7 Things to Do to Keep You Sane and Productive During Your Period of Unemployment

A few days ago, I received word back from another recent job interview. This is a direct copy and paste:

“After careful, and difficult, consideration we have decided to pursue other applicants that we feel may be a better fit for this position.”

Please, tell me something I don’t already know.

I have received this same message, almost word for word, from a countless number of employers this summer alone. What’s even worse is that I thought this particular interview had gone fairly well. They sure had me fooled.

So far, the “real world” is not all its cracked up to be. I have found that it is very easy to be discouraged on a constant basis – to feel stuck in one place while the rest of the world is running circles around you. I have also learned that it will not do to sit around and do nothing while you wait for a call back on your most recent application. So here are some of the things I have been doing to alleviate the insanity.

  1. Clean.
    There have been studies on the positive effects of a clean house. Not only does a clean environment alleviate stress, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment. When the rest of your life feels out of your control, take command of your own organization. That way, at least your physical belongings will be in order, and it will allow you to focus in on the next steps to take when it comes to your career and relationships.
  2. Read.
    While I may have graduated with an English degree, trying to balance homework, rehearsals, and a social life completely destroyed my desire to read for pleasure. Now that I have graduated, I have made it my mission to read every book on my bookshelf that I have never opened before, to think about the content critically, and to get something out of every story. I truly believe that reading is the key to lifelong learning. It is the education that happens after your education. Plus, there is no greater feeling of accomplishment than reading that final sentence of that final chapter, closing the book, and putting it back on the shelf.
  3. Write.
    This may be my English degree talking again, but I believe that writing is one of the world’s purest forms of expression. You can write absolutely anything you want to write, whether it is in the form of a blog, a short story, an entire novel, or simply a private journal. Developing ideas and transferring them to paper, evaluating emotions and channeling them into words offers an invaluable outlet for releasing negativity and harboring a more positive and productive outlook.
  4. Research.
    This one calls for a bit more explanation. Having graduated with degrees in both English and Theater, multiple people have asked me, “Well, what can you do with that?” The answer, put simply, is anything I want. It wasn’t until graduation that this freedom truly dawned on me and a panic settled in because I had no idea what I wanted to do. However, I have been researching – exploring career opportunities that involve some of my favorite things, among them reading, writing, being creative, working with my hands, participating in lively discussion, and constantly learning new things. While my path remains fairly hazy, I’m beginning to see a few different roads I could take. There are so many resources available to us online for figuring out this very thing. Not only can you figure out what you want to do, but you’ll be led to exact steps you’ll need to take to reach your goals.
  5. Exercise.
    This is honestly the hardest thing to do on this list. But again, its about taking control of one of the few things that you can. Your body is entirely yours, and it is entirely your choice to keep it healthy and happy.
  6. Craft.
    Creating something with your own hands is one of the best ways to feel a sense of a achievement. I’ve been looking for some artwork online to cover up my white walls, but it’s all so expensive. So, I’ve been creating some of my own mediocre works of art, for a much cheaper price. I’ve also been crocheting some hats for the impending winter months here in Minnesota. Not only will it be a more productive use of your time, but your time spent crafting can serve as a replacement for Christmas shopping come December. So log on to Pinterest and watch some Youtube tutorials and get crafty, ladies and gents.
  7. Apply.
    It’s the last thing you want to do, I know, but keep applying to every job you find. At this point, you just need to pay the rent while you continue your research on what you really want to do. Find jobs that won’t completely suck your soul and apply, apply, apply. No job is going to be handed to you. And, let’s face it, you can only clean, read, write, research, exercise, and craft for so long until even those things drive you to insanity.

Life since graduation has been insanely hard. Every single day I wonder if I made the right choice, if I should have moved home to save money on rent and food, if it would have been as miserable as I thought it would be. With school, you always know what’s coming next. I miss that structure and people setting tasks for me to do. Sometimes, it does feel like I’ll go insane here, but I’m trying desperately to steer clear of that and keep my head on straight. I can only hope that this unemployment period will come to an end soon. In the meantime, the search continues.

If you’re in the same boat as I am, I wish you luck, and I feel your pain. Godspeed, friends.

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