What to do when you are unemployed and depressed

Regardless of whether you quit, were laid off or were fired, losing your job and being unemployed and depressed can take its toll on your self-esteem, your sense of security and your sanity. Instead of being surrounded by other dynamic adults and being productive, most people find themselves spending their days alone staring at job boards and applications on their computer. This change of routine and lack of interaction by itself can cause you to focus on the negative in your situation instead of the opportunity. Below are some tips for staying positive should you find yourself in this position.

Depression is Normal After Being Unemployed

You’ve lost something, something you spent 40 hours a week doing. Only when you acknowledge this as a loss and accept that you’re going to feel depressed, can you begin to move past it. While most people need to start looking for a new job right away, if it’s possible, give yourself some time to mourn over what you’ve lost before you throw yourself into a job search. It’s also important not to beat yourself up. Even if your termination was due to your own behavior, the best thing you can do is learn from your mistakes and move on.

"Only when you acknowledge this as a loss and accept that you’re going to feel depressed, can you begin to move past it."

Reach Out to Others for Employment Opportunities

Many people respond to a job loss by turning inwards, away from friends and family. But it’s more important than ever to reach out to others at this time. Get in touch with your friends, family and business contacts and let them know that you’ve lost your job and are looking for a new one. It really hits you when the money stops from flowing in. Make sure you give yourself a safety net and prevent overdraft fees. An emergency fund is extremely helpful during situations like these. Just about everyone has a lost a job at some point and can appreciate what you’re feeling. You’ll not only get emotional support from these people, you might also get a lead or a referral to a job. Another good step for many people is to join a professional organization. Do an online search to find groups that relate to your line of work. If you can’t find anything specific to your career, look for a group of job seekers. A group of this kind can review your resume, read your cover letters to potential employers, even help you fine-tune your interview skills.

Keep Your Family Close to Alleviate Depression

Unemployment affects your whole family. If you have children, make sure they understand that job losses happen to everyone and that you’re actively working on getting a new job. The younger the child, the easier it is for them to imagine that their actions somehow caused your termination. Teaching your kids about money will help them understand your current situation. Let them help out by taking a reduction in their allowances and deferring any large purchases. This will help them feel proactive, as though they’re contributing to the solution. It’s also important to continue to have fun. Whether it’s a game night or a picnic in the park, it’s important for everyone in your family—especially you–to be able to let go. Use your time spent with family to let off steam and forget about your job loss for a while.

Take Care of Yourself

The stress from a job loss can have a profound effect on your health. Many people in this situation report diminished appetite, insomnia, lethargy, even random aches and pains. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to your body when you go through a situation like unemployment. Naturally, you’ll want to eat a healthy diet and get enough rest and exercise, but you also might find it helpful to maintain a consistent schedule. There are great ways to save money and work out from home. While you no longer have a job to report to, keeping the same hours that you would if you were working will give you structure. This will make it easier for you to walk away from your job search and enjoy your free time come 5 o’clock.

Staying positive during a job search has its challenges. If you accept and even expect the ups and downs associated with applying and interviewing, as well as remembering to reach out to others and to take good care of yourself, you’ll be much better able to consistently put your best foot forward until you hear those lovely words, “when can you start?”

Once you have your emotions intact after losing your job, take the next steps during unemployment.

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