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Published:August 14th, 2009 20:00 EST
Making the Most of Unemployment

Making the Most of Unemployment

By Daniel Marsche

It takes only a minimal amount of online searching to discover the affects of unemployment upon the psyche of the displaced worker.  Low self-esteem, depression and anxiety can riddle even the most optimistic of men and women when facing the financial uncertainties of a faltering economy and limited prospects for gainful employment.  Overeating, increased alcohol consumption and substance abuse can become viable routes of escapism (even for those who held no previous disposition to such behaviors). 

These pitfalls, however, are common, human responses, and, if you have found yourself either tempted or in the midst of making such indulgences, understand that you are not alone - and do not hesitate to seek guidance and/or attend an appropriate group meeting pertaining to your specific situation.  There is no shame in behaving humanly or being susceptible to behaviors associated with the human condition.  The key, though, is to remain mindful of what you`re doing and the underlying compulsion(s) that are influencing you to do so.

So, how can self-esteem be maintained - or resurrected - during times of unemployment? 

First and foremost, it is essential to keep your mind where your body is.  Do not dwell in the past or project your thoughts to the future.  The future is, after all, the present tense that will be experienced later on.  And, upon arrival, the "future" becomes the "now," and this renders NOW the only operational moment available to us.  So make the most of now and keep your mind where your body is.  Functioning in the present tense and mindfully choosing your experience of the moment is empowering and keeps one firmly rooted in the realm of possibility and action; in the operational moment. 

Second:  Explore your passions.  There are only so many hours in the day that can be dedicated to job hunting, so, once you`ve made a go of it and the remainder of the day is yours, dedicate yourself to pursuing the things that you would do, "if you didn`t have to work."  Do more than contemplate the pursuit, make the pursuit.  Do an online search of the topic and call a listed representative to make an inquiry of the steps to be followed in order to get involved and create the experience.  Go to the library and check out the books pertaining to your passion(s) and goal(s), talk to like-minded people and find the network of individuals that can help make your "would do" list a "have done" reality.  The long and short is:  Explore your passions and see where they lead.

Third:  Accomplish something every day.  Whether it`s cleaning out the closets or experimenting with a new recipe, do something that can be started and completed on the same day.  Achievements, great or small, are achievements and lend to a sense of capability, vitality and esteem.  Make it a point to be pro-active and create tasks or activities that will fulfill your need to feel good about yourself.  Alphabetize your DVD`s and CD`s, get some material and a pattern and sew a pair of shorts together or volunteer for an hour or more at a local organization or charity group.  The point is:  Even the smallest of achievements can garner great emotional dividends. 

Fourth and lastly:  Give yourself permission to enjoy the change.  Whether you`re going to be out of work for one week or eight months or even longer, allow yourself to take pleasure in the time you have to explore your new direction, indulge in your passions and create your own sense of achievement.  Unemployment can most certainly impact your pocketbook.  It need not, however, diminish your zest for life or sense of adventure. 

For an in-depth journey of self-discovery, please take a look at "Self in Script" at - The workshop is free, and it`s all about you.