Unemployment Funk

How To Get Out Of Your Unemployment Funk


Looking for a job is not an easy task, especially when you’ve been out of a job for more than six months. You don’t know what day it is, you don’t have to wake up early (at least not for work), and you’ve developed a not-so-friendly relationship with your computer.

Related: The 3-Step ‘Beat Unemployment’ Plan

In the more extreme of cases, your bills may be piling up and you don’t know how to pay them or you’ve moved in with a friend or family member until you could get back on your feet. All of these things, and then some, could get you in an unemployment funk – one that may not be easy to get out of if you don’t take measures against it.

According to the American Psychological Association, the stresses of unemployment (and underemployment) can lead to serious psychological issues such as: depression, anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms, a low self-esteem, and so on. Although unemployment is a serious issue, there are ways to prevent yourself from submitting to the unemployment funk that not only affects you, but those around you.

Sandy Shephard, who’s been unemployed for almost four months now, shared some of the ways she keeps herself busy while she continues to look for work. Here are her suggestions:

Continue Learning

“Keep your mind active,” says Shepard. “Give yourself something else to think and talk about.”

Setting some goals for yourself that will help you achieve something might boost your morale and overall low feelings that come with being unemployed. In Shephard’s case, doing things like accomplishing a home improvement project, charity work, and online computer classes to improve her skills are just a few of the ways she got her mind out of the day to day job hunting routine and made her feel really good about herself.

According to lifestyle and productivity blog, Lifehack, “we are learning creatures, and the lifelong practice of learning is what makes… our lives worthwhile.” Remember, just because you’re unemployed doesn’t mean you should stop learning.

Stay Healthy And Clean

For the extreme cases of depression, some individuals just stop taking care of themselves altogether. Not eating properly is a symptom, as well as a lack of motivation and energy to do things.

“After a month of not working, I noticed that I wasn’t doing even the simplest things from my normal routine, like taking my daily vitamins, drinking enough water, doing my yoga stretches, even my teeth whiteners,” said Shephard.

Making a check-off list has helped Shephard stay on top of such tasks, so that she doesn’t end up forgetting about the daily things she should be doing besides job search.

In addition, staying clean has also helped Shephard keep her productivity habits. “We all feel better and are more ready to face the world when fresh and decently dressed versus being slovenly,” said Shephard. “I always feel like I can better conquer the day when I sit down to my computer… showered and fully dressed.”

Get Out

Your spending choices are definitely limited when you’re unemployed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or get out of the house.

Shephard gives herself fun goals to do such as watching all of the movies that were nominated for an Oscar for best picture. It got her out of the house, it was something she enjoyed doing, and was relatively cheap.

“Get away from the computer!” said Shephard. “Getting out, talking to people, doing something fun is so beneficial. We ALL know that eventually we WILL get hired. How mad will we be at ourselves for wasting precious time off work that we could have enjoyed!”

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

5 Things You Should Be Doing If You’re Unemployed
3 Techniques To Fight Unemployment Stigma
6 Tips For Dating While You’re Unemployed


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Belen Chacon

Belen is a journalism graduate student at California State University, Northridge. She spends her time interning wherever she can and tweeting her heart out. You can follow her @journobelen.


  1. What makes everyone so sure that this situation is temporary. A few people under 40 may manage to crawl out, but the odds are stacked against the majority of people over 50.

    First of all the employment rate is worse than reported. Second, we will never return to full employment as more and more jobs are outsourced or automated. There will also be a deluge of big box retail store closings in the next year or two as online retailers put this last hope for the destitute permanently out of reach.

    Can the one percent of wealthy dog owners employer the other 99% as dog walkers? I do not think so. I see no reason to be optimistic. Also, telling people to just get a STEM degree is kind of useless in an environment where most people are simply too dumb to understand the work. You might as well say to people “It’s you own stupid fault for not becoming an Opera Singer, because Opera singers make a lot of money.”

    All of these advice sites are pretty useless and common sense for anyone with half a brain. You don’t need a PHD in Economics from Harvard to see that the economy stinks.

  2. Great article–I have only been out of work for 2 weeks and am already feeling in the dumps. I like the idea of doing something fun–sometimes I feel guilty if I am having a good time.

  3. Article doesn’t even mention people who have kids. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself, but what about people who have a family to support? employers won’t give parent job-seekers special consideration.

  4. I have been laid off 2 years 9 months. 1165 applications, 29 interviews, 11 temp services and 4 resume overhauls later I’m still hopeful. I’ve gone back to school to get a degree which keeps me sane. School is not only educational but it’s my social life. I’ve met some very special people. Between homework and my dog, I’ve managed to keep my sanity!

  5. Good article. Never thought I was falling into a depressive state of mind until I found myself crying for no reason at all. When I started to evaluate what I was doing each day, I realized I wasn’t talking to friends, having restless sleep, eating a lot of comfort food and not even wanting to shower and leave the house. Very important not to loose sight that this is a temporary situation and staying in the house doesn’t allow people to cross your path. You might be missing that opportunity to meet that person that will open that door for you to enter a new career. Even the job fairs I’ve attended advise that the best opportunity to get an interview is by networking. You can’t network if you don’t leave the house. I’ve been out of work since December and I am climbing the walls but I’m not giving up. I found my only saving grace was my, dog. Having a dog makes you get up, get dressed, get out the house and exercise just because they need to be walked several times a day. Best medicine in the world is unconditional responsibility. Not to mention, if your not a pet owner, it’s the best time to do all the little things around the house that you never had time to do when you were working. Good luck! You never know. One day I could be working for you or visa versa. :)

  6. Great article! I have been unemployed since January and have posted my résumé to many places – today’s count 75 as of today. I too take two days for myself. I have worked all my life and feel I need a break as well. Since the weather is cold here, I plan on walking when the weather gets better. The “bites” come and go in waves – this week two interviews. Other weeks none. What else can I do?

    • Lee,
      Like you, I have been working for about more 10 years and I feel I need a break, as of today, there are three months. I still have self confidence and seeking a new and better opportunity. But sometimes, families worry about my life, their concern is worse economics situation and less job opportunity. Anyway, I think it is important thing for me that I need to identify my own true dream in my heart. Make sure a clear and definite goal of future career by myself.

  7. I’ve been unemployed since January and sine then I’ve applied for several openings with very little results. The recruiters who have seen my resume say I have a strong resume, but I’ve had very little responses from the hiring managers. I don’t know if I’m overselling myself or if my resume is scaring off the hiring manager; what can I do to get responses from the hiring manager and not just from the recruiting side? I do workout 3x a week, but motionally I’m getting depressed with the lack of response.

  8. I really needed this article, THANK YOU! I’ve been laid off since October with few leads. Now I have tons since relocating, yet nothing biting yet. It can get overwhelming and I feel like my resume and interview questions are etched in my brain. What I do is instead of sitting at home online job-searching, I choose to go to a wi-fi spot (E.g. B&N, Starbucks, Sports Bar & Grills, even outside locations since I’m in a warm climate). It prevents the cabin fever that can accompany being unemployed. Finally, do something you like at least once a week, even if it’s window-shopping. Keep your mind active by reading about other life events that don’t necessarily surround employment or your industry and definitely keep your body active. The day of waking up to go to work WILL COME!

    • How about volunteer work ? Get’s you out and you learn a lot you can do courses just 8 hr per week makes a difference and it looks good on your CV!

    • Hi,L.A
      I agree with you. I have been laid off from Feb. Yes, I like to sit in coffee bar and other wifi site to online job searching. I agree with you opinion. Now, I am seeking new work. I told myself that I need to have more confidence and believe that I am best one for each interview.

  9. I certainly agree about keeping busy. I have been out of work for 1.5 months and am going crazy, I have applied to over 25 jobs and have had a few bites. However, in regards to taking time off, I do take two days a week for “me” to do something fun. I have been working all my life and feel it is time for me to take a little break.

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