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Jeani's Top 5 ~ Positive Things to do While Unemployed

Updated on July 21, 2012

Introduction loss of control. These are just a few of the immediate emotions that surrounded me upon learning of my recent change of employment status ~ full-time to unemployed. There were so many unknowns looming around me, how will I provide for my daughter and I financially, what about health insurance, when will I find employment again?

The sense of having no control over my life was so consuming I found myself suddenly tired, depressed and unmotivated with an over-all negative attitude. One morning I realized none of this was helping me obtain employment, helping my family, or giving me back control of my was simply making me a rather miserable person to be around.

I like to think of myself as an overall positive person who people enjoy being around. I decided I wasn't going to let a situation out of my control, such as my school closing, change who I was. In order to to this I needed to identify things I could control and focus my energies on those.

So here you go, my top 5 positive activities to do while unemployed:

1. Try to establish financial security for the basics

This was probably one of the hardest ones for me to do. I had worked hard obtaining my education so I could be employed and not need government assistance. I finally realized though that because I had been employed I had paid into these programs so that when people fell on hard times like I had now they could use them.

After applying for unemployment I wanted to get health insurance established for my daughter and I. I applied for and qualified for insurance through my state, but talking to a local agent or seeking an online insurance quote may also give you some options.

My mortgage is my largest monthly expense and a huge worry for me. After talking with my lender I learned I was eligible for a mortgage subsidy which lowered my monthly payment. Talk with your lender, or explore other banks and mortgage lenders to see if there are ways you can lower your monthly housing costs.

Credit cards are often a double sided sword, can be helpful with unexpected expenses, but can also create enormous stress if they are maxed out. If credit card debt is a worry for you look into credit counseling or debt consolidation programs for assistance in paying them off.

2. Update resume and register with employment agencies

While I can not control when and if someone hires me I can control having my application packet updated and ready to go. One of the first things I did was update my resume, cover letter and reference sheet making sure licensure, employment, and education information were all current.

Next I registered with my county's job search agency and entered all my employment information into their database. Not only did this allow me to search and apply for jobs with them, but also provided me with additional job seeking resources such as career fairs, free interest surveys and career counseling.

Online employment sites ate also great resources for getting your information out to employers. I found that once you had your resume, cover letter and reference sheet complete you could quickly register with multiple sites.

3.  Job training and Education 

Now is a great time to continue your education or perhaps even gain job training in a different field. I was close to completing my Maters in Education and obtaining my Director of Special Education and Pupil Services Certification when I found myself unemployed. I used this time to focus full-time on completing both of these.

I also started thinking of a trade I could gain training in, something completely different than what I had been doing in order to expand my options for employment. Check out local colleges, universities and technical schools for programs you might be interested in. if you don't have any nearby, check out online ones, they make going back to school easy and many have financial assistance available.

4.  Health & Fitness

Anyone I know always seems to have some sort of health and fitness goal, exercise more, lose 10 pounds, eat healthier, etc. Quickly following that goal is often the excuse, " I just don't have time to...". Well here you go, you now have lots of time and most of these goals can be done for little to no cost.

This is a great time to establish good healthy habits that will be easier to continue after you start working again. Take walks, plan weekly menus, eat dinner in rather than out are just a few quick and easy things you can do to start living a healthier lifestyle.

Maybe sign up with a weight loss program to help you get started. Most have face-to-face as well as online options. While long-term memberships are usually cheaper per month in the long run, most offer month-by-month plans also. Most will include tips on getting started, recipes, and how to maintain what you have started.

5. Organize your house

Everybody has that "To-Do" that seems to have items added faster than crossed off. Many of these things require very little money, but lots of time. Take this time you now have to cross some of these items off. Clean out that catch-all room, wipe down walls, clean windows, organize closets, whatever.

Maybe your ready and motivated to make some changes. Googling "organize" or "clutter free home" or your favorite home improvement TV show may give you some fun and exciting ways to give your house a fresh, and inexpensive makeover.

Not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment for crossing off items on your list, you will also have a stress free environment to relax in once you go back to work.


Being unemployed is stressful for anyone. You probably have very little control over why you are unemployed and when you will be employed again. It is important to find positive things that you can do during this time to not only improve your life, but also keep your spirits lifted. Everyone always says they wish they had more time, now you do, use it productively and positively!


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    • Jeani Nugent profile image

      Jeani Nugent 5 years ago from Cumberland, Wisconsin

      It is definitely comforting finding others that understand what I am going thru. I wish that we could bond over another circumstance, but have found it is easier to stay positive with the support of family, friends, and now the Hub Community. In a world full of rejection letters it is nice to find a forum where people are supportive and encouraging.

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 5 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      This was a comfort to read knowing that I'm not on my own. I've been out of work since 2010 . I've struggled to deal with all the feelings you describe. The feelings of low self worth are a daily struggle not to mention the financial aspect. I am a voluntary deputy manager at Oxfam which I love but sadly, it doesn't pay the bills. I have de- cluttered (very therapeutic) and started to walk more or use my bicycle sometimes. Sadly, so many people judge you on how much money you have, then again, I suppose people that shallow aren't worth worrying about!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I'm having a similar experience with unemployment to yours, and I have taken many of the steps you describe. I've been out of work since November 2011, and this is them most unstructured time I've had in 30 years. I must say, I'm not lacking in things to do, or being bored, but the financial aspect is a tough challenge.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      I lost my teaching job almost 2 years ago and have yet to find another in this economy and job market. Decided to stay home to take care of my 2 kids and not put them in day care to barely be able to afford if I took a less paying position. Anyway, definitely a great read and quite informative. Can totally relate to this one. Voted and shared too.

    • Jeani Nugent profile image

      Jeani Nugent 5 years ago from Cumberland, Wisconsin

      Thanks Victoria! Definitely not what I had planned, but am taking this time to re-evaluate, re-organize and move forward. After reading some of your hubs I would say you are well on your way to getting the next phase of your life started :)


    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great hub! I lost my full-time job about 6 months ago, and there are a lot of emotions to deal with for sure. I haven't had the time to really organize my house, although I want to, or exercise too much or anything else because I'm trying to get my freelance writing career off the ground. It's hard, but I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that I'll get it going and have more of that free time later.

      Thanks for writing this. You give some great suggestions. I also applied for unemployment and updated my resume right away, too.

      Many votes and sharing!