Unemployment can be a stressful period of time when it is unwanted. Research by the American Psychological Association has shown, for instance, that being out of the workforce has psychological implications, including the potential to affect one’s openness to new people and experiences. If you belong to the 3.6% of the US population who are unemployed, know that there are ways to protect your psychological health and even make the most of free time to grow – both professionally and personally.
Spend Time Online Fruitfully
A study by Nicole Gurtzgen et al found that the Internet does have positive advantages for job seekers. Previous research by scientists at the University of Colorado Denver came to similar conclusions; their findings showed that using the Net to job search reduced the time spent unemployed by a 25% average. It can be tempting to surf and use the Internet for entertainment, so try to stick to a strict schedule, setting aside a specific amount of time per day for finding employment opportunities.
Protect Your Mental Health
Unemployment can take its toll on your sense of well being, so be proactive when it comes to battling anxiety, stress, and other conditions. Regular physical activity, the embracing of holistic pursuits like mindfulness meditation, and time spent in nature are all scientifically proven ways of keeping stress down. Signing up for an activity you like – like aerobics, group weight training, or CrossFit at the gym – these are powerful ways to connect with others and feel like a dynamic part of something larger than yourself.
Protect Your Finances
Unemployment is a time for belt-tightening, so that much-longed-for vacation with family or other significant expense should wait until your savings are not under threat. If you need funds for necessities during unemployment, ensure you rely on trusted lenders and study terms and interest rates to ensure you get the best deal. If you have a mentor or trusted financial advisor, ask for advice regarding the suitability of a personal loan or the potential sale of assets or equities that may be necessary to get by until you are employed. Be careful about falling prey to informal companies offering quick money yet ultra-high repayment rates. By taking a good look at your finances and using apps like Mint or Goodbuget to analyze your spending, you may find that you can get by without a loan, just by cutting a few corners.
Building Your Skills Base
Unemployment is also a good time to do that online (or class-based) course you have always wanted to complete but never had the time for. Check out the Department of Labor’s training programs, in case there is one that might suit you or pertain to the industry you wish to enter. The American Job Center Network offers a host of adult employment and training activities, many of which are catered at specific jobseeker characteristics. Even a private course that can guarantee good employment prospects should be seen as a worthy investment, so you should also set a specific amount of time per day for checking out new educational and training opportunities.
Unemployment, like all major changes in life, can be stressful. During this time, it is important to stay active and to work on keeping a positive mental state. Setting aside a time of the day for job searching can help you stay focused, as can looking into further training opportunities. Obtaining part-time work in an industry you may not have previously considered can also help you see this moment as a pause in your usual working life.