I have seen this topic on several online discussion groups I belong to so I thought I would take a few minutes and add my two cents.
Staying positive during any stressful time in life is difficult. There are so many stressful aspects of being out of work. Not having enough money is probably at the top of the list. Many people live paycheck to paycheck so when the paychecks stop, there are a lot of expenses that just go unpaid. There is just so much you can do to cut back. Living a spartan lifestyle while working and then losing that job is something that is hard to deal with. Unemployment benefits are usually only 1/2 of a worker’s regular income up to a maximum that differs state by state. One problem with collecting those benefits is that if you pick up anything on the side it has to be reported. This negates the added income so it ends up being a waste of time. This discourages people from even looking for anything unless the pay makes it truly worthwhile.
Another thing stressful about being out of work is the strain it puts on family members. The do without the smallest of extras that are usually no big deal. I know my wife tries to all she can to make up the difference so she works extra hours at her 2nd job. It bothers me that she has to work this hard and I feel like I am contributing nothing.
This leads to my last area and probably the hardest to deal with. Many people, especially men have a much lower self-worth when they are out of work. If you define yourself by the work that you do then this is especially problematic. I know myself that I am prone to a pity party of one if I am not careful.
So what do you do about it? Well I read about the usual stuff and sometimes feel that little of it applies to me. So I have learned to find what works for me and then develop the discipline to do it regularly.
Make time to do what you enjoy everyday. Regardless what people say, there isn’t enough things to do during a job search that it takes up all your day. Once you get organized the job search takes from 1-5 hours daily. So take some time to go for a walk. I live out in the country with woods in back of my house. A walk up the trail is fresh air, good exercise, peaceful and very relaxing. It clears my head, helps me to think and I can enjoy the beauty of nature regardless of the season. Doesn’t get any better than that.
Listening to music or watching a good movie is priceless. My favorites are classic rock, older country with some jazzy soul for good measure. My movies are comedies and action films. Can anyone be sad, mad or bad when they are laughing?
I have found that it is a bad thing to isolate yourself when unemployed. Seek out friends and family and do the things that you normally would. Life doesn’t have to change just because you lost your job.
Listen to or watch positive, inspiring and motivational people. Some of my favorites are Zig Ziglar, Les Brown and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Their time-honored wisdom and enthusiasm really is catchy. Remember what Zig said,
“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Helping people. It takes your mind off you and your troubles when you do something for others. A wise man once said,” Service to others is the rent we pay for taking up space here on earth. Let us NEVER fall behind on our rent”.
These are just a few suggestions. Find what works for you and stick with it. Being unemployed is just temporary. Don’t let it define you. Let how you handle it define you.
Have a great day