In our society, where value is tied to productivity, being unemployed can be an extremely emotionally taxing and draining experience. The longer it drags on, the worse it can get. If you’re dealing with just a short period of unemployment, it can feel like an extended vacation. But the longer it lasts, the more it begins to weigh on your self-esteem and sense of worth.

Unfortunately, this can make it even more challenging to find work. When you feel down it is even more difficult to put forth the effort needed to find and apply to jobs. We’ve put together some top tips to help you keep your sanity while you look for your next right fit. 

Find Ways to Stay Busy

It might seem counterintuitive, but it is actually easier to get stuff done when you have more going on. So even though you’re not working a 40 hour work week, if you can find activities and ways to block out your time, you may find that you are actually more productive overall. Finding time to exercise or take classes that you find intellectually enriching can help you feel useful and engaged. These types of activities can also be energizing, so even though you’re busy, you may find that you have more energy to put into your job search. 

Go to Networking Events

The fact is, knowing people who work in the industry is still the best way to get a job interview. So, find networking events in your area that are related to what you want to be doing, and start expanding your network. This is doubly true if you are trying to shift industries and have very few connections in your target role.

Networking events are also a great reason to get out of the house, talk to people, and feel like you are taking steps in a positive direction. You never know who you might meet that will lead to something positive.

Stick to a Schedule

This one is hard, but it can be very helpful to maintain a schedule while you’re unemployed. While it’s tempting to sleep in until noon every day, it will most likely make you feel worse in the long run.

Getting up earlier so you can get stuff done during the day while everyone else is at work will allow you to keep your evenings free. This way you can still socialize or pursue your interests in the evenings, instead of feeling tied to your computer 100% of the time. For some people, blocking out chunks of time each day can be really helpful in getting tasks done. 

Don’t be Afraid to Tell People You’re Looking for Work

Unemployment is often stigmatized, but if you share that you’re looking for work, you might be surprised at the help you receive! Even if your friends and family don’t work in your industry, they might just know someone who does. And having people in your corner can make you feel a lot less alone throughout the whole process. It’s also helpful to be honest about what’s going on in your life.  Talking about it with loved ones can be very cathartic, and open you up to more opportunities. 

Also read: When You Should Apply for a Job Even If You Don’t Meet the Minimum Requirements

Avoid mental games

The truth is, being unemployed can play cruel games on your self-confidence. We want to remind you that everyone faces times of unemployment at some point in their life. What really matters is what you choose to do with this time. In our opinion, the more you self-educate and go after the right types of jobs, the more reason you have to believe in yourself. Keep in mind that rejections happen to anyone and you’re most likely going to feel a few during your search. Don’t let them get you down. One of the great things we do here at Scouted is offer resume and interview coaching. So if you’re feeling nervous before your next interview with one of our partner companies, give us a call and we’d be happy to help you get an idea of what to expect.

Get a Part-Time Job

Even if you’ve been able to rack up some savings, after a few months of unemployment you may find yourself needing a way to earn an interim income.

Getting a part-time job that provides some influx of cash can take a lot of the pressure off of your job hunt. You don’t want to be put in a position where you feel like you have to take the first thing that comes along. A part-time job will also provide some more structure to your days and keep you busier! With the amount of freelance and independent contractor work available, a part-time job could even be something that you do right from your computer. 

Have Some Fun

Don’t be afraid to enjoy your time! While it can be scary if funds are low, free time is a luxury that we don’t often have in our busy lives. When you’re employed full time, it can feel like you have precious time to yourself. Make sure to enjoy the days while you can, because this period of unemployment will end! (We swear). Take a vacation, go on long walks, take yourself to movies, do whatever brings you joy. It will help break up the days and break you out of your unemployment slump. And all of this will ultimately make you a better candidate! It is great to have things to talk about during interviews, even if you haven’t been working for a few months.

Long periods of unemployment can be extremely difficult and it’s hard to know how to cope. There’s no perfect formula, and different tactics will work for everyone in different ways, but we hope that some of these tips will help you get through your phase of unemployment. Best of luck and happy searching!