If you've ever found yourself unemployed than you know how it feels. It can be a terrifying time, wrought with anxiety and fear. You are unable to see past the present moment. Suddenly you are faced with a whole host of worries and initially you may feel paralysed, unable to act. However, if you can keep active, it will help you in the long run.
The loss of income is an immediate issue. So I would immediately suggest you get financial advice. Speak to the relevant authority to ensure you get the benefits you are entitled to at this time. Take the time to sit down and work through your finances. If money management isn't your thing, get the support of someone who can help.
The research on the impact of unemployment makes for dismal reading. It can affect your health, wellbeing and happiness. Life satisfaction decreases and people struggle to get back to normal. You may experience boredom, depression and stress. This is what the statistics tell us. However, it doesn't have to be this way. Believe it or not, there is a great deal in your life that you can still control.
Getting the most from this time
Work related activities
Just because you are not in paid employment right now does not mean you should turn to your bed and wait for your life to improve. It will really help you if you can plan a routine that works for you. It will keep you busy and gives your life structure. A good idea would be to schedule time each day on job hunting activities. Try to plan in advance what you are going to do. Here are some considerations for activities you may find useful, in addition to the usual job search.
- Give your resume a makeover. You will need to bring your resume up to date to incorporate your last job and your new hobbies. Spend time experimenting with different layouts. This activity is never a fun task; however it may help if you use it as an opportunity to reflect on your achievements.
- Brush up on your interviewing skills. It may have been some time since your last interview, so spend time looking at websites that can help you prepare. Take note of expert advice and reflect on how it will work for you personally.
- Make use of Twitter and LinkedIn. These sites allow you to make connections and show off your expertise.
- Try to take advantage of courses that may be available to you.
- Allow time to reflect. Do you want to go in a new direction or continue as you were? Recall what you liked and did not like about your old job. If you really hated it, chances are looking for the same position will be of little benefit to you long term. Is this the opportunity to pursue the career you've always dreamed of? Research what training you need to undertake and the commitment involved. Find out if you can get government assistance.
Non-work related activities
Job hunting can be very hard work and is often stressful. It is important therefore to have a balance in your life As such you need to recognise that it is okay to do other activities, which although are not related directly to job hunting, will keep you healthy, your stress down and as a consequence will make the job search more bearable.
Your wellbeing is not just tied up with work. So try to remind yourself of all the elements that increased your happiness before you lost your job. You are multi-layered and not just a label or a statistic.
Consider the following Ideas for getting the most from your day:
- How about starting a blog of your experiences? It is a means of connecting to people in a similar position to you as well as an opportunity to let off steam.
- Continue to meet up with friends as you did previously. If they are really your friends they will be mindful of the fact money may be tight. Suggest activities that are free to do.
- Make a list of all the unfinished tasks around your house. Then schedule time to do them. Resolve to have them finished before you go back to work.
- Use this as an opportunity to embark on projects you've always wanted to start but never got around to.
- Do some volunteer work. It doesn't have to be for long each week, but it has many benefits. Not only do you get to help others, it is a chance to learn new skills as well as offering you opportunities you had never thought of. Also, research continues to promote how good volunteering is for your wellbeing and happiness.
- Look after yourself. Eat healthily and exercise daily. Use this time as an opportunity to develop a new healthy eating plan. Develop new habits that are firmly in place once you are working again. Exercise is so important and can help keep depression at bay.
- Set up routines for each day. Plan each day of the week so it is distinct, allowing you to focus on different things. This will give you structure as well as variety.
- Learn new skills. Set yourself a goal and then schedule regular time each week towards meeting that goal.
- Take a trip to the library. It gets you out of the house, is free and is an opportunity to broaden your knowledge.
- Try not to switch on the television or spend hours mindlessly surfing the internet.
- Practice gratitude at the end of each day. Write down 3-5 things you are grateful for each day. Use what you have written to inspire you when you are feeling fed up.
Things to think about
- Let other people's comments bounce off you -- it doesn't help and only adds to the burden you may be feeling right now. Don't give in to the stereotype of an unemployed person staring at the walls all day. Instead go out of your way to keep active. If comments come your way that you appear far too chirpy, remember it is their issue not yours. Don't give in to depression, just because this is what people expect of you. It is okay to laugh and smile.
- Remember that self-worth comes from within. How you think about yourself is so important. Recognise how much control you do have in your life and the choices you do have. You could turn to your bed, or you could persists and get the most out of this experience.
- Don't feel guilty that you have time to spend on your hobbies. It means you are making the best use of your time rather than sending yourself into a downward spiral that you will struggle to get out of and will be apparent when you go for interviews. It will keep you inspired, motivated and interested in life.
- Be alert to mood changes. Being aware of them enables you to do something about them.
- Become an optimist. An optimist will expect things to improve and will regard unemployment as a temporary glitch.