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Unemployment Blues: Staying Active

Unemployment is depressing: financial pressures stress you out, looking for work is humiliating, and your fragile self-confidence reels under the blows of indifference and rejection.

It becomes harder to get up in the morning, to take care of yourself, to be supportive and loving to those around you, to swing energetically into job search activities.

Here are 7 tips on beating those I-want-to-get-a-job-but-nobody-wants-me blues.

1. Create a schedule for your week: 5 hours per day (maximum) of looking for work, 2 hours per day (minimum) of relaxing, having fun with others, and appreciating yourself.

2. Act as if you are still working: get up at your usual time, shower, have your regular breakfast – it will maintain your sense of sense and provide the familiarity of routine and structure in a world in which you are feeling increasingly alienated.

3. Get out of the house. Employers don’t make house calls so circulate. Surfing the net for job leads may make you feel as if you are accomplishing something but is often only a means of escape. By all means, post your resume anywhere you can, but then hit the road.

4. Actively nurture your relationships. Avoid letting your misery and self-reproach poison your interactions with those who love you and want to help. Recognize that your loved ones may also be in distress and take the time to go somewhere and do something with family and friends.

5. List your abilities, skills, and positive personal characteristics on a piece of paper. Write down your past successes and triumphs, however small. Read the list daily to remind yourself of your value. Add to the list as you recall other positive qualities.

6. Remind yourself of the realities of the labor market -that most of us will change jobs dozens of times in our working life and many change actual careers several times. Being out of work does not mean that there is something wrong with you, just that it is now your turn to go through this upheaval. Next time it may be your spouse or friend -it is part of the human condition in 21st corporate America.

7. Be kind to yourself. Your self-confidence, self-esteem and self-regard have all been hit with a steel boot. Actively look at yourself with the eyes of a concerned friend and give yourself the support, sympathy, and goodwill that you would extend to anyone you love who had suffered the same fate.

Practice these techniques for a few weeks to help yourself cope more positively with your seriously uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking situation.

A Licensed Psychologist and Rehabilitation Counselor, Dr. Bola developed emotional coping strategies and job search skills for clients and has served as a recognized Vocational Expert in court. Visit her at:

Image taken on 2009-02-19 11:35:48. Image Source. (Used with permission)

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