do so.
Unemployment is not an easy time; it can be very stressful and make you feel isolated. The most important thing is to try to find things that make you happy and keep yourself from getting depressed. It does get better!
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