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How to Beat the Unemployment Blues


Rusty is a writer, proofreader, editor, and designer living along Lake Michigan's coast with her supportive, nerdy husband.

Has reading the want-ads over and over got you down?

Has reading the want-ads over and over got you down?

Where's My Guitar? I wanna Sing the Blues!

You’re unemployed and struggling to find a job or even obtain an interview. With each passing day that your phone doesn’t ring, you retreat into yourself even more. If you’re not careful, you could slip into a depression, wondering how the heck you got to a point like this in your life.

Perhaps you spent major bucks on furthering your education after high school and now wonder if you wasted your time and money because it’s not paying off in the end. Maybe you’re a student right out of high school who decided to skip college and jump into a career. You might even be a retiree whose pension check is stretched too thin. It doesn’t matter who you are—unemployment can really stink. It’s important to not beat yourself up over this setback in your life. We have to keep faith that things will turn around and that your phone will suddenly blow up with calls and messages.

You probably spend most of your days staring at the classifieds and scrolling down Internet job sites, but you can only do so much in a day (the job notices generally don’t change by the hour). After your obligatory job hunt is over, what do you do with the rest of your day? Specifically, what can you do that takes your mind off the fact that you are unemployed?

Here are a few suggestions.

1. Volunteer

This suggestion is close to my heart. I volunteer at a free health clinic in my hometown and I feel good every time I step through those doors. Being unemployed means that I am without health insurance, and when I saw the story in the paper about a free health clinic opening in my city, I immediately sent the coordinator an e-mail thanking her and everyone involved for their willingness to open a clinic in our community and offering my services as a volunteer.

I explained that I wasn’t a nurse or doctor and that I didn’t have experience in a medical setting, but that I was willing to make coffee and empty garbage cans if it meant that I could help out an organization that was doing something so wonderful for our community. They accepted me with open arms, and I now perform receptionist duties there and really enjoy it. It’s a wonderful feeling to be part of something bigger than myself. Having the opportunity to give back to my community, especially with something as crucial as healthcare, makes me feel good.

Personal feelings aside, volunteering can also be a great networking tool for you during your job hunt. If you’re struggling to find a job, you can contact a company in your desired field and ask if they are looking for volunteers or unpaid interns. Many companies promote from within, and if you can manage to get your foot in the door, even if it means fetching coffee or cleaning the kitchenette, it could be the best decision you’ve made.

2. Join a Club

If you’re looking for something fun (and potentially productive) to do while you’re unemployed, I suggest joining a club. It can be any kind of club so long as it’s not illegal (I don’t condone illegal activity, but if you do join a club that others might look down upon, remember the first rule: don’t talk about said club).

I joined a friend’s writing club and I must admit that I am enjoying it. It’s great to be able to discuss writing with other like-minded people after graduation. The writing club is actually planning to expand into a book club as well, and I am really looking forward to that. So, if you find yourself bored with watching TV and surfing the Internet, try looking for a club dedicated to something you love. Not only will it be a great way to pass the time, but it will also give you something to look forward to. Being a club member is an opportunity to make new friends (and potential job connections, now that I think about it).

3. Find a Hobby

This is a great way to divert your mind away from the unpleasantness of unemployment. Maybe you’re an artist who loves to paint, but you never had time before when you worked a full schedule. Maybe you own a guitar, but you never really learned how to play more than a few chords. Maybe you’re a writer who never had a hard enough shove to get you going.

Whatever your hobby is, being unemployed allows you to finally spend time doing what you love. Without the stress of a rigorous work schedule, you are able to really nurture your hobby of choice, and maybe that extra time spent honing those skills will lead you down an entirely different career path. The possibilities are endless (well, almost endless—hobbies can be expensive if you don’t already own all the materials needed to get started).

Some hobbies even have the potential of making you a little bit of cash. Writing and photography are two good examples. By submitting your work to websites like Hubpages or iStockPhoto.com, you have the opportunity to turn your hobby into profit. Being unemployed, while incredibly frustrating, can be a blessing in disguise. You can finally start planting that garden you’ve been talking about or visit with your family more often. You could even get started writing that next bestselling children’s book that you have lurking in your mind.

4. Get Healthy

What better gift could unemployment give you than time? Being unemployed allows you to make use of all that leisure time by looking after your health. Maybe you’ve been hoping to shed some extra pounds, or perhaps you just want to make sure that you maintain your awesome bod while you’re surrounded by nothing but the kitchen cupboards and your television.

Being jobless gives you extra time during the week, and that means that you can get out there and go for a walk (weather permitting) or dust off the treadmill that sits in the corner holding onto your blankets and jackets. You can’t go wrong when you take an interest in your personal health. So put down the nachos, turn on the treadmill, and try not to fall off (on a related note, start out slow, and don’t forget to stretch before any workout).

5. Clean Your House

it's not my favorite option to beat the blues, but cleaning is a great way to be productive while you’re unemployed. Cleaning is a great way to see the fruits of your labor. The harder you scrub, the brighter your kitchen and bathroom will shine. It’s always nice to have a clean home, especially when you’re stuck there day after day checking the classifieds.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


C Levrow (author) from Michigan on November 02, 2011:

Thank you for your comment, Leslie! Good luck on your employment journey! :)

Leslie Jo Barra on November 02, 2011:

Great suggestions with such a positive attitude. After taking some time off to raise my little ones, I am looking with trepidation to reenter the work force. Thank you for sharing.

C Levrow (author) from Michigan on March 21, 2011:

MT, LillyGrillzit, and fucsia - Thank you each for your comments! I really appreciate you stopping by. :) It is important to maintain (or try to maintain) a positive attitude during hard times. I figure as long as my husband and I are both healthy then I can greet the day with a better attitude.

fucsia on March 21, 2011:

Surely your positive words can help someone in trouble and to all to understand that be sad is useless, we must act!

Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on March 21, 2011:

Thank you for this encouraging Hub. Things will get better, you have a great attitude. Reaching out to help others who are struggling, will always make life richer. Thanks for sharing and driving away the blues.

M. T. Dremer from United States on March 01, 2011:

There is definitely a sense of cabin fever when you are unemployed. We don't always realize it, but we need human contact and a task to do on a regular basis. We need to have a sense of accomplishment that fills us with pride when we finish. Not to mention it gets your mind off the job hunt which can be brutal and unforgiving. Great suggestions for fixing it! I also hope this hub gets lots of traffic. ;)

C Levrow (author) from Michigan on February 27, 2011:

ahostagesituation- Thank you! I really enjoyed writing this hub. I know that people can usually come up with their own solutions to feeling sad, but sometimes we forget that there are other people going through the same stuff. I'm hoping that those who find themselves struggling through the "darker" times find this hub and know that they aren't the only ones. :)

Mrs Roussou on February 27, 2011:

I LOVE when people take a bad situation and find positive ways to deal with it. Takes a lot of heart, and this is awesome. My favorite here are your notes on volunteering. For some reason, getting volunteering in your own community or surrounding can be a wonderful way to put things into perspective. Cleaning the house...my very last resort in dealing with anything, but you're right it does ;-). It's something immediate that you can change when you feel powerless. I think this is excellent, I hope this hub gets a lot of traffic. Many could use this right now. Great job!

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