How to not get down in the dumps when you can’t find a job?

Feeling down in the dumps? 

This piece is mostly for me, to remind myself on what I need to do, to avoid feeling down in the dumps. It has been very difficult trying to secure a job amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

Listed below are a few things that have helped me during this difficult period. These are actions I try to take on a regular basis. It isn’t a guide on how to find a job but more so on how to keep your mood up, your hopes up and your confidence up. I wasted a lot of days binge watching Netflix and feeling sorry for myself but these small changes have helped me become a little more productive and a lot more hopeful. 

Wake up reasonably early. I know what you’re thinking. Who in their right mind would willing choose to wake up early if they don’t have a job to go to? It’s basically unheard of, right? Sleeping in and lounging around in your bed until noon feels like the perfect thing to do when your days of setting an alarm for a 7am start are long gone.  A day or two of lazing around is perfectly fine but when it becomes a daily occurrence then you have a problem on your hands. The first change you can make is setting an alarm to get you up at a reasonable time – you don’t  need to be rising up at 7am or anything drastic but a good place to start would be aiming for a socially acceptable hour where half the day hasn’t already passed you by. I started to build a poor habit of falling asleep very late and then waking up very late the next day. I would then spend the rest of the day not doing anything which required energy and this in turn made it hard for me to sleep on time and thus the vicious cycle continued of waking up at ridiculous hours and going to bed at even more ridiculous hours. Try to make an active effort to get up fairly early and avoid screen time for at least the first hour of the day. Make your bed, brush your teeth, eat a hearty breakfast, make a rough plan of your day and only then pick up your phone. Use a similar approach for when it’s time to sleep: avoid screen time at least an hour before bed and try to nod off at a reasonable time. 

Write down three (or more things) that you’re grateful for. You may not have a job but you have a roof over your head, you have a family that care about you, you have running water. You can write about the smallest of things such as being grateful that you ate your favourite chocolate bar yesterday. If you don’t feel like writing down the three things that you’re thankful for you, you can instead think of those three things and make a mental note. Gratitude goes a long way in improving your mood and reducing stress so it’s worth a try!

Stop comparing yourself to others. The worst thing you can do to yourself is compare yourself to others. I’m guilty of doing this and it’s something I am working on. There’s no point in comparing yourself to someone. It doesn’t matter if you both started off at the same place and now they’re miles ahead of you career-wise and you’re stuck without a job. You’re time will come. You’ve got the rest of your life to work on your career and climb the career ladder. Being out of a job for a while is a minor blip. You’ve still got the rest of your life to work (ha, what a depressing thought)! Showing strength in the face of adversity will help build resilience and make you a stronger person. Everyone has to experience some bad times in life. Stop comparing yourself to others, okay?!

Spend time with your family and friends. A quick phone call to your best friend to find out how their day is going or what plans they have for the weekend helps you remove some of your focus from your own problems. It’s important not to neglect your loved ones. Show interest in other people and their lives. 

Don’t drive yourself mad with job searching. I cannot stress this enough. Search for jobs for a set period of time during the day. Don’t go overboard, searching for hours and hours on end. Most importantly, don’t browse websites just before bed or as soon as you wake up in the hopes of finding a job which might be suitable for you. Searching for jobs and applying for jobs is a job in itself! You need physical and mental breaks from your job search! 

Do something that sparks a joy in you. I’ve been so busy for the last few years that I had completely given up reading or making any time for it. Now that I’ve got plenty of time on my hands, I read a book for an hour or two before bed. Also, I’ve started writing on WordPress again! I’ve rediscovered the joy that writing brings me which I wouldn’t have found if I hadn’t had lots of time on my hands! But at the same time don’t feel guilty if you can’t find a hobby. Don’t force it otherwise it will end up feeling like a chore! 

Treat yourself to something you love once every few days. Lot of people would argue you should do something nice for yourself everyday but personally for me, I’ve found that if I do something that I absolutely love every few days, it makes me appreciate the process and the activity that much more. For example, I like to run myself a hot bubble bath once in a while or walk to the cafe down the road to treat myself to a steaming cup of karak chai. It doesn’t have to cost much or it can be absolutely free!

Stay up to date with the news! It’s important to not become obsessed with all the terrible things that is happening in the world but at the same time it’s good to keep abreast of developing news. The world is constantly changing and new events are forever unfolding. Spend a few minutes watching the news on your tv or briefly reading a few news articles online. It’s also a good reminder that there are many problems around the world and you are not the only person in the world with problems even though it may feel like that at times! 

Cook your own food! With all this time on your hands, spend some of it cooking your own meals. You don’t have to whip up anything fancy (unless you want to). It’s a good skill to have and it can give you a break from searching for jobs!

These are some of my tips on how to boost your mood during this very difficult time. Do you have any advice and tips that work for you? 

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