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How can I navigate the stress of unemployment and undertaking a new job search when I feel depressed?

12 Answers
Last Updated: 03/01/2021 at 2:56am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Danielle Gonzales, PsyD


Hello! My name is Dani, I am a Psychologist and registered Psych Assistant. I have a passion for helping a different types of clients from all diverse backgrounds!

Top Rated Answers
December 17th, 2014 4:32am
If you live in the United States, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. Contact your local DVR office. Also use your local libraries and job centers. They can be wonderful resources! Sometimes there are programs that may not be as well known as DVR, such as WIA.
September 24th, 2014 1:35pm
focus on where you want to be in one years time and make small realistic and achievable steps that bring you closer to your goal. remember- they have to be realistic goals...
October 13th, 2014 5:27am
Exercise helps a lot - or at least a little. Any physical activity can help you get out of your head for a little while and feel a sense of motion again, which can be the spark that ignites a new course of action.
January 4th, 2015 12:45am
Give it time. Go slow. Don't try to do too much, too fast. Write down a list of your skills and strengths so you can feel better and prepare for interviews.
November 3rd, 2014 2:56am
Remember, with depression, little steps are the most vital. Set a small goal for yourself - getting out of a bed early in the day. Build up with these small goals until you feel more comfortable searching for a job.
November 4th, 2014 8:41am
Try not to view it as a negative: a job search is an opportunity. Let the goal of finding a job light a fire underneath you and motivate you. Think of how much less depressed you will feel when you're active, working 9-5 (or whatever hours) on your feet, interacting, having a purpose. A job will get you to that. Take a day to sit down with a friend and go over your resume as if it's an art project. Make an activity of it. Review all 5-10 of your template cover letters and revise them. Your effort will be rewarded, and landing that sweet sweet job will deliver a serious blow to your depressive state.
December 7th, 2014 4:44am
Part of your depression is likely caused by the fact that you want to work. Not just in the field you want, but you just don't want to be unemployed. I'd suggest the best thing is to change you situation by getting either a part time job or, better yet, a temporary full time job. A lot of times the temp job turns into a permanent position. Depression is often an issue of a loss of direction and too much time to think about being in that situation. Just recognize that your depression is actually an emotion telling you that you really do want to work. You want a something to occupy your time and you know that when you get a job, you will likely do it well. If you were unemployed and content, you'd be a bum right? That's not you. You want to work! Find something you get a tangible benefit from and do your best at it and you can be proud of yourself again :)
December 22nd, 2014 5:37am
Yeah, that's a very tough question . . . I've been there and it is indeed hard. I would say you just have to get up and do it, even though you may not feel quite up to par. It could also be that your unemployment is one of the factors that is actually making you depressed. I know for sure that one of the worst things you can do when you feel depressed is to sit around and sulk, because then you start to fixate on it and sink deeper into it. So, just go out and do it. There really isn't any harm in at least attempting.
January 8th, 2015 1:13am
Look for positive things in your life, Don't forget that this is always can find some Good in the Bad and also Bad in the Good.
May 6th, 2015 12:12am
I've been unemployed plenty of times and I understand the toll it can take on your feeling of self-worth. "What's wrong with me? Why doesn't anyone want to hire me?" When you're job hunting, a day feels like a week. One rejection feels like 10. Remind yourself frequently of your reality when your thoughts try to exaggerate. If you think "I've been unemployed forever" remind yourself that "forever" isn't accurate. If you think "No one wants to hire me" remind yourself that unless you've been turned down by every employer in every country in the world, that can't be true. When you start to think "I'm so poor", try to remember that if you have access to clean water, enough food, electricity, and indoor plumbing, you're better off than millions of people who don't have those things. In first world countries, we often forget how lucky we are.
July 4th, 2016 12:52pm
Depression takes a toll on our emotions of feeling worthwhile and of our energy level. So it's hard to tell ourselves that we can get another job while making ourselves move to get up to find a new job. In my experience with depression, it's taking things a step at a time. With today's day and age of the internet, checking on or to see if there is anything in your area, or even when you could move to. Take one step at a time. Brush up your resume, so that when you do have the opportunity to apply, you can submit it at the same time. Many agencies have online applications even, so it's possible to be able to do most of your hunting from the comfort of home. Because of the depression, try to set a goal where you can apply to X number of potential employers per day. If you are doing okay and want to apply for more, go for it! For those you need to get out and apply for, push yourself to get in the shower and dress up like you want a job, even when you don't feel like it. Avoid the comfy clothes like jeans and sweats unless applying for a position where that would be the standard work attire. Here's to your success and taking steps one at a time to find your new job.
March 1st, 2021 2:56am
This one is right in my wheelhouse, having been unemployed several times and for the past 8 years been actively working as a certified career coach. Each time I was unemployed, I sought out the FREE resources in my community that offered help in the areas of: one-on-one job counseling and resume prep, classes in job search, classes to upskill, interviewing skills and the like. Just taking baby steps like that, and even baby steps are forward motion, got me moving in the right direction. And as in therapy, I was surrounded by people who were experiencing the same challenges as I was. And we could exchange contact information and support each other outside of class. Also, the Workforce New York offices, and there are places like this all over the world, offered, in the pre-pandemic era, a place to get dressed and go to as if we were still going to a job. A daily destination to make me get up, get ready and out the door. Of course, now, during lockdown, it is harder to accomplish this, and I always suggest to my clients that they change out of their sleep attire, and even if it's just getting into fresh pajamas, seriously, even if just that, it makes you feel different. If you can manage to put on some clothes, and if they are work clothes, great, if not, it's still great, you will shift your mood. It worked for me. And, on some days, all I could manage was to put the coffee on and check my newsfeed and emails, and get back into bed. And that was okay too. Because even that represented progress.