It isn’t like unemployment is a new thing – I’ve watched family members being made redundant and friends graduate with little more to do than eat Cheerios in their jim jams and shout at Jeremy Kyle. When Lehman’s crashed in 2008 and I worked in the private sector, I watched in horror as many of the people closest to me became unemployed and with a spiralling unemployment situation, it wasn’t set to get any better.

Unemployment

But for a while at least, things seemed to ease off. Most people I knew were in employment, or freelancing or doing other positive ways to spend their days and were for the most part really happy about it. However, working for a youth charity, I’ve been keeping an eye on what the stats tell us and quite frankly things are getting progressively worse – almost 1m 18-24 year olds are unemployed. Wow.

If you currently find yourself unemployed, my heart goes out to you. But, there are a million ways you can stay positive and takes steps towards reemployment somewhere far more awesome than your last gaff. Here are just a few.

Give yourself proper time off

If searching for a new job becomes an all encompassing 24 hour a day chore, you’ll drive yourself bonkers and you’ll be in no fit state to attend and smash that interview when it comes along. That is, if you scored an interview – because I don’t know about you, but I haven’t done my best job application whilst sitting in my pants drinking milk from the carton.

Make your job search your actual job. And give yourself weekends off so you don’t get out of the working routine and you have something to look forward to. This brings me neatly to…

Plan in some fun

When you are unemployed, frivolous spending habits come in to sharp focus. It is tempting to stop doing anything at all, and hide in your house like a cave person in case stepping outside renders your bank account empty and the bailiffs at the door. I kid. But is true – and staying inside your four walls of security and comfort won’t do your wellbeing any favours. You’ve got to get some vitamin D after all.

So plan in some fun, but make it free or low cost. Going out for a walk, seeing friends, inviting people to your place (but ask everyone to bring a snack too), visiting free museums and exhibitions, getting on a cheap bus to the next town and having an explore – all of these are good for your soul. Friends will understand and will be there to support you. Why not start a book/dvd/game/cd swapping club with your friends? That is free, environmentally friendly and also fun.

Make some money

Granted, I know the whole point of your spending all your waking hours applying for jobs is so that you can indeed make some money, but it is time to think laterally about your financial situation. Are you applying for only your dream job? If so, this is great, but sooner or later you will require some dollar, and I promise you, just earning a wage will make you feel better about things. Why not widen the net and try applying for part time retail or bar work? It may not be what you want to do for the rest of your life, but it will pay for food which isn’t value baked beans on value toast. I’ve been there.

Without the grind of 9-5, this is the time to sort out your stuff, and then sell it. This will not only provide you with some money, but will also help clear out your life a bit which is good for the soul. Our guides on eBaying, selling online and getting free cash should set you on the right track.

Keep physically and mentally well

This should go without saying – just because your usual routine is out of the window it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look after your body and mind. This means not living on Pot Noodles, eating healthily and getting your five a day. Processed foods are not going to help keep your brain at the top of it’s job hunting game.

Exercise too is helpful, and it can be free. Get out for a walk (as above), get some air in those lungs and have some thinking time away from a screen. Exercise can also make you happy – I know right?! Those serotonins are not created out of thin air but from moving your body and getting a sweat on. Try YouTube for some free exercise videos – there are full copies of Jillian Michaels DVD’s on there!

Do you have any tips on staying positive whilst job hunting?

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