How to Stay Positive While Unemployed
Being unemployed is the worst. We’re all in agreement here, right? It’s boring. You feel like you can’t do anything or spend any money, so you’re stressed. All your friends post on Facebook and Twitter about how great their new jobs are and you’re on the couch watching Friends for the 40th time and wondering if you’ll ever have money again.
In all seriousness, the two things that kill my mood and self-esteem the fastest are as follows
- Scrolling through job listings and feeling unqualified for all of them
- Interviewing for jobs that I AM qualified for and not getting the position.
The whole experience is awful.
On the upside, I’ve got plenty of experience being unemployed. I’ve thrown plenty of pity parties. I tend to dwell on negative things and have this truly awful habit of catastrophizing. But the truth is… it’s not the end of the world and focusing on the negatives only makes it that much harder.
So! With that in mind, here are a few things that have helped me stay positive throughout my (seemingly endless) job search:
Create a Routine
I find that my day goes so much better if I have a routine. Having a plan makes me feel more organized and therefore calmer. I like to get the actual job hunting out of the way first thing in the morning. Scrolling through job listings is the worst, and the more I put it off, the worse it gets. I’d also rather people get my resume in the morning rather than right before they’re about to leave the office for the day.
Forcing yourself to keep a routine when you don’t technically have to can be hard, especially if you like to be lazy like me, but it’s worth it. It’ll get you in the working mindset and help you to be more productive. Plus, then when you start working, it’ll be easier to get back into the swing of things!
This goes along with sticking to a routine, but actually getting dressed can make a world of difference in your mood and confidence – which is important when you’re job hunting! I kind of feel like a hypocrite typing that, because it’s a running joke that I spend more time in my PJ’s than anything else. I promise it’s still good advice, though.
Let Yourself be Disappointed, But Don’t Dwell on your Rejections
It’s okay to be let down and bummed when you don’t get a job, but don’t let it take over. There will always be more jobs, so just try to remind yourself that not getting one position gives you the chance to get an even better one. Sometimes I like to make a list of all the things I would’ve hated about the job to make myself feel better, like a long commute, too little pay, boring responsibilities, etc. A little immature? Maybe. It helps, though.
Start a Gratitude Log
Keep a list of the things you’re grateful for. You could do this every day, once a week, or just when you notice you’re starting to feel crummy. I save a space for my gratitude list in my weekly spreads in my bullet journal. It’s a quick and easy way to refocus your brain on the positives in your life!
Ask for Help
Let people look at your resume. See if any of your friends or family know of any job openings. Consider going to a temp agency. You’re not the only person to ever struggle to find a job, and there’s no shame in getting someone to help make the process just a little easier.
If your mental health has taken a big hit, don’t feel ashamed to ask for help with that, too! Sometimes you can take all the happy advice people give you and it still doesn’t help. Everyone tells you to eat right and exercise to take care of your body, but sometimes you need some help taking care of your mind as well!
Take Advantage of Your Free Time While Unemployed
The best thing that’s come out of my unemployment has been having the time to be creative and try new things! If I had gotten a job straight out of college, I don’t know that I’d be here writing this blog right now. Now’s your chance! Try learning that new language. Teach yourself how to sew. Start cooking more.
You could even use your time to improve your resume. Start learning a skill that can make you more marketable in your industry. You could also find a local business to volunteer with. There are a million things you could do, so just do something! You might miss the free time when you’re back at work.
Whether you graduated and are job hunting like me or you’re in between jobs, it can be hard when you’re no longer around people every single day. Reach out to your friends, make plans and be social. Get out of the house, even if it’s just to go sit in a coffee shop while you apply for jobs. Being around other human beings is super important your mental health. No one likes feeling isolated.
Get Creative to Find a New Source of Income
Sell some of your stuff online. If you have a skill, you can teach it on Skillshare. Start a blog. Make a Youtube channel. Become a Tutor. Be a virtual assistant or try transcription from home. Drive for Uber (I so wish I could do this). It might not be the best paycheck, but every little bit helps. Sometimes you have to get a little creative, but there’s always a way to make a little bit of cash. Don’t tell yourself that you’re doomed, just start trying things and see what works for you.
It’s so easy to just sulk and feel sorry for yourself. I know I’m way too guilty of this myself. What a waste of time, though. You could be unemployed for a week or a year and a half, so you might as well try as hard as you can to enjoy your life as it is. Job or no job. It’s definitely not always easy, but never forget that you’re not alone in the struggle!
I hope this helps you stay positive on your job search, and let me know what you do to make the waiting game less painful!