In our society, where value is tied to productivity, being unemployed can be an extremely emotionally taxing and draining experience. The longer it drags on, the worse it can get. If you’re dealing with just a short period of unemployment, it can feel like an extended vacation. But the longer it lasts, the more it begins to weigh on your self-esteem and sense of worth.

Unfortunately, this can make it even more challenging to find work. When you feel down it is even more difficult to put forth the effort needed to find and apply to jobs. We’ve put together some top tips to help you keep your sanity while you look for your next right fit. 

Find Ways to Stay Busy

It might seem counterintuitive, but it is actually easier to get stuff done when you have more going on. So even though you’re not working a 40 hour work week, if you can find activities and ways to block out your time, you may find that you are actually more productive overall. Finding time to exercise or take classes that you find intellectually enriching can help you feel useful and engaged. These types of activities can also be energizing, so even though you’re busy, you may find that you have more energy to put into your job search. 

Go to Networking Events

Find networking events in your area that are related to what you want to be doing, and start expanding your network. This is doubly true if you are trying to shift industries and have very few connections in your target role.

Networking events are also a great reason to get out of the house, talk to people, and feel like you are taking steps in a positive direction. You never know who you might meet that will lead to something positive.

Also read: How to Master the Art of Networking

Don’t be Afraid to Tell People You’re Looking for Work

Unemployment is often stigmatized, but if you share that you’re looking for work, you might be surprised at the help you receive! Even if your friends and family don’t work in your industry, they might just know someone who does. And having people in your corner can make you feel a lot less alone throughout the whole process. It’s also helpful to be honest about what’s going on in your life.  Talking about it with loved ones can be very cathartic, and open you up to more opportunities. 

Also read: When You Should Apply for a Job Even If You Don’t Meet the Minimum Requirements

Get a Part-Time Job

Even if you’ve been able to rack up some savings, after a few months of unemployment you may find yourself needing a way to earn an interim income.

Getting a part-time job that provides some influx of cash can take a lot of the pressure off of your job hunt. You don’t want to be put in a position where you feel like you have to take the first thing that comes along. A part-time job will also provide some more structure to your days and keep you busier! With the amount of freelance and independent contractor work available, a part-time job could even be something that you do right from your computer. 

Also read: This Small Interview Mistake Will Keep You From Getting the Job

During your interviews

Be honest

It’s also extremely important to be honest about your unemployment gap. Employers realize that events happen that keep you out of a job for a while 

Talk about what you did do

It’s important to be able to communicate your period of unemployment well to future employers. Whether you left to take care of family, because of a disability, took a year to travel, or just had a hard time finding your next gig, being able to explain the purpose of your gap during an interview will be crucial. This is why it’s important to stay busy during your unemployment period. This will show employers that you still had a purpose and stayed busy.

Move on

While it’s important to address your unemployment gap, don’t dwell on it. As soon as you explained your situation, move on to talking about how your skills apply to the job and what you bring to the company.

Long periods of unemployment can be extremely difficult and it’s hard to know how to cope. There’s no perfect formula, and different tactics will work for everyone in different ways, but we hope that some of these tips will help you get through your phase of unemployment. Best of luck and happy searching!