No matter where we are in life, I think most of us can say we’ve been unemployed at one time in our lives or another. Last year around this time I was a ball of nerves. I had just graduated college, I moved back home, I had very little money and I was awaiting an answer from the one interview I had landed right before graduation. I had a really good feeling I had the job but the anxiety of waiting around was slowly killing me. I ended up getting the job after they took a month to give me an answer and after the relief hit I couldn’t help but feel regret for how I had spent the month off. I’ve changed so much within the last year and today I thought I would share my tips for how to actually enjoy your time off and be productive when you’re out of a job.
- Have a routine: I can’t stress this one enough! Sleeping in, eating junk and wallowing in self pity is not going to help you land your next job or keep anxiety at bay. I recommend getting up around the same time you would when you were employed. Getting up early is an important part of feeling like you have your life together and it will set you up for a productive day. Eat a healthy breakfast, exercise and set a routine for your day so that you’re occupied and not wasting time.
- Exercise: As I mentioned above, exercise is something that should be a part of your routine especially since many people with jobs fall short in this area because they lack time and energy. It doesn’t have to take long and I recommend getting it done in the beginning of the day. Working out will make you happy, it will make you feel productive and it will allow you to keep your mind off of the worry you may be feeling from not having a job.
- Get ready for the day: Staying in your pajamas all day is one of the perks of being unemployed! However, it can make you feel lousy and unproductive. Putting yourself together (even if it’s just throwing your hair into a ponytail and changing into yoga pants) can really enhance your mood and will make you feel like you’re still a part of society.
- Set goals and make plans: Don’t throw out that planner! You still need it. Wake up and write down your goals for the day. Do you want to pursue that side business you’ve been dreaming of? Is there a blog post you’ve been meaning to write? How many jobs will you apply to today? Write it all down and make it happen.
- Get outside: Even if it’s sitting on your front porch for awhile or running to a convenience store, try to get outside at least once a day. The sunshine is good for you and looking at nature helps put things into perspective. Life really is beautiful if you can see it that way.
- Guard your mental health: If you know you’re anxiety or depression prone, guard your mind. Unemployment involves many things which can cause these issues to flare up for people who are prone to them. Know that and be prepared to guard your mind against them. Whether that means meditation, yoga, talking to your therapist or writing in a journal, have an arsenal ready and try to keep these things away before they become a bigger problem.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: I feel funny writing this since we’re so close to Easter but seriously don’t rely on that one job you think you’re going to get or that one opportunity. Try different things, apply to many jobs, and try to find what will make you happiest. You don’t have to settle just because you’re unemployed. Put yourself out there and set yourself up for many amazing opportunities that way when it comes time to choose you’ll have options.
I hope this list helps some of you! If you’re unemployed right now I just want you to know that you are going to be okay. There are some amazing opportunities out there and with the internet there are so many ways to make a living and more importantly build an amazing career. Try new things and believe you can! I wish you all the best of luck.