Suggestions to ‘keep your spirits up’ aren’t always appreciated when unemployed, as evidenced by comments from readers of The Wall Street Journal.
It’s the sort of advice that makes a job seeker want to pop the Pollyanna suggesting it in the face. Well, Pollyanna isn’t speaking here, so keep your fists down. Here are some practical ideas for positive things to do while looking for work.
Get Moving Out of Your Pothole
Unexpected unemployment is a big pothole that can give you an emotional flat tire. To get rolling again and keep your spirits somewhere between up and down, it helps to maintain a work-type schedule and make room for pleasant free-time activities during your day.
In short, job search from 9 to 5. Then take time off to run, walk, swim, garden, go roller skating or do whatever healthy activity will get you up and moving. The chemical endorphins this sends shooting through your body will make it easier to keep moving forward instead of downward. The WebMD website notes that endorphins ‘trigger a positive feeling in the body’ and encourage a sense of self-esteem.
If you have some favorite hobbies and pastimes that are inexpensive — such as bird watching, woodworking or crafting – find some time for them as well.
Another consideration when trying to stay mentally and physically healthy is to maintain a regular schedule of balanced meals, U.S. News says.
Attend to Necessities
If you can’t afford the total monthly bill for your group medical insurance — something that is usually available upon unemployment through a program called COBRA — purchase less expensive, but temporary, insurance. This can sometimes be done state-by-state. For instance, you can sign up for temporary health insurance in Colorado that will help you worry less about the cost of doctor visits and hospital stays.
If unemployment benefits are available to you, U.S News stresses filing for them immediately even if you think you will find a new job quickly. It may take longer than you expect to get back to work. Often, you can file online even if you have to use a computer at a local library.
Set a Work-Day Schedule
You can improve your odds of finding a job, if you treat the process as if it were employment itself. Set a daily schedule for job hunting, improving your resume and networking through social sites. Research and enroll in career-related classes. Local government work centers may be able to provide grants. Then build the classes into your workday.
If you enjoy writing and sharing your work-related knowledge, consider writing for online publishers that pay for articles or post for free on social media sites, such as Quora, where you can develop a reputation for being an expert in your subject area. This kind of activity may lead you to an employer or help you demonstrate in a job interview how you are staying current in your field.
Gain Experience and Good Vibes by Volunteering
Another way to stay current in your field or to gain new work experience is to volunteer. Even if volunteer experience isn’t work related, it can say good things about you to a prospective employer.
In a March 2012 article, Forbes magazine reported on what hiring managers consider valuable activities to pursue when unemployed. 60 percent cited volunteer work experience as making a job seeker more marketable, because it can demonstrate passion, character and integrity.
Also, as anyone who volunteers regularly can tell you, doing something positive for someone else makes you think less negatively about yourself and your problems. You gain when you give.
So don’t let yourself get so down. Get out there, keep moving and stay practical. You’ll find that these tips will help you stay focused as you find your next career adventure.