Career Advice, Jobs

5 Ways to Maintain Your Sanity When You’re Out of Work

Tired, bored young woman watching clothes dryer in laundromat

Whether you quit your job without another one lined up or got laid off unexpectedly, being out of work is a tough pill to swallow. Not only can it constitute a major financial strain, but it can also wreck your self-esteem and send your stress levels skyrocketing. If you’re without a job, here are a few things you can do to make the situation more manageable while you look for work.

1. Focus on Building Your Skills

Not having a job to report to gives you a prime opportunity to invest some time into boosting your skills, so if there’s a course you’ve always wanted to take or a certification you’ve been meaning to pursue, now’s your chance to get it done. Taking steps to further your career will help you make good use of your time while you’re unemployed, and it’ll also make for a more appealing resume to aid in your job search.

2. Get Out of the House

Being cooped up at home looking for work can get depressing when you’ve been at it for a while. So rather than hibernate inside with your laptop, get mobile. Set up shop at a local coffeehouse, or plant yourself on a park bench for several hours while you work on cover letters. Being out and about will make for a less isolating experience, and that’ll help keep you motivated when your search is getting you down.

3. Keep Networking

Sometimes, getting a job isn’t about what you know, but who you know. Even if you’re not in a great place mentally as a result of being out of work, you should still make an effort to meet your old associates for lunch and pick up the phone to call those business contacts you haven’t spoken to in quite some time. You never know when someone in your network might have an opening that’s perfect for you, so even if your self-esteem has been taking a beating, it pays to push yourself to be as social and communicative as possible.

4. Volunteer

When you’re stuck in a jobless situation, and your search is going nowhere, it’s easy enough to hit a low. So, why not spend some of your newfound time helping others? Volunteering is a great way to occupy your days in a meaningful fashion and feel good about yourself in the process. And as an added bonus, the volunteer work you do might make a great addition to your resume, thereby increasing your chances of getting hired.

5. Try Monetizing a Hobby

Maybe you’d rather not take a part-time job because you want the flexibility to go on interviews and focus on landing a permanent role. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be your own boss while you look for work. If there’s a hobby you enjoy with money-making potential, you might as well take the opportunity to earn a little side cash. Having that extra money will relieve some of the anxiety you might be experiencing as a result of missing your steady paycheck, which will help make your jobless period less painful on a whole.

Being out of work isn’t easy, so be kind to yourself when you land in that situation. Remember, you’re going to find a job eventually, and until you do, you might as well make the most of the free time you have on your hands, even though you’d rather not have it in the first place.

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This article was originally published on The Motley Fool. It is reprinted with permission.

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