In the bad-old days of Western psychology, people like Sigmund Freud might have treated your depression by encouraging you to lie down on a couch and tell him about your mother. Today, however, there’s a new body of research that suggests that therapy for depression is often most effective when it is solution-oriented. If you’re unemployed and depressed at the same time, it probably feels like an extra burden – but the approach to a solution is almost always the same.
Unemployed and Depressed – Between a Rock and a Hard Place
If you’re unemployed and depressed, and feeling blue because you have no immediate job prospects, you really have two options: you can stay secluded, maybe tell a friend or two that you’ve got problems, or you can can tackle your depression directly. You’re not alone. Depression is serious; throw in unemployment, and anyone would be tempted to quit. But people in your situation, who have decided to go to any lengths to take a solution-oriented attitude surprise themselves. Seek professional help for depression, if necessary. It’s not unusual and treatments tend to make a difference in weeks, not months. But most people who are unemployed and depressed typically solve their problem with medical intervention. As stated above, the secret seems to be in changing your mindset from a problem-oriented one to a solution-oriented one. Instead of labeling yourself “unemployed and depressed,” consider these tips for beating the unemployment blues by looking at the many “opportunities” your unemployment has brought you.
An opportunity to further your education.
Maybe you always wanted to earn a college degree or study a new field, but life kept getting in the way and you could just never find the time. Now that you’re unemployed, it’s the perfect time to pursue a bachelor’s or AA degree. An AA degree, or Associate of Arts degree, is typically a two-year commitment that can often be finished faster if you are highly motivated. Especially if you have no college degree, earning an associate degree might be the perfect way to help you find a job again.
You may worry that you’re too old for college or you won’t be able to pay for it. However, many others just like you have overcome these obstacles and have earned college degrees later in life. Talk to an advisor at a college or online university about ways you can pay for college and take classes at your own pace.
Do all those things around the house you’ve been meaning to do — and earn money at the same time.
You’ve been telling your spouse for years that you would get around to cleaning out the attic, the garage and/or the basement. You’ve been meaning to thin out your closet, clear out space on your bookshelf and get rid of that juicer that you only used two times. Now that you’re unemployed, you finally have the time to do these things. Why not earn a little extra money while you’re at it? This doesn’t mean that you stop putting a couple hours aside each day to network and polish your resume.
On his popular blog ManVsDebt.com, Adam Baker details how he and his wife cleared mounds of consumer debt by going through all their stuff and selling it on places like Craigslist and eBay. One of the site’s most popular posts is entitled “How I paid off $15,000 in 9 months by selling my ‘Stuff’ on eBay.”
While selling stuff on eBay or Craigslist is certainly not a long-term solution to your unemployment problem, it might serve to make you feel a little less depressed and get you away from watching day-time TV for a few hours. After you’ve sold a few things on eBay, your accomplishments – even if small – could motivate to put some positive energy back into your job search.
Use your unemployment to turn your hobby into cash.
Thanks to the Internet, even if you’re unemployed and depressed, it’s possible these days to turn nearly any hobby into cash. Whether you like to crochet, make quilts, refinish old furniture, fix cars, weave baskets or write novels, you can make money from all those years of tinkering around you’ve been doing in the basement or spare bedroom.
Take the example of Ana White. Ana is an Alaskan homemaker who had a hobby of building her own furniture. She thought other moms might be interested in her furniture plans, so she started a blog and started posting plans online. Before she knew it, she’d gotten over a million visitors to her blog. Today, that blog is a lucrative money-maker for Ana and her family.
Conclusion: Make Unemployment Fun Instead of Daunting
In today’s economy, it might take you longer than you would like to find a job again, but being unemployed and depressed could actually be a launching pad to something new. Losing your job, especially if you deeply enjoyed your work or had your job for a long time, can be frightening and overwhelming. It’s understandable that you might feel a little blue at first. However, just because you’re out of work doesn’t mean you have to stay depressed.
Take your first small step towards your new life today. Pick up the phone to talk to an advisor about finally getting your college degree, put on some work gloves and start clearing the basement, or think about turning your hobby into cash. By taking a solution-oriented approach, being unemployed and depressed could be used as a challenge to looking for the positive side of all the extra time you now have. Kick your depression and turn your unemployment into an unexpected adventure.