How to Keep up Morale During Unemployment

Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen commented on the current state of the Great Recession last week. Unemployment remains a common problem around the world, and the almost constant news coverage depicting the economy as improving confuses those who remain unemployed.

This incongruity can lead to an even greater loss of morale, with unemployed people asking themselves this question: if the economy is better, then why have I still not found a job? If you or someone you know is currently unemployed, then keep up your morale by the following steps.

Understand the state of the economy

Yellen remains optimistic, but also realistic. The growth rate of the economy continues to improve, but at a very slow rate. Some media outlets portray an abundant economy in order to increase consumer confidence and spending, as consumers are more likely to increase investments when they believe the economy is improving. Inspiring economic growth is not necessarily a bad thing, but the portrayal of an abundant economy can lead to an even worse feeling for those negatively affected by the current state of the economy, making it appear that most people are thriving when you might be struggling. Try to keep in mind that things are not always what they seem.

Yellen claims that the economy is approaching its regular rate of growth before the recession, clarifying “I say ‘approaching’ because in my judgment we are not there yet.” Continue to keep in mind that you are certainly not alone in the present economy.

Never compare yourself to others

When you are unemployed, the lives of others around you may seem so much easier, but this is never really the case. Many people hang onto jobs that make them miserable just to support their families. Some people work to even avoid challenging family situations. Remember that a job does not automatically provide happiness.

Take a vacation from certain forms of social media

LinkedIn and other professional networking sites can help you find work, but other social media sites like Facebook and Instagram will likely lower your morale. Media used solely for the purpose of socializing does not paint a picture of reality—instead, you see what people want you to see. Perhaps the person who once ran a company is actually in the middle of a job search. Perhaps all you see are happy wedding pictures on someone’s personal profile page, and these pictures do not state how the couple paid for the wedding or whether their lengthy honeymoon negatively affected their job performance.

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When you are unemployed, it seems more challenging to come up with an unrealistic blissful snapshot of your life, because you are the one facing economic realities head-on. American Greetings does not make cards that say “Congratulations on quitting your awful job!” or “Four weeks of unemployment is well below the average length as of April 2015!”—and social media sites do not typically celebrate the people who are tackling life challenges.

Diversify your time

A productive and nearly constant job search can feel quite exhausting on a daily basis. Try to find part-time work during your unemployment period. This can not only help morale through small paychecks but can also get you excited about a change of environment. If you still have time leftover, utilize this time for things that you have always wanted to do. For example, volunteer for organizations whose mission you value. Many people find jobs through volunteer work. You might just be helping more than your community—you may also end up helping yourself.

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