7 ways to survive a long, lonely unemployment period

While part of you might feel like you lost your identity when you lost your job, there are things you can do to help navigate such an emotionally draining time.

You spend all day at home trying to figure out your next career move, while visions of your friends stacking their latest paychecks sky-high flood your psyche.

Welcome to a long, lonely stretch of unemployment. While part of you might feel like you lost your identity when you lost your job, there are things you can do to help navigate such an emotionally draining time.

Do more than stare at your computer all day

Doing this until your eyes glaze over isn’t healthy.

Instead, give your eyes a rest and take breaks outside. Research has found that spending time in greenery outside (as opposed to a concrete jungle) can make you feel better about yourself when you’re at work. But this doesn’t mean you have to be employed to enjoy nature’s benefits.

Of course, you also should do your best to avoid getting hooked on your smartphone — don’t overdo it. Luckily, there are ways to break your addiction.

Look for jobs in different places

In other words, get off the couch and get moving.

Head to a local library or coffee shop to break things up while you work. After all, it can be really difficult to search for jobs when you have a bad case of cabin fever.

Have a mentor who can help you brainstorm? Reach out and see if they can meet to talk, as well as others in your professional network.

Keep your spaces as clutter-free as possible

If you haven’t done your spring cleaning yet, now would be a pretty good time to start. So get rid of everything you don’t need in both your closet and home workspace — old clothes, shoes, files, papers, electronics and more.

Also, back up your computer onto your hard drive and delete what you don’t need anymore.

Focus on your health

It’s so easy to use feeling upset during unemployment as a reason to pack on the comfort food, but you should resist the urge to binge on unhealthy snacks and drinks.

Instead, you should continue to prepare different types of healthy foods for the week, go on long walks, hit the gym, and indulge yourself once in a while.

See your friends when you can

This might be difficult, but it’s better to get a real dose of perspective on how everyone else is doing than sit at home all week, pining for better days.

Remember, all that glitters …

Going out will help you remember that work shouldn’t be your everything, anyway.

Be careful with your cash

In the same vein, you’ll want to save as much money as you can without depriving yourself of socializing. If you had no time for friendships back when you were working full-time, you definitely do now, so take advantage of this time.

Cut unnecessary spending where you can and figure out ways to earn more cash. Keeping this in mind, this is where a side hustle could come in handy as you look for something full-time again: pick something that will both excite you and help pay your bills as you wait to hear back from employers.

Do some volunteer work

Helping others is a valuable use of time — whether you’re unemployed or not — because there will always be someone in need.

Doing volunteer work is also a great way to meet other people who have charitable spirits, and to get out of your own head. Whether you’re volunteering at a soup kitchen, helping tutor local students or mentoring someone, you’ll always have your hands full while learning something new.

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.