By Evelyn Guy
Okay, so you are unemployed. You are devastated, thinking there is no way to survive unemployment. You were barely surviving while you were employed, so how can you expect to survive with no job? You may have been in your present career for years and years. You don’t want to change. Or, maybe you’re just getting started in that career. Now, you have no job. You can’t establish your career without a job.
You can survive! It is not easy. It isn’t something you desire to have to do. But, using these tips you can survive unemployment, and maybe even come out on top after it is all over. Expect the down times, the depression, the frustration, and yes, the fear. But don’t let them rule your life. You can experience them and move on to a more profitable position.
Take a day, or a couple of days, to mourn, to bemoan your fate, to sleep in late, or whatever you feel like doing. But, only take a couple of days at most. You need to move on, or you will get stuck in that low state. After languishing a day or so, it is time to move on and start living the rest of your life. Life is not over.
Basically, surviving unemployment falls into three major areas. Area one, you need to find a source of some income. Area two, take care of your personal self physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And area three, keep on moving forward. Don’t give up.
Area one, finding a source of income, may be something you think is impossible. After all, you just lost your job, right. First and most importantly, file for unemployment benefits. Do this immediately. Do not think you will wait a few weeks to see if you can find something else. Let this be your very first order of business.
Look for ways to earn a few dollars. Maybe you can mow lawns, shovel snow, rake leaves, or sit with someone’s pets or children. Find something that brings in even a few dollars, if only for gas money to go looking for employment. Even if not much money is coming in, you will again be earning money. It will help you feel more valuable.
Try to find stuff to sell that you no longer need. Don’t go overboard, selling essentials that you will later regret selling. After all, you may find a job very soon. Just sell, either in a yard sale or online auctions, anything you feel you can live without. You’ll be surprised at how that category expands as you look at a period of unemployment.
Also in area one is to find ways to cut corners. Stop eating out. Cancel cable, Netflix, and extra phone service. You can survive quite well on a cell phone only. Whatever is not absolutely essential, cancel or give up. After all, it is only for a time until you get another job.
Area two, taking care of you, is vital. You can’t afford to fall apart. Yes, it hurts, and yes, the depression will come, but don’t give in to it. Yes, take that day or two to mourn, to get a grasp on just what has happened, but then get up and move on. Fight depression is all the ways that have been proven, just as exercising, eating and sleeping right, and finding an enjoyable activity or hobby. You may think you don’t have time for painting, reading, writing, working on models, or scrapbooking, whatever you enjoy. But, you need to take the time. You can’t job hunt 24/7. Find some time daily, even if only five minutes, to totally forget unemployment and its issues, and just enjoy doing something. Unclutter your house, or the garage, or burn that pile of leaves. Do anything that will make things look a little brighter. Any time spent outside can help with depression.
Talk to someone, maybe a clergy person, or a counselor, or just a trusted friend, about your feelings and fears. Face those feelings, put them in their place, and don’t let them overpower your whole life. If you need professional help, get it. It is recognized that losing a job rates on the stress list up with losing a spouse. Get help if you need to in dealing with these feelings. Don’t hide them and think you can handle it.
Don’t forget your spiritual life. Whatever higher power you believe in, lean on that now. If you are a praying person, pray often. Continue with whatever spiritual activities you are accustomed to, but increase the intensity to help through this trying time.
Area three involves just moving forward. This may be the hardest, but if you attend to the other two areas, this one will happen. Look for a new job. Use this time to examine your career goals. Maybe a new career area is in order. Maybe you need more schooling. Take the time you are receiving unemployment benefits to pursue other endeavors. Even if you want to stay in the same career, get some additional training or attend workshops to increase your employability. At least, you will be doing something to help yourself move on.
You can survive unemployment. It is not a pleasant or even comfortable position to be in when you are unemployed. But, it is not the end of the rope. You have options, you can take actions, and you are still a valuable individual. Don’t let unemployment rule your life and your actions. It is just one more difficult spot in life. You have survived other things, you can survive this. Believe in yourself to be a strong person, because you are.