Whether you are unemployed, underemployed, or employed but worried... How do you keep your morale?


Here's a few excerpts from a forum I read on how to maintain your morale and sanity during the job search. These are really great so I am passing them on to you.




Watch Jay Leno on the Tonight show. Laughter really helps in keeping up
morale and your sanity. It is hard to be depressed when you are rolling
over with laughter. I especially like his skits on the foibles of people
such as Headlines and Jaywalking. Leno is not the only comedian around
and if you are not laughing with him, then there are others such as his
arch rival, David Letterman. The key is to put yourself into a situation
where laughter is unavoidable. Studies have shown that laughter reduces
stress hormones such as cortisol.

Social dancing of any kind removes stress because you
totally forget the past and do not think about the future :). You are
completely focused on your movement and your positive emotions. Regular
dancing keeps you in the emotional and physical shape. The level of physical
load can be easily adjusted depending on your age and health. Just find the
right place to do it so that you feel comfortable with the environment.

Another, very different and passive activity that relaxes well is watching
tropical fish in a fish tank. It is amazing how much it takes your thoughts
away from any reality. I do not suggest to stare at the fish for the rest of
your life, but ten to fifteen minutes can sometimes make a difference in how
you feel.

One idea that I'll throw out: read books

Turn off the TV which is full of negative news and high-stress, low-quality shows and get lost in good reading.

With work and family, my reading time had shrunk down to only when I was sitting on airplanes for work, then my business travel tapered off -- so no reading at all. I have just recently rediscovered that there are so many books and topics of interest whether it be professional, career-interests, historical, biographical or pure fiction. When you read you are not harassed every 4.1 minutes by commercials, and your brain actually gets to create its own imagery.

Google search for "reading lists" and a topic, find titles that pique your interest and then just borrow it from the library (how long has it been since you were even in a library?) -- and when you borrow from a library you are not obligated to read through a whole lame book too!

More beauties of the public library:

- You find books in the "new books" section that you would never have found otherwise.

- You are forced to finish with the book -- either read all, part, or none -- and get rid of it.

- You see all the enthusiastic kids there -- which is uplifting.

Another way is to volunteer for charities that interest you.

You'll feel better about yourself which improves your self esteem, it helps you realize how truely lucky most of us are, the networking is productive and fun, volunteer isn't generally stressful, and as a bonus feature -- you're making a difference with individuals, your community or the world.

Not to mention, it keeps you away from the TV and all the bad news! ;-)

HR and career coaches say that if you volunteer for several months, you will get a job because of the new contacts you make.

This worked for me. I started to volunteer at a local public radio station (non-profit), and now I manage the place. You never know where you'll end up. It wasn't my intention to try and work in radio, it just sort of came my way, but it's really fun. Music has always been my passion outside of the 'day job'. Now I'm surrounded by it.

Volunteer at non-profits - they always need help, and there are many paid opportunities in this sector. Also, follow your passions and see where they lead you.

Some of us have done poorly in keeping physically active, especially in times of stress. I found this to be a great time to finally add in the work-out I "never had time for" before I retired. I never would drive to the exercise club or to the track or park. So...I finally asked my spouse, a former athlete in his youth, to help devise an exercise program for me that involved only hand held weights that could all be done at home. Put on some music and go for it!

Here's mine, if you want a starting point. Increase reps as desired. Skip or alternate days. (Just think back to all those weird things your middle school gym teacher had you do....)

1. Arm lifts.
2. Squat thrusts. (Google this - its weird but great!)
3. Side arm lifts.
4. Push ups.
5. Bicycles. (Lay on back, raise legs up and bike.)
6. Modified sit-ups.
7. Back arm lifts.
8. End with random dance to the music.

One thing someone I truly admire did in this situation was to decide what to focus on, and he found three areas.

One focus was on things that had been allowed to slip -- for example, he reviewed all his family's medical bills and found many that the insurance company had not paid -- he actually made his monthly salary a couple of times in this effort.

Another thing he did was to focus on things that had been left undone around the house -- he got satisfaction (and a lot of gratitude) from doing things even as small as replacing a light bulb in an out-of-the-way-but-important-for-visibility lamp because it had been niggling both him and his spouse.

His final area of focus was to study what was "hot" in the job market at the time. Ultimately he managed to retool himself and got a job in a different discipline than that from which he came, and ended up with a better job than he lost.