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How to Mentally Cope with Unemployment

Posted 03-18-2014 05:51 PM by ChristaIB
Updated 03-19-2014 04:23 PM by ChristaIB

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The economy imploded in 2008, and with it went the job market. By the end of that year, the unemployment rate was over 8 percent and thousands of people were out of work. As of January 2014, the unemployment rate has dropped to 6.6 percent, but there are still thousands without jobs; many of whom have been unemployed for more than a year. To make matters worse, employers have shown that they are reluctant to hire the long-term unemployed, and congress has voted not to extend unemployment benefits for those people.

With the current climate the way it is, itís very difficult to remain positive, especially if you have people depending on you. The stress of being unemployed can lead to anxiety, depression and, for some, addiction. So how do you mentally cope in such overwhelming circumstances?

Join a Support Group

Losing a job can cause a lot of emotional turmoil because your job may be your identity, and you could have built friendships with your coworkers. Also, you are now faced with the difficult task of finding new work, while competing with hundreds of other applicants, and dealing with uncertainty about your financial future. Meanwhile, your friends and family might not understand what youíre going through, and could be putting more pressure on you to find work.

Joining a support group gives you the opportunity meet with other people in the same boat, who will understand what you are going through. You can give each other mutual support, share ideas for finding work, and even discover new business opportunities.

Meeting with other people will also get your out of your house, and out of your own head, so that you donít feel isolated or hopeless.

Keep a Routine

It might be tempting to sleep in and spend the day watching television, especially if you are depressed. Conversely, you may feel the urge to spend every waking moment sending out resumes and filling out applications. Itís actually better to keep a daily routine, just as you would if you had to go to a job every day. You should get up at the same time every morning; eat your meals on a schedule, and even schedule work times, as well as times for rest and play. Doing so will give you a much-needed sense of structure and stability.

Get Some Exercise

Moving around and setting fitness goals can help you relieve stress and nervous energy. There are plenty of exercise activities that you can do for free, so that you donít have to pay for a gym membership, including:
  • Borrowing free exercise videos and DVDs from the library. Some public libraries even offer video streaming services.
  • Walking around your neighborhood, at the mall, or around the track at a nearby college or high school
  • Attending free yoga classes, or getting a free trial membership. Check with studios and gyms in your area for possible classes and specials
  • Joining your community recreation center. Some recreation centers have swimming facilities, gym equipment, and may also offer fitness classes. Your state recreation commission could also offer memberships to state parks with indoor and outdoor exercise facilities. Some facilities may also offer childcare.

Keep Your Family in the Loop

You may feel that discussing your work situation with your family would be a burden. In truth, keeping your family in the loop about your job search helps them feel included, and you will feel less isolated. Keeping your family posted will also help them better understand what you are going through.

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