Dumb Little Man

7 Smart Strategies To Deal With Unemployment

Having been retrenched in 2018 after being with a company for 17 years was quite frightening. I have just turned forty-nine, which have put me in the age bracket where finding employment is exceedingly difficult. Being hard of hearing has also limited me with regards to the positions I can apply for.

Coping was extremely hard, especially as time wears on. Because you do not receive any feedback on your applications, you quickly start losing confidence in your abilities and struggle to stay positive.

In 2020, millions lost their jobs due to the pandemic and the lockdowns enforced worldwide. The resulting economic downturn made it even more difficult to find employment or generate an income working for yourself.

How do you cope with this situation that is so stressful and emotionally draining?

Sleep, Nutrition, and Exercise

deal with unemployment

This is a time that you need to take care of yourself.

Now more than ever, it is essential to get enough sleep. Matt Walker states in his Ted Talk Sleep is your superpower, that sleep is essential for many reasons like learning and memory, cardiovascular health, immunity, and your overall wellness.

That said, the stress of your situation and an overactive mind could make it hard to fall asleep. If this continues for too long, it may severely impact your ability to function. To help you to fall asleep, create a bedtime routine: set a specific time to go to bed and to rise in the morning. Avoid using your digital devices an hour before bed.

Have a hot bath to help you relax and engage in calming activities like listening to music. For some people reading in bed might help to fall asleep, but only hard copies. You can also opt to use a digital device that does not emit blue lights.

You should also consider natural solutions like chamomile or rooibos tea, and meditation. Another natural remedy is journaling, which helps by getting all your thoughts down on paper.

As a last resort, consider asking your doctor for medication to relax you and help you to sleep. But use it only when necessary to avoid the danger of becoming dependent on it.
Also, eat healthy and nutritious food. Fruits and vegetables provide you with essential vitamins and minerals to stay strong and healthy. For example, vitamin B helps to combat depression, while vitamin C and zinc strengthen the immune system.

Regular exercise is essential to deal with feelings of depression, anxiety, and frustration. It helps to get all the stress hormones out of your body and calm your mind. Cycling is a good option to consider. The repetitive action of pedalling helps to organise your mind, for which you will often discover innovative ideas and insights while out riding.

Upgrade your knowledge and skills

Even if finances are tough, try to upgrade your knowledge and skills and learn as much as possible. The internet contains a wealth of information about various subjects and you will be able to learn a lot from just accessing free material like blog posts, free eBooks, webinars, etc.

If you subscribe to receive a free eBook and you do not like the newsletter, it is easy to unsubscribe. But sometimes the information in these emails might be useful, especially the ones relating to self-help and self-improvement.

As far as courses go, Udemy has many different courses, which is often discounted to as little as R180 (about $12) per course. It gives a detailed breakdown of the course content and most courses have plenty of reviews to help you decide if a course is worth taking.

Also, look out for the LinkedIn trial offer – a free month to access many useful courses offered on LinkedIn Learning. Just remember to cancel the subscription before the first billing takes place. You will lose access to all the material after cancelling, so make sure to make notes of valuable information.

Budget and Finances

Financially you need to look at your budget with a sharp eye and see if there are any items that you could save on. Cut all luxury items like subscription services, DSTV, etc. But ensure that you do have a reasonable amount of data available every month as a lot of job hunting can be accomplished online.

Also, look at entertainment expenses like eating out or going to the movies. Buy good, healthy food and prepare it yourself. If the family joins in with the cooking, it may become a precious and long-remembered family time.

Confide in somebody you trust

It is important to find a person you trust to share your feelings with, somebody who will be prepared to listen without judgment. It’s important to have someone who’ll listen and understand, especially when the emotional part becomes extremely difficult to deal with.

This can possibly lead to having very dark and negative thoughts, which is not easy to control. This person must not be scared to listen to this. It is not so much about getting advice but having someone who will listen when you need to talk.

Family, Friends, and Hobbies

Spend enough time with your family and friends as they are your biggest support group. Look for activities that do not cost a lot of money. A daily walk gives you some precious talking time and much-needed exercise. Preparing meals together is a fun activity. Pack it all in a basket and have a picnic in the backyard under the stars.

Many a winter night may be whiled away with games like Scrabble, chess and many more. Building puzzles and doing crosswords is a challenge and helps to keep your brain sharp!
Find time for hobbies and do things that you enjoy.

To break the monotony of job hunting or working on your own business, set aside some time for that hobby that you always wanted to start but never had the time. The possibilities are endless: photography, writing (start a blog or write a book if you dare), scrapbooking, woodwork, knitting or crocheting. It may very well become your next career.

Join support groups

Joining support groups on Facebook and WhatsApp is also beneficial. It helps to know that you are not the only one in this situation, and others are also experiencing the same challenges and fears that you are facing.

Because you are all in the same situation, it is easier to share your feelings and get encouragement. These groups assist by sharing information and referring people in the group to their different networks.


Networking is critical. Attend as many social events and group meetings as possible in your area. It does not necessarily have to be a professional group. It is important to get your name out there, talking to many people as possible. They might just know of or hear about a potential opportunity or job opening and refer you as a candidate.

Finding a job is hard, but perseverance does pay off in the end. You can give up or you can keep striving. Add all your new-found skills and knowledge to your CV, optimize your LinkedIn profile, keep it updated, and network with as many people as possible.

Keep active on social media to ensure that you stay visible since prospective employers look at candidates’ profiles these days. Make sure that your social media activities display you as the type of person that an employer would love to have as part of their team.

I hope things will go well for you and you find your dream job soon!

In the meantime – look after yourself, keep on looking for opportunities, and remember to spend enough time relaxing with your loved ones and doing the things you love!

Which one of these tips will you do today to help you cope until you find your next opportunity?

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