There are a number of things you can do to put you in a better place - things outside of actually applying for, and finding, work.
Looking for work can be a frustrating experience; it can be hard on the wallet, and even harder on the soul. But there are a number of things you can do to put you in a better place - things outside of actually applying for, and finding, work.
Maintain a routine. According to psychologist Michelle McCormack from PC Psychology, “maintaining some kind of structure to your day will prevent you from falling into bad habits.” So aim to wake up and get to bed at set hours, have consistent meal times, and work on something for a certain number of hours per day.
Find a charity you feel passionate about and contribute. “It’s easy for self-esteem to take a hit when you feel like you’re not achieving anything, or that your day is without purpose,” says McCormack. “Volunteering can give you that purpose.” Such work may also broaden your skills base, build workplace experience and show potential employers you have a strong work ethic.
Whether it’s a weekly card game with friends, or attending a regular book club, keeping up with your hobbies is important. “Don’t underestimate the positive influence they can have,” says McCormack. “Hobbies can provide something to focus your attention on and can be a source of fun and pleasure - a great antidote to the negative feelings one may feel during times of unemployment.”
Being active has many psychological benefits - from the initial release of serotonin, to the longer-lasting effects of reduced stress, increased energy levels and improved mood. Exercise also stimulates parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning, which are integral to getting into the right mindset for work.
Create, and a stick to, a budget. This will solve your short-term cash flow issues and get you into some good long-term habits. According to chartered accountant Ben Melin from Crowe Horwath, “Sometimes it’s not until you hit financial hardship that you learn the importance of effective financial management.” Melin suggests reviewing budgets monthly to “ensure accountability”.
With regular workday hours now available to you, take the time to review your investments. “It’s the perfect opportunity to assess your banking,” says Melin. “Are you getting the best interest rate with your savings? If you have a home loan, are you getting the most competitive rate?
Take the opportunity to look at other options out in the market and make a switch if necessary. Melin also recommends combining all those miscellaneous superannuation accounts to save money on fees. “You can make long-term gains if you put the time into it.”
Use the time off to up-skill with career-focused courses and workshops, which will make you more attractive to employers. We recommend General Assembly if you are in Melbourne or Sydney. Workshops can also be extremely enjoyable and great networking opportunities.
Photography: Jake Roden