I’ve recently found myself unemployed. And while in my case it wasn’t wholly unexpected (the contract I was working was never intended to last forever), it is still a rather jarring and unpleasant reality to adjust to. Being unemployed sucks for a lot of reasons, never mind the obvious lack of income. However, outside of those hours spent dusting off your resumé and looking for a new job, there are some things you can do to feel more awesome during this less than awesome time:
1. Get up.
The first thought that struck me when my alarm went off this morning was, “This has no purpose anymore.” However, wallowing in bed for extended periods of time puts you on the fast track to a fantastic bout of depression. Get up, and…
2. Make your bed.
Heck, at this point, you literally have no excuses—clean your whole apartment. Maybe go through your closet and those boxes of useless crap you keep around for no reason. Make some donations. You will feel better for it. Not just because you accomplished something, but again, the wallowing thing is a lot harder to do when your shit’s in order.
3. Go outside/get some exercise.
Being unemployed does not mean you have been sentenced to life as a hermit. Yes, you might want to scale it back on going out, gratuitous cappuccinos, and needless shopping, but you should still make it a priority to go outside, get some fresh air, and get moving. Run or walk. Go to the gym, take a class (don’t we all have that neglected Groupon hanging out somewhere?).
4. Do what you love.
Now is the perfect time to bust out your long-neglected watercolors. You most likely have some kind of passion or aspiration that you’ve been neglecting because you were “too busy.” That excuse doesn’t fly anymore. Get out your materials. Do that thing. In fact, make time to do that thing every day. Maybe now’s your chance to become the anime cartoonist you always wanted to be, to read that novel beyond page 5, etc.
5. Make yourself dinner.
Since you’re going to be eating in a lot more these days, you might as well put a little effort into it. Not to mention all the weekday nights you returned home haggard, hungry, and opted to mow down on bag of tortilla chips instead of an actual meal. Again, no more excuses about not having enough time.
This could be in a formal way, at a humane society, or a farmers’ market, or at any other awesome organization, or it could be informal. Maybe offer up your services to an exhausted friend who just had a baby, or if you live near family, ask if you can help out some afternoon. Either way, this will help you to further accomplish item #3, and will put you in contact with more people than sitting on your couch will, which could very well also help you find your next job.
If you’re like most people, you haven’t read an actual book in a long time. Reading is good for your brain. Reading is also a great escape and a great way to learn something new, which could also make you more interesting in interviews. Read.
8. Learn something new.
This could piggyback on #7, but it doesn’t have to. YouTube is a ridiculous resource for this kind of thing. If you’re the super ambitious type, you could develop some better Excel skills, or some other resume builder. Or you could learn how to make a GIF, because who doesn’t love a great GIF? And now you’ll know how to make one.
9. Catch up with people.
Maybe you haven’t talked to your grandma in a while, or maybe you haven’t actually spoken to that “BFF” you met while teaching English abroad. There’s undoubtedly someone, or a few someones, who you haven’t kept up with as well as you, or your mom, would like. Time to remedy that. And as with most things on this list, you never know when you’ll bump into your next opportunity.
10. Make some goals.
This one’s a little fluffier, less concrete. But it’s valuable nonetheless. Despite the gag-inducing nature of the term “vision board,” something like this can be helpful. Define really clear goals for yourself. Or maybe re-evaluate—who do you want to be? You have the luxury of this pause to consider if you like the direction your life is going. If you don’t, figure out how you’re going to change it. Goals are the seeds of planning, and planning leads to more doing, which will at some point lead to you being employed again.
11. Go to that one place you haven’t gone to yet.
No matter where you live there’s definitely some place that you have not bothered to check out yet. Now is the ideal time to go to that local landmark, amazing history museum, beautiful park, etc. Go there—you might really enjoy it. Additionally, local institutions such as zoos and museums tend to be cheap, and you’ll be contributing to something in your community.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a start. You’re unemployed! Congrats—you have some time to do really awesome things before you start working at that amazing job you’re going to get. Right?! Right.