It’s common for people who are out of work to experience certain degree of depression. When we are feeling down and depressed, it can be difficult to manage even some simple tasks in our daily lives, not to mention the more mentally demanding job seeking activities. This feeling sometimes gets multiplied when compounded by the financial pressure of being jobless. A natural consequence is an ever-growing dark cloud that hangs over our head that seems to be preventing us from moving forward.
So, how can we overcome this feeling that’s greatly confining and limiting us? Here are some suggestions you can consider:
- Reach out to people on a regular schedule. Having a regular routine helps us regulate our emotion. Being with others gives us a broader perspective, connects us to the rest of the community, and lets us focus on something other than our own problems. A very important part of this is surrounding yourself with positivepeople. Set a regular schedule for one or all of the following activities:
- Job search group: It’s good to connect with fellow job seekers and know that you’re not alone. Sit in at a meeting before committing to joining a group. The key factor is to find a supportive and positive group, and to avoid any groups where discussions quickly turn negative.
- Volunteering: Find a cause or organization you believe in, reach out and find out how you can contribute. It’d be even better if you could use the volunteer position to sharpen your professional skills. Being part of a community and seeing the difference you make will surely lift your spirit.
- Exercise: When we exercise, our brain releases endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body. The euphoric feeling that follows a workout can give us a positive and energizing outlook. Join a running club, a soccer team, or Frisbee meet-ups.
- Social events: Socializing is an enjoyable activity. First, you can schedule regular coffee or lunch with close friends who you feel safe sharing your feelings with. But this doesn’t mean you should turn every social meeting into a venting session. Gradually broaden your reach and meet with people you haven’t contacted for a while or even meet with new people. These social events will not only provide you with companionship, but they might also be helpful in discovering job opportunities.
- Schedule relaxation time by yourself. It’s also important to learn to enjoy being by ourselves. Use this “alone time” to do things that relax you.
- Hobbies: Doing something creative and fun can give your mood a good boost. It can also give you a sense of achievement when you see the progress of your crochet vest, wooden picnic table, or model airplanes.
- Let out your thoughts and feelings: Write a blog or a diary, keep a journal, or talk to family and friends. Letting out your feelings one way or another, instead of keeping things bottled-up, can reduce the severity of the situations in our mind.
- Switch your focus: Taking a short mental break from thinking about your job search can be healthy. Play with your pets, walk in the park, go on a hike, or go window shopping at the mall. These are all great relaxing activities that take your mind off your job search or other challenges that are constantly on your mind.
If you think you’re feeling down while job hunting, you’re not alone. But if feelings of depression are stopping you from carrying out everyday activities and are having severe negative impacts, seek professional help. While mild depression during a job search is normal, in some cases, medical attention is necessary.
Have you ever felt down in the past? If so, what worked to help you feel better? Your experience can help others in the similar situation.