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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.

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