How To Get Out of Unemployment Depression

If you have ever been unemployed for prolonged periods of time then you know that feeling of hopelessness all too well. You try looking for a job every day, leave no opportunity unturned and yet you can’t find work. At this point you feel like absolute garbage and you begin to wonder if you’re worthy of anything. How would I know – you ask? I’ve been in your shoes.

UnemployedFew years ago after being a self-employed affiliate marketer things turned for the worse. Things changed so quickly that literally overnight I was unable to make a living. I’ll spare you the details but all that matters is nothing I previously did worked any longer. This new period of struggling to survive and constantly searching for employment lasted for an entire year. I grew sad, depressed, fatigued, hopeless – you name it. Every time I’d apply for a job it seemed like one hundred other people were there before me. It was quite depressing. Even though it was most likely not the clinical type of depression, it certainly felt like it.

Over the course of the next few weeks following this period of sadness I learned many things. It gives me a great pleasure to be able to share with you the things that have helped me and may possibly get you out of your infinite state of sadness:

Seek Support from People You Love

Surround yourself with people you love and those that love you. Forget searching for work for a bit and spend time with family. Don’t do it for the sake of distraction, but rather allow your mind to fully heal with support of others. If this is something you have already been doing this whole time, then combine it with the next suggestion.

Take a Mini-Vacation

Taking a vacation during the worst of times may sound like terrible advice but consider the situation: you’ve been out of work for quite some time and are not getting closer to finding anything. By spending time with people you love in a place away from home you can begin to forget the pain and agony of searching without results. I’m not saying you should spend a lot of money to do something exotic – just take a road trip out of town. Go camping, go fishing, just get out of town. Spend a few days or more just relaxing (and no, those times when you have nothing to do at home because no new job postings were added don’t count). Think of any activity that you truly loved doing just before your life got very busy and go do it.

Volunteer Your Skills for a Good Cause

I know, doing charity work at a time when you should be asking for charity sounds completely insane, but it really isn’t.  Is there somewhere you have to be after months of searching for employment? A few days won’t kill you. Take some time off and donate it along with your skills to a good cause. You may be surprised how happy it will make you feel to see someone else benefit from your talent. Who knows, someone may even notice your work which could lead to a connection here and there.

Start Networking with Others

Speaking of connections, go out and make new ones. From meetups to job fairs, every bit of networking will help you feel like a worthy human being. Join local meetups and make new friends. Don’t be afraid to talk about your situation. Job fairs aren’t just for meeting with potential employers, seek company with like-minded people. Talk about your efforts to find a job, make jokes, make friends. You’ll need every bit of friendship at this point.

Everything listed here is what has worked for me to overcome severe sadness and in my mind – depression. There are many other things you’ll have to do differently once you get out of feeling too miserable but that is another post for another time.

For more awesome articles on dealing with unemployment check out some of these:

Great Reads for the Unemployed

28 Comments

  1. I would make a small list of daily goals too, simple and achievable, job-related or not. And congratulate myself for doing them every night. Positive thinking can go a long way, and you start achieving more every following day.

    • Good point Pauline. Although this is not something I did after several months went by, I can see how having an achievable goal every day may motivate you to keep at it. Just not sure if it would really help getting out of the terrible pit of sadness – but you never know! (I just don’t have experience with this)

  2. Great tips Veronica. I was unemployed a number of years ago for a few months and I remember it not so fondly. I would agree with Pauline in having a daily list of goals. I did something similar and it helped me immensely to get more motivated and to take one day at a time.

    • It’s official then :) Create a daily list of goals! Thanks John, I’m glad someone else has had experience with doing just that (something I hadn’t done).

  3. Thanks for sharing. That would be a completely stressful situation. I’m sure many people stay home and stick their head in the sand, but networking is really what you need to continue doing. You never know who you might meet with the right connection. You’ll never meet them watching TV at home.

    • The thing about TV is, you can distract yourself for some time but eventually it all comes back like an avalanche. Distractions just don’t work well for getting out of a funky mood that long term unemployment creates.

  4. I have essentially never been unempolyed by choice, and have always had at least one job (sometimes more than one). I can’t imagine what people go through during their time of unemployment. Great article for those who are going through that tough time.

    • That’s really nice to hear and I hope it stays that way for you. You have a good head on your shoulders and probably don’t have to worry about unemployment. But if it were to happen, try the things I talk about here, they helped me!

  5. Luckily, I have never been unemployed for long. I was briefly unemployed twice – once when I moved to Colorado for the summer and once when I moved to Chicago. I was still young and had my parents there to back me up if I absolutely needed them. Both times, I was unemployed for a few weeks. I was panicking trying to find work. I can see how somebody could easily get depressed, and these are some great tips to help them out Veronica!

    • Thanks Greg, it’s great to hear that you haven’t had to worry about being unemployed long term. It’s not something I would recommend “trying out” just to experience a new low in life haha.

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  12. I definitely felt all those feelings you felt when I was unemployed. I am not naturally a positive person, so it was very hard for me to constantly be positive during that rough time. My bf was very supportive of me during this time. He was the shoulder to cry on and would listen to me rant in frustration.

    I’ve volunteered a couple of times with Habitat for Humanity when I was unemployed. They are a great cause and it was quite rewarding knowing that you were contributing to building a home for a family.

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  14. I often wonder what I would do if I was stuck in a long period of unemployment. I’ve been fortunate to be able to jump from one job to another and to find jobs whenever I’ve wanted or needed one. I don’t think I’ve been unemployed for longer than a month since I’ve been 16!

    Brian has had bouts of brief unemployment due to the nature of his work, but we’ve found that the best solution is to keep to a schedule. When you’re unemployed, your job IS to find to a job.

    • CF, agreed on keeping a schedule. My BF is still looking for a job, but the good thing is he’s had a few interviews already, just hasn’t found the right place. He’s done a pretty good job staying on schedule and dedicating only certain parts of the day to finding positions and applying to them.

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  17. Found this place very very useful and motivating as well!

    I am out of job for nearly 18 months now. I had a pretty well paying job before but over-ambitious as I was, I left my job in 2011 to do my second masters in Europe. I haven’t found a job after finishing my studies and its over a year now. I have always wanted to do something better but as my ill luck would have it, I ended up being nowhere. I have left no stone upturned, but all my efforts proved futile. Deep inside i know my employable skill sets are a lot better than many of those who are currently employed, but god knows why no one takes me. In the process, I have turned structurally depressive and cynical. Now, even when I see a new job posting, I automatically feel I’ll once again be rejected. Facing so many rejections have crushed my soul. Now it seems I have almost accepted that I’ll never be employed again. It seems I reached out for the stars but ended up in a heap of garbage.

    There is only one positive side I see at this point in time (maybe a desperate attempt to forcefully make my heart a little lighter). I feel I’m already at the bottom of the curve of my life and therefore, I should feel better because my life is already at the ‘trough’ with infinite possibilities of things improving from here on :) . Maybe a wishful thinking!!

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