1) It is easy to become ungrounded or lose a sense of meaning and purpose
2) It can be easy to lose hope that things will improve
3) This is a society where what we do is considered very important and not working can impact our sense of self worth
Below are some handy tools to help you navigate through a period of unemployment or underemployment.
1) Set up structure. Get out of bed at the same time every day. If necessary, set up a volunteer activity or a workout activity or a regular meeting with a fellow underemployed individual.
2) Dedicate time to job applications. Allot time, for example one hour per day for five days per week, to identify potential positions as well as maintain contact with references and revise your resume.
3) Manage boredom. Free time is something everyone craves until there is too much of it. Navigating boredom can be more difficult than expected. This is where structure is helpful. This is where setting up weekly goals is helpful. Potential red flags that boredom is wearing you down is if you are feeling listless or depressed or you find that your drinking or unhealthy eating has increased. These are signs that there is a vital need to increase structure and activity.
4) Engage in activities that you are good at. If the unemployment starts to lead to depression or poor self worth, it is helpful to reengage in activities you usually enjoy. This is especially timely because participation helps reinstill a sense of efficacy, meaning, and direction.
5) Creativity. This might be a time to tap into your creative side: draw, paint, write.
6) Keep world broad. It is easy when underemployed to further shrink your world. This is something you want to be watchful for and you want to continue engaging in social activities and exercise and other factors that provide meaning for your life.