Being out of work is a stressful time. Unemployment checks may only be a fraction of your regular earnings, and you might blow through your savings account trying to make ends meet. Understandably, you have every reason to feel scared, frustrated and angry. However, it’s important to learn ways to deal with your feelings. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but a positive attitude keeps you motivated.
Here are ten ways to deal with your feelings while out of work.
1. Maintain a Routine
Instead of lying around the house feeling sorry for yourself, maintain a daily routine. Get up in the mornings, get dressed and stay busy throughout the day. When you’re not searching for a job or interviewing, complete projects around the house or explore hobbies. If your mind’s occupied, there’s less time to focus on your problems.
2. Get Physically Active
Make good use of your free time and start an exercise routine. Not only can you lose a few pounds and get into better shape, exercise increases your brain’s production of endorphins — brain chemicals that improve moods and emotions. If you feel better physically and mentally, it’ll be easier to deal with the stress of finding a new job.
3. Keep a Journal
Don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside or else you might explode or lash out. Talk to friends or family if you can or start a journal. Writing about your feelings can be therapeutic. You can release your frustrations, and journaling helps you understand your own thoughts and behaviors about the situation.
4. Don't Keep Your Job Loss a Secret
There’s no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed after a job loss – it happens to even the best employees. You don’t have to announce to the world that you lost your job, but if you’re having a private conversation with a relative, friend or neighbor, casually mention that you’re looking for work. This person might know about opportunities that match your skills.
5. Attend a Support Group
It might come as a surprise, but there are support groups for the unemployed. If you’re frustrated or depressed, it might help to speak with people going through similar situations. It’s also comforting to know you’re not alone. You can find these support groups online, or search online for groups in your local area.
Working one-on-one with a career counselor is also helpful. A counselor can help improve your résumé, cover letter and your interview skills, which can boost your odds of getting an interview and a job offer.
6. Focus on the Hidden Benefits
After losing a job, you might have to sacrifice a lot to keep a roof over your head. But rather than focus on the negative, look for any hidden benefits of unemployment. For example, you might be able to spend more time with your children, perhaps volunteering at their schools or accompanying them on field trips. Or maybe your last position was extremely stressful, and for the first time in years you feel refreshed.
7. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Don’t rely on drugs or alcohol to numb the pain or make you feel better. It might take away your stress, but this is only a temporary fix and any feelings of depression or anxiety will return. Using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate can become a vicious cycle leading to substance abuse problems.
8. Avoid Negative People
If you’re trying to deal with your emotions while looking for work, avoid negative people. Whether they’re speaking negative about themselves or you, these people can suck the life out of you and drain your energy. You don’t need a pity party; you need someone who will offer encouragement and support.
9. Don't Create New Expenses
Don’t complicate your financial life by adding new expenses. With less income coming in, it can be challenging to adjust your lifestyle. But this is absolutely necessary. This isn’t the time to pull out the credit card and go on a shopping spree or take a vacation to lift your spirits. This only creates more stress for yourself.
10. Help Others
Take your mind off your problems by helping other people. This can include helping an elderly neighbor around the house or volunteering with a local organization. Assisting others not only keeps you busy – it keeps your life in perspective. Your situation might be stressful, but some people deal with bigger issues.
Staying busy and a positive outlook are key to dealing with a job loss. The right frame of mind can motivate you, and it’s one of the best ways of dealing with stress and disappointments.
How have you dealt with your feelings while out of work? Let us know in the comments section below!