Six Ways to Beat the Unemployment Blues

Posted by in Career Advice

Another day dawns, and if you’re unemployed, it just keeps getting harder and harder to bounce out of bed and face the day. While you linger just a little while longer, the sounds of doors slamming and cars backing out of driveways out on the street remind you that the rest of the world is waking up and heading to work. Oh, how you would gladly trade a little extra sleep for another crack at the “daily grind”!

Regardless of how long you’ve been at it, searching for a job can be frustrating--filled with hope one minute and disappointment the next. You can send out tens or hundreds of resumes, enlist friends to walk yours to their company’s HR department or a hiring manager with little or no result. After a few months, the tendency to just pull the covers over your head and bag the job search for the day gets easier and less stressful. Here are six ways to beat the unemployment blues:

1. Live in the moment. No sense re-reading the “no-thank-you” letter you got yesterday. Each moment is full of possibility. Only a second separates your life as unemployed with no prospects from a phone call, e-mail or text from a prospective employer. Instead of focusing on what isn’t happening, live expectantly with what might happen any minute.

2. Plan activities that get you out of the house. If you don’t have any interviews one day, take a drive to the beach and enjoy a day out. Go fishing. Do something you always wished you could do during the week but couldn’t because you were working.

3. Spend the day at a bookstore or library, reading the latest motivational, job search or self-improvement books. You may come across one thing that will energize and inspire you, or offer a tip to help improve your resume or interview skills.

4. Go through the Sunday paper and highlight every free networking event, community gathering, gallery opening or other opportunity to meet new people. Many churches, colleges, and community groups have free concerts or lectures. Fill your calendar with fun events that offer the best opportunity or are of greatest interest to you.

5. Learn something new. The Internet is full of free information, webinars, white papers, instructional videos, and “how-to’s” on just about every subject imaginable. Search out the latest thing in your profession or industry and become as knowledgeable as you can.

6. Have some fun. A friend who was unemployed decided to enter every online sweepstakes and contest that she could while she was unemployed. It didn’t take the place of her job search, just provided her a little excitement when she checked her entries at the end of each day. It was a mindless diversion that netted her a Kitchen Aid Blender, some children’s books and lots of laundry detergent until she landed a management job with a major retailer.

What has worked for you? I’d love to hear your blues-fighting strategies in the comments section.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a consultant, blogger, motivational speaker and freelance writer for Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in Training magazine, Training & Development magazine, Supervision, BiS Magazine and The Savannah Morning News. When she’s not writing, she enjoys singing Alto II with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and helping clients reinvent their careers for today’s job market. You can read more of her blogs at and view additional job postings on Nexxt.

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