Maximize Your Time While Unemployed
We all know that work-related stress can take a toll on our mind and body, but did you know that being unemployed can have even greater effects on your psychology and physiology?
When you’re out of work, it’s easy to feel the symptoms of anxiousness, high stress, and depression from time to time, especially when you’ve been recently laid off. In fact, research from the APA (American Psychological Association) says it even affects our openness to new people and new experiences, which can in turn affect our job search, leading to a difficult cycle at an already difficult time.
Fortunately, there are simple ways you can combat the mental fatigue and the side effects of unemployment, that will not only protect you personally, but help you maximize your professional development at the same time!
Organize your time online
There’s really no debate that the internet is your friend when it comes to looking for a job. The University of Colorado Denver performed a conclusive study showing that job seekers who use the internet spend 25% less time between jobs.
A problem arises though, with the fact that the internet is also a dangerous time eater for a busy individual. In order to prevent yourself from feeling too disorganized, and becoming unproductive, we recommend setting a strict schedule for doing your job search tasks online. Stick to the schedule as though it is part of your job, because right now: it is!
If you find it too difficult to focus online, try setting up a different email for work-related items, so you aren’t distracted by personal messages during your allotted job search times. Or consider using “zenware”, different types of software designed to provide clean, focused interfaces that can block less-productive sites during search hours.
Make mental health your business
The best thing about maintaining mental wellness during unemployment is that it requires the same simple steps that you probably already had in your routine, with the added benefit of being able to fit them into your schedule a lot more easily!
Were you skipping the gym too much after work? Make it part of your regular routine again! Did you find it difficult to practice mindfulness through yoga or meditation when you had deadlines looming at the office? Now’s your chance to get reacquainted with yourself!
Even easy things like taking a short walk through nature, meeting up with friends for a chat, or cleaning your home can have exponential benefits to your mental wellbeing. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for support, and if you feel overwhelmed even while taking care of yourself, talk to a therapist to learn more about what might help you, specifically.
Line up your finances
Not everyone has a comfortable amount of rainy day money tucked aside, but keen fiscal planning means that you can keep yourself afloat even if it starts flooding!
Take stock of your incoming and outgoing payments, as well as the dates and times when each payment is expected. If you find that, as the belt tightens, you need to ask for leeway on your bills, then ask! Many organizations allow some flexibility with your payments, especially if you’ve been diligent until now (and during the pandemic, this is even more true).
If you haven’t already, make a spreadsheet of your expenses, or find a free template online to help you track your money. Avoid easy outs like high-interest short-term loans, and talk to a financial advisor if things start to seem unmanageable.
Develop your skills portfolio
While you may not be able to work for someone else right now, you can surely work on yourself!
Take time to consider where you want to be; is this the time that you finally try to break into that new industry you’re excited about? Look at the skill sets of professionals in the industry you want to work at and investigate how you get there.
Are there online courses you can take? Is there a certification you need? What about brushing up on some skills you haven’t had to use in some time, or that you might be able to improve upon?
Step one to building your skills is researching what you need. Step two is finding out how to learn/develop them. And step three is following the roadmap to success that you just laid out for yourself!
Unemployment often comes as a major life change. But with a solid set of guiding principles to how you approach it, it can be a positive one instead of a negative one!