How to Beat the Fear of Long-Term Unemployment

Longunemployed_march2012_webThere still seems to be a stigma in today’s society about those who have been unemployed for more than a few months. It’s hard for some to understand how anyone could fail to find a job for more than a year without being lazy or unreliable.  But, according to Business Insider, an online source of financial, media, and tech news for businesses, nearly four million American job seekers have been unemployed for more than a year, not including the millions of other individuals who gave up the job search, retired, or took part-time jobs.

Long-term unemployment is something millions of Americans still struggle with. Not only is it financially, emotionally, and physically straining, but it’s also psychologically taxing while dealing with the notion that your skills, talents, and attitudes aren’t good enough. It can be a difficult time in anyone’s life when going several months without work, but there are means to cope. Here are four ways to manage long term unemployment.

Meditate

Meditation doesn’t have to be a religious or spiritual experience, and there are several methods and activities to help you lower stress and anxiety. If you let the tension of unemployment affect your life, you will start making rash decisions instead of making clear, educated decisions.

Whether it’s going out to a lake for fishing or spending an hour alone with good music and a book, there are things you can do that will be beneficial to your mental and physical health.  It can be difficult keeping a positive attitude during such a long transitional period, but taking time for yourself can go a long way to keep that positive feeling going forward.

Build Family Bonds

Game designer and president of Ozark Softscape, Inc., Dani Buten Berry, said, “No one on their death bed ever said ‘I wish I had spent more time at work.’” Use your time not devoted to the office to build better relationships with loved ones. Not only can family be a great networking avenue, but they can also be a strong support tool for you to lean on during the most difficult times of unemployment. And if you can help out the elderly, relatives, or care for children, it can bring a sense of purpose and routine to your day.

Join Social Clubs

Join something and really get involved. It could be a charitable organization like United Way, civic groups like the Kiwanis, or local choir, sports, or hobby groups. Just as long as you get active. Having a social footing outside of work is important support against the stress and strain of unemployment. When unemployed, it’s important to keep a sense of purpose and willfulness that you may have previously found in your job. Long-lasting stability in life comes from the relationships you make that serve something bigger or serve a bigger cause. Find your place in a local organization of some kind.

Do Work

Just because you aren’t being paid for a job doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working. Start a project that could boost your résumé. Use your talents to help local charities fill needs. It could be something built in your garage, or a project that can help improve your community. Research local businesses and see if you can offer pro bono freelance work. You may be surprised at how many businesses will jump at the offer for free help.

Everyone faces tough times at some point in their lives. Even if you are dealing with long-term unemployment, it doesn’t mean you have to be in despair about the situation. If you follow these helpful hints on how to cope, it will only help your job search.

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