In earlier articles, we looked at how to deal with the stress of unemployment. But how do you beat depression when you become unemployed? What you do when first lose your job can make a big difference in how you feel later. A large part of beating depression happens if you can head it off before it starts.
Write down every good thing about yourself that you can think of. You probably have a lot of good work experience, but you also have talents and inner qualities that go far beyond your resume. As soon as you have gotten over the shock of being unemployed, start a list of all the great things that make you who you are. It is important to do this at the sunset, before job hunting starts taking bites out of your self esteem.
You do not have to do this all in one day. Keep the list open, and whenever you remember some success you had, or a time when you made someone's day, jot it down. Ask friends and family what they consider your best qualities. You might be amazed at how much good they see.
Get up and get dressed every day. You do not have to wear a business suit, but prepare yourself to face the day like a person with things to do. The action of dressing is like putting on armor against depression before it can hit you. It also defends you against the lure of the sofa and mindless TV.
If you are looking through job listings in a newspaper or online, being dressed makes you feel more serious about your endeavors, and reinforces that you are a person worth paying attention to.
Start your day with some exercise. Exercise will help you feel stronger and more confident, and help you order your thoughts. Without a regular work routine, it can be easy for your thinking to become disorganized, which adds to any depression you may feel. A brisk walk or workout gets your can-do attitude in line, and gives you a better chance at organizing your day.
Skip the all at once approach. It is not uncommon to hear of someone who sent out 200 resumes and then became sorely depressed when they got no response. So do not set yourself up for a major fall. You'll usually get better results if you research companies and approach a few at a time, with a targeted message based on what each of them needs.
Do not become discouraged if you are screened by a machine. If you held the same job for a long time, it can be a shock to learn how the job application process has changed. Where once we might have dressed up and knocked on doors, now we may find we have to be cleared by a computer before a live person ever sees our application or resume … even if the person behind the door already wants to hire us.
Rejection by a computer can be horribly depressing, and make you feel like you'll never catch a break. To beat the depression, take out your list of good qualities, read and re-read how super you are. Breathe deeply, stand up straight, and try again.
Do everything you can to take care of yourself. Job hunting is no easy task, and it is far too easy to jump from feeling simply unemployed to feeling worthless. You need to feel worthy of care and love, and you can help by giving yourself good food, rest, and simple trees like long hot baths to keep your health and your spirits up.
Take steps not to get isolated. The more you feel rejected, the more depressed you can start to be, and the less likely you want to go out and be involved in life. Consider asking a friend to phone you if they do not hear from you for a while. If you are on a downward slide, someone who cares for you can do a lot to pull you back into the world.
Meditate or pray, and picture a brighter future. It can be hard to understand, but the reason you are unemployed may have nothing to do with you and who you are. I have a whole resume listing names of companies who bit the dust, taking me and sometimes hundreds of others down with them.
Spending time with whatever you picture as your source of abundance will help you rise above the challenges you face, and be your greatest weapon to beat depression when unemployed.
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