10 Helpful Things You Should Be Doing When Unemployed & Looking for Work

4% of Americans are unemployed.

Real talk – if you’re currently unemployed, you may find yourself struggling with motivation, low self-esteem, depression or other mental health issues.

Know that you’re not alone and this is a very normal reaction to being unemployed, especially for longer periods.

To avoid participating in behaviors which will make finding a job even more difficult, such as substance abuse, take a look at this list for things to do when unemployed:

1. Exercise Boosts Your Confidence

You may wonder how going outside for a run, or cycling along the local canal path can help you find a job.

But, it’s been proven time and time again that exercise can help boost your health. It can also:

  • Make you feel more alert.
  • Improve your confidence.
  • Give you a sense of pride in what your body can do.
  • Reduce chronic disease risk.
  • Help you lose weight.

Better yet, exercise can actually make you feel happier. It’s not magic and it will take some hard work.

But, during your time of unemployment, there’s nothing better to do than throw yourself into your favorite sport or form of exercise.

Plus, what better to write on your resume than “last year I completed a marathon/triathlon”?

2. Make a Schedule and Stick to It

Being unemployed when you’re also juggling other commitments, such as family, can be extremely difficult.

To make sure your responsibilities are maintained, plan a schedule for your days. Have a set routine which you follow, giving you time to look after little ones AND look for jobs.

Even if you don’t have other commitments besides looking after yourself, having a schedule can give you a sense of purpose and a reason to get out of bed.

For example:

  • 8 am – wake up, meditate, shower and get ready for the day.
  • 9 am – breakfast and wash up dishes.
  • 9:30 am – exercise.
  • 10:30 am – start looking for jobs.
  • 1 pm – plan a delicious, healthy lunch or meet a friend for lunch.
  • 2 pm – work on a personal project/volunteer/help a neighbor with their garden.
  • 4 pm – look for work or apply for jobs you found in the morning.
  • 7 pm – visit family after work.

Of course, this is just a brief example. But, by filling your time and planning things to do, you’ll ensure you’re socializing, looking after yourself AND looking for jobs.

Make sure to break up the time you spend looking for jobs so that it doesn’t feel disheartening.

3. Boost Your Skills

Finding a personal project can help bring purpose to your life. Even people in employment struggle to figure out what their “purpose” in life is.

During your time of unemployment, try to find out what you love doing most. Then, when you’re in employment, even if you don’t love the work, you’ll have a sense of purpose outside of the job. This is invaluable.

Perhaps your interests are cooking or learning languages? If so, find a course in your area which can help you boost your skills.

Can’t afford to do a course? Focus on learning at home. There are plenty of free resources online, all you need to do is look for what you’re interested in and commit to one thing at a time.

Perhaps you can’t find a skill to work on as a personal project. Instead, why not train for the job you want? This will show self-motivation which all employers respect.

4. Volunteering Is Good for You

When feeling sorry for yourself, what better way to stop moping around than to help others and volunteer your time.

By not thinking about yourself for just a few hours of the week, you’ll realize that everyone has their problems and you’ll find that your own mood is boosted by doing good by others.

Better yet, if you volunteer regularly, you’ll form a community and make new friends.

There are many worthy causes to look into when you first decide to volunteer. For example, why not work with refugees to help them get established in your town?

You may also want to look into volunteering positions which can help you boost certain skills. Who knows, work could come from your volunteering position too.

5. Sell Everything You Don’t Need

If you’re struggling financially, then a good idea is to sell items which you don’t need.

Did you know, there are more self-storage facilities in the US than there are McDonald’s? If you’re guilty of hoarding lots of stuff, it’s time to set up an eBay account.

You don’t need to go full-blown minimalist and only keep 150 items. But, by selling things you don’t use, you’ll be freeing up your space AND boosting your finances.

While you’re at it, you may find that you’re very gifted at selling on eBay and could set up a small side business.

Sure, it may not replace a full-time job, but many people make a tidy sum each month by buying vintage clothing, doing it up and selling it on…

6. Find Part Time Work

If your small online clothing business doesn’t take off, then why not consider looking for other work online?

Websites such as Fiverr or Upwork can help you boost your skills and earn a couple of dollars per project. Alternatively, you may want to join a temp agency for a few months.

Although neither are permanent solutions, they will help ensure you have money at the end of the month.

If neither of these proves to be a viable solution for you, then considering a loan may be the only option left. If this is the case, always do your research to ensure you’re getting a good deal. Read more about this before making a decision.

7. Take Advantage of this Time

One-THIRD of our lives is spent at work. Although being unemployed certainly poses many difficulties, it also brings some benefits.

For example, this is the time to form habits and become the person you want to be. Focus on your relationships, your mental health, and your physical health.

When your time of unemployment comes to an end, you can deem it a success if you’ve grown as a person, even if your family doesn’t see it that way.

Try All of These Things to Do When Unemployed

If you’re struggling to find positive things to do when unemployed, make sure to start with everything in this list!

Still struggling to find fun and meaning in your life? Why not revert back to your childish ways when you were happiest.