Unemployment is difficult — but not just for financial reasons. From boredom to the lack of a professional identity, a prolonged job search can wreak havoc on your sense of well-being. Finding ways to stay sane can make the process more bearable and ensure that you're mentally and physically ready to get back to work when the time comes.
Create a Schedule
When you transition from full-time work to a job search, it can be jarring to wake up with nowhere to go. A schedule can help you feel normal and stay sane. Set your alarm each morning, and resist the temptation to stay in your pajamas. Instead, shower and dress for the day. Treat the search like a job by conducting your job-hunting activities during business hours so you can hang out with friends or family in the evening. If you run out of search-related tasks, spend time working on your professional skills and learning new technologies that make you more marketable.
For some professionals, one of the biggest struggles of unemployment is the feeling like your abilities are not needed. If you're feeling adrift, find purpose by volunteering your skills to help someone in need. Spend part of your day volunteering at your child's school, or find a local non-profit that needs daytime help. If possible, use your professional skills to help a worthwhile organization. A writer might offer to write grants for a church, while a marketing executive could offer to publicize a fundraising event for a local shelter. The simple act of contributing your time and talent can make it easier to stay sane and feel positive.
Make Time for Fun
The longer a period of unemployment lasts, the more difficult it can be to focus on anything else, particularly if money is tight. Help yourself stay sane by finding time to have fun. There's no need to dip into your savings to have a good time. Say yes to happy hour with former colleagues, or invite friends over for a movie night. Doing the things you love can stave off depression and distract you from the job hunt.
Find Professional Support
Your professional network is a valuable asset while you're looking for a job, but not just for potential leads. Chances are, many of the people in your circle have been through the same thing. When you're finding it difficult to stay sane, turn to them for support. Ask for tips on how to boost your search efforts or structure your work-free days. In the process, you're likely to get great advice, build stronger relationships and potentially learn about new job opportunities.
Hunting for a job can be a stressful experience. By taking care of your personal and professional affairs, you can stay sane and emerge from the search feeling confident and capable.
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