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Surviving Unemployment (aka How I Stayed Sane)

Surviving unemployment might seem a bit melodramatic of a title, but bear with me: unemployment is only fun is you know that there is an end to it. Otherwise, unemployment is a highly stressful time: it is only “FUNemployment” if there is an elective aspect of it. How did I survive unemployment with some semblance of sanity?

Linking up with Amanda to Think Out Loud!

Surviving Unemployment : How to Stay Sane and Productive

The first week of unemployment is fine: you feel like you are on vacation, you still have the momentum of being in the workforce to keep you going, and you just kind of revel in the fact that you can make your own lunch, watch TV (SO MUCH NETFLIX), workout whenever, and never change out of your pj’s, if you so please. 

Surviving unemployment: how do you stay sane during unemployment? How do you deal with the inertia and depression? @Suzlyfe offers tips for how to survive unemployment with your sanity intact. Suzlyfe.com

But then, the shoe drops. And you realize that there are only so many hours that you can devote to Deep Couch City (love that kiddo in the Swiffer Commercial). Everyone else is working, so they aren’t necessarily available, and you are on a budget, so, no, shopping or going to expensive group fitness classes isn’t the best course of action. Nor is going out to lunch everyday, going to the movies, going to museums… all of the things that you finally have time for. And, well, it is more fun to do those things with someone else, most of the time. 

How do you fill the hours? How do you stay mentally engaged?

Decide the Course of Your Future

First and foremost, you search for jobs, write and revise your resumes and cover letters, and question the course of your work, past, present, and future. Now is your chance to strike out and claim your dream job, but a) what is that dream job? b) are you even “qualified”? c) if not, how do you get someone to take a chance on you? d) WHERE DO YOU EVEN START.

Lady Gaga knows how to start the day with confidence.

Start here.

Basically, you balance the busy work of filling out job applications with the mental crisis of not even knowing what jobs to apply for. That means applying for everything from working at a Doggy Day Care to being the brand manager for a start up. You apply to seemingly safe options and reach pipe-dreams. Some you hear from immediately, others never. You hear from the reach options and not from the safeties (I’m still waiting to hear from the doggy day care). 

You vacillate between hope and THIS WILL NEVER WORK. It is lovely, really it is. 

You have to go wholeheartedly into anything. A great life quote by Frank Lloyd Wright. Suzlyfe.com

But you must go through it. This is part of surviving unemployment: getting out of it, and figuring out who you are in the process. Or, at the very least, questioning and discovering who you have been and who you want to be.

Establish Some Sort of Routine

Those of us who need help surviving unemployment are likely those that have trouble on some level with a lack of routine. It is highly likely that we were previously in a situation that had a degree of normalcy, and unemployment completely upsets that equilibrium and expectation of long term stability. Each day is open, but each day also has requirements; you are still programmed to work on some level, but you also have some desire to revolt against the routine that you have just left. 

One of my favorite motivational quotes: Never Throw in the Towel. Use it to wipe of the Sweat, then keep going! Get more inspiration at suzlyfe.com

My advice? Even if it is loose, establish parameters and some sense of routine, for the day: pick a time to wake up, workout, a general lunch and dinner plan, and designated time to relax. This designated relaxation time will come into play in a minute, but if you go free for all every day for a long time, think about what happens when you have to go back to a routine. 

But Open Yourself Up to Spontaneity and Change Location. Frequently.

Unemployment is restrictive but also freeing: if you want to go for a walk in 37 minutes, you go, glen coco. You aren’t chained to that desk. Take advantage of opportunities for growth that wouldn’t otherwise be open for you. 

The world is your oyster: go out and seize the endless opportunities! Suzlyfe.com

As lovely as your home is, GET OUT OF IT. Put on real clothes, put on some make up, and leave the house. I had a rotation of coffee houses that I liked to go to, some close by, others a decent walk. Get fresh air in those lungs, movement in those legs, and a destination (even if it changes) in your mind. 

Embark on New Pursuits

There are two versions of new pursuits: pursuits that will also enhance your career or knowledge, and vanity projects. I say that you need a mix of both. I took on or considered a number of new projects that would be productive for my career pursuits (such as Running Coaches Corner, the new link up for runners and coaches on Thursdays), working with new clients, and a few others that are still in development. And then I had a few vanity projects in the works, fun little things that were just for me. 

Don't be these people

Don’t be these people

Reach out. Don’t Let Connections Fizzle

You are unemployed. You aren’t dead, or a leper. If nothing else, engage in social activities so that you don’t revert to being a Neanderthal, not to mention so that you can network and stay engaged in the world and healthy. 

Bloggers taking pictures of bloggers taking pictures of bloggers taking pictures of food. Typical.

Neanderthals 😀

You may not be ill, but you do need a support system. Reach out, talk about your frustrations. They are your friends and loved ones for a reason. You never know: maybe they can help in a new way.

Find a Way to Feel Productive Every Day

My biggest suggestion for surviving unemployment? Find a way to fee productive every single day. Because the inertia of being at a complete stop is like a heavy undertow: it just drags you down and down. Designate those times to relax because you deserve to relax and Netflix it up, but find something every day that you feel accomplished about, and tick one thing off your to-do list every day. And no, a complete season doesn’t count as that victory. 

If you succumb to nothing but naps and TV and aimlessness, you will get too comfortable, to adept at accepting and dealing with those feelings. Inertia is very very powerful.

This Momentum Jewelry Wrap was the perfect motivation I need to help keep going through my first week at work! #SharetheSpark and find out more at Suzlyfe.com @suzlyfe

Never. Give. Up. This is your life. Fight for it.

Unemployed? How to survive it and stay sane #fitfluential #sweatpink #motivaiton Click To Tweet

I have now been through several cycles of unemployment in my life. What about you?

If you have been unemployed, what was your experience? What did you struggle with?

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109 Comments

  • Reply Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    I think you hit the nail on the head with “have a routine”. For me, that is important for every aspect of my life, but especially when my life changes. Structure is important.

    March 15, 2016 at 5:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Especially when your life is in chaos.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:52 pm
  • Reply Run Colby run

    Having gone through 2 bouts of lay offs, finding yourself unemployed is one of the most stressful things that has ever happened to me. In my case(s), I adopted a Lady Gaga approach to it and werked it and every connection I had like it was my job. Because, it was. Finding a job became my job. If unemployment is due to your company’s downsizing remember: it was a business decision not a personal one. It doesn’t make it easier, but it does help your mindset and self worth. Let me know if that doggy day care position comes through. I’ll send you Drunk Otis! Xoxo

    March 15, 2016 at 5:59 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Haha I would dogsit Drunk Otis any time 😀 But you do have to believe in yourself and your future. And look for a job like it is your job. Totally.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:53 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    I would imagine that the first few days its nice to not have to go to work until it really hits you and you run out of things to do! Last summer I was in a lay-off period after my last grant-funded project ended while I waited to see if I could start on this new one. Since nothing was certain I did the job hunt thing but I still had to go to work every day since they were still paying me. It was stressful but definitely helpful to have a routine and a place to go everyday.

    March 15, 2016 at 5:59 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Seriously, especially because we had just come back from a vacation away from home, it was like PARTAY. Then it was like, crap, I have to figure this out!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:51 pm
  • Reply Christine @ Two Runners Travel

    Oh girl I wish we had lived close so we could have dealt with this together. I loved your comment about the inertia of being at a complete stop. So astute. It took me a while to find my rhythm of being productive but that was so important to the way I felt about myself and my day, having been so accustomed to “doing” a lot everyday while at work. So happy that you found a wonderful new job that’s a great fit for you!

    March 15, 2016 at 6:04 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Christine! And that would have been lovely if we had been closer together to collaborate about getting through everything!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    Haha! What a heat post theme. I totally agree with having some sort of routine. It really does help!

    March 15, 2016 at 6:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Routine is the best thing to lean on when you need it!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:48 pm
  • Reply Heather @Fitncookies

    All great advice, as usual. I have been there, too. As great as it sounds to not have to work, the days get long and boring. Doing the same thing with no one to really talk to gets hard! Great ideas to make sure to get out and have things to cross off your to do list!

    March 15, 2016 at 6:12 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Just that little feeling of productivity is so lovely!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:47 pm
  • Reply Jill

    I’ve only been laid off once and I remember feeling free but also incredibly lost and stressed. For awhile I didn’t know what to do (should I move? Get another job in finance? Search for something completely different?) so I felt paralyzed. But once I started actually taking action instead of just sitting there worrying about it I felt better. I never thought about how powerful inertia is until you wrote it down there! I’m so glad yours didn’t last long and that you found this perfect fit!

    March 15, 2016 at 6:21 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Lost is a perfect word, and I often copped to feeling lost and not knowing where to go next. I wanted to take action but didn’t know what action to take!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:47 pm
  • Reply Alicia

    Having a routine is definitely key. I would go to the gym mid morning then spend time at the grocery store and cooking and working on my resume. I also enjoyed a few weeks of vacation time when I was unemployed but I turned one vacation into a work-cation almost since I planned to move to a new city and played tourist while also meeting with recruiters. Once I had moved and settled that was when I got antsy to work again but since it took so long to get internet at my apartment I spent afternoons at the library which forced me to get to work on job hunting. I also enjoyed many walks and wpukd walk to a nearby park just to read and relax. Change of scenery helps a lot.

    March 15, 2016 at 6:30 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You have to get out and enjoy the freedom you have, but I know how you get antsy, just wanting results from SOMETHING

      March 15, 2016 at 1:46 pm
  • Reply Emily @ My Healthyish Life

    Although I am willingly choosing to partake in “funemployment” I still follow a lot of what you suggested here. Mainly, having some sort of routine and doing something productive. I know unemployment can be an incredibly stressful and not fun but I’m glad you were able to turn lemons into lemonade 😉

    March 15, 2016 at 6:48 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks, boo. There definitely are differences, but so many similarities.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:44 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    Great advice! I’ve been really blessed (or crazy…) I’ve never been anymore than a few days or so in between jobs for moving since I started working at 14. Although leaving my job at the TV station to be “self-employed” felt like this in a small way. But I had a project and a goal… so I never felt like I had down time.

    March 15, 2016 at 6:55 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And you have flourished!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:42 pm
  • Reply Heather@hungryforbalance

    Great tips! I’ve been through many unemployment cycles in my life as well, most recently when I decided to become a full time mama. The transition was tough for sure, but I think establishing a routine is the most helpful.

    March 15, 2016 at 7:00 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And then that routine serves you well as you are now a mama!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm
  • Reply Bri

    I haven’t been unemployed since 2005, when I quit my coffee shop job for a brief while and relied on student loans for cash so I could focus on my studies for a semester… which is a good thing but I also have wondered what it might be like to be TOTALLY free from responsibility for a change. I’ve always had a job, two jobs, or another job lined up before leaving the previous one because I’m so in debt haha.

    March 15, 2016 at 7:14 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      There is something nice to be free from responsibility, but you still have constraints that drive you crazy.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm
  • Reply neil@neilshealthymeals.com

    Ah, do you remember when I was unemployed circa start of last year? I was doing 3 recipe posts a week, it was fantastic! Lol. But seriously I think the thing to keep in your head is that when you’re unemployed, you have a new job. And that new job is a full time role itself, called, “Finding a New Job”! But it did make me fully realise that I’d love to be doing my blog full time. So that started the putting together of a 10 year plan to get to that state. I’m only in year one of that though. But it’s fun! 🙂

    March 15, 2016 at 7:47 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That is awesome! I love that. For me, I realized that I did NOT want to do my blog full time. It was nice to work on it so much, and I still want to grow, but I don’t want to do it 24/7 with that pressure. But you? GO FOR IT. You have the talent, you have the knowledge, DO IT

      March 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm
  • Reply Eric Nette

    I was unemployed immediately after graduation for about a year (2010-2011). I graduated in the fall and tried to push for my PhD following my MSc, but research funding dropped away from the government. We had already completely lost funding from commercial interests due to the financial crisis. I took on a part-time job doing research for 6 months, but the School decided that instead of a student researcher I was a “research contractor” so… they didn’t have to pay taxes OR even pay me on time (my first pay check was 3 months late, it got significantly worse, I survived on packs of bagels, literally starving at times, going to research talks for food because I hadn’t eaten in a day or two).
    I then spent 6 months job searching and generally trying to get myself in shape. I focused on routine, calling and applying in the morning/afternoon, and gaming in the night. I just started Enbrel, I had to quit Cymbalta cold turkey (it’s as bad as everyone says, no joke I am joining that law suit, they lied to us about the withdrawal and side effects), the woman I was engaged to after 4-5 years of going out left me, and then I had to move back in with my parents for 2-3 months at the end of it. At that time I lost a PhD opportunity in Ireland after several interviews, and I wasn’t getting a single call back. THEN my dad had an appendectomy that went south and he was in a coma for a month while I managed their home since my mom was at the hospital and we had just begun tearing up the house for renovations (contractors needed to be managed). I kept applying and applying, once he was in recovery I got 3 interviews and finally got my first real job in Texas (half the country away). It was hell, I wouldn’t suggest any of it.

    March 15, 2016 at 8:08 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You are a survivor. In every way. Not just in dealing with your disease but also just from this story. Goodness, gracious, my friend. I am humbled by this.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:33 pm
  • Reply Rae

    Ugh, I have been through several cycles of unemployment myself, and somehow it never seems to get easier. The last few times I was unemployed, I was also living in someone else’s house (friends or in-laws), so I didn’t even have my own space, or my own car. Talk about suffocating! I hope that I won’t have to re-enter the job market for a long, long time.

    March 15, 2016 at 8:20 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hope not, either! I was so lucky to have the safety and security of Alex, but I don’t know what I would have done otherwise. On the other hand, sometimes, you just need a moment.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm
  • Reply Kat

    Love this post! So on point – as always. I love what you said here “you are unemployed, not a leper.” How true is this? Ive never been unemployed so I can’t really touch on this other than to say that all of your tips would SO apply to me. I would probably wallow in self pity a bit because stepping back out into the world of jobs.

    March 15, 2016 at 8:24 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I definitely had moments of self pity, but I also just had to find the balance. Thank goodness for this blog, otherwise I think I would have succumbed, no doubt.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:30 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    I lost my job a couple years ago, but was blessed to find something even better. Great tips lady!

    March 15, 2016 at 8:26 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And that is the hope–that it leads somewhere better!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:18 pm
  • Reply Farrah

    These are all really great tips! I’m really bad about the keeping in touch with connections one–I always feel like I’m bothering my mentors/taking up their time, hahaha. x_x

    I haven’t been employed in many moons, but…soon! *-*!!!

    March 15, 2016 at 9:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      BECAUSE YOU MATCHEEEDD

      March 15, 2016 at 1:17 pm
  • Reply Suzy

    Really well-written. I relate a lot of what you said to being on maternity leave, or just staying at home in general to raise kids. Routine is everything. It makes me feel like a part of society, that I am engaged in real life and not stuck in some warped universe far away filled with puke and fishy crackers. If everything has SOME semblance of order, then each day doesn’t feel so much like a tailspin into insanity.

    March 15, 2016 at 9:19 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Exactly. Because that tailspin can take you to some really dark places that are hard to recover from.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:16 pm
  • Reply Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday

    Even though I’ve only really been a student, I definitely relate to the part about applying for ALL THE THINGS and not knowing what you’re even looking for. Hah. Sooo there right now. It sounds like you made the best of a not-fabulous situation and are now in a good place for you! And that’s what going through rough stuff is for 🙂

    March 15, 2016 at 9:41 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know you know it, girl (especially since our conversation). I like to think I made the most of my situation, but obviously there is always “more” you could have done. But I think that I did what was right for me.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:15 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    I remember when my dad was unemployed for a while, and he recounted a conversation he had had with his therapist. The therapist asked him what my dad was going to do, and Dad said “Look for a job, of course.” And the therapist said “No, but what are you going to DO? You need a project” which turned out to be totally right. While it’s absolutely important to focus your energies on looking for what’s next, I think you can also drive yourself crazy if you put 100% of your energy into that. So that was when my dad built a fireplace in our house! It was good for him to have a creative, fulfilling outlet, and I’ve always kept that advice in mind when I find myself idle.

    March 15, 2016 at 9:42 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You have to have those macrogoals (get a job) but also micro goals (stay busy, one step at a time). Having projects on various levels, helps so much.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:37 pm
  • Reply Jen

    Oh man, so many good thoughts here. I’m pretty sure I went through all of them last year when I was laid off. Having a plan and routine is huge, for sure. I also think it’s so important to really learn about yourself during that time as well. It’s crazy how much I learned (and still learn) about myself and how I operate. It was a REALLY tough season, but also a really good one!

    March 15, 2016 at 9:59 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I totally agree with you. It is so important to take the time to think about where you are, how you spend your time, and where you want to go next. I am thankful for the opportunity to do just that!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:13 pm
  • Reply Smitha @ Running with SD Mom

    Not everyone who is unemployed is as focused on the prize as you are and that takes grit, girl! You embody the never throw in the towel quote. You are pretty much awesome!

    March 15, 2016 at 10:40 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Takes one to know one!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:12 pm
  • Reply Erin @ Erin's Inside Job

    I love it. It’s so important to share those lessons with other people. Also, still so glad you got a job!

    March 15, 2016 at 10:59 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Me, too, lady. Me, too.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:10 pm
  • Reply Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment

    Great life tips during unemployment. I have been through it several times myself and you are right that a routine, perspective and keeping connected are huge to getting to the other side.

    March 15, 2016 at 11:37 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Otherwise, you basically become a hermit. It becomes way too easy to retreat into your hole, as it were.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    Great advice! I went through a period of unemployment after grad school, whichever morphed into the start of self-employment. Neither are easy and definitely require perseverance and focus. Thankfully I was married by the time I was unemployed so it wasn’t a financial struggle.

    March 15, 2016 at 11:54 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I don’t know what I would have done without Alex and his income. And I say “I” because my stress levels would have been even more ridiculous if income had come into it.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:10 pm
  • Reply lacey@fairytalesandfitness

    I was on unemployment a few yrs ago. And I didn’t t mind it. There were plenty of things I got to do that I would not have been able to do otherwise. I definitely kept myself busy.

    March 15, 2016 at 11:56 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You can definitely find ways to be busy and productive, but it was so stressful for me partially because I just didn’t know where to go next.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:09 pm
  • Reply Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    I definitely think it’s a great time to explore other opportunities and interests and definitely get out there and network/meet new people and make connection!

    March 15, 2016 at 12:00 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Why not! Just don’t bankrupt yourself!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm
  • Reply Lauren @ i had a big lunch

    It’s good you were able to maintain a (mostly) sane routine after the first week. Glad you hung out with Neanderthals like us 🙂

    March 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I will gladly swing clubs with you monkeys anytime.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm
  • Reply Ange @ Cowgirl Runs

    When I was unemployed 3 years ago, I applied to jobs like it was my fulltime job. It was awful and stressful and I was convinced I’d end up homeless in a box.

    March 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m not going to lie, I have been stressing in a big way about money. We are going to be moving, starting a family… I had several wake-up-in-a-sweat nights.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm
  • Reply Meranda@Fairytalesandfitness

    This was very well written and good advice for anyone that finds themselves in that position!

    March 15, 2016 at 12:45 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Meranda!

      March 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm
  • Reply Nicole @ Fitful Focus

    First of all, I’m so excited for you and your new job! Secondly, this post is great! Establishing some sort of routine and making each day productive are key, I think. Otherwise, it will be easy to slip into laziness, boredom and potentially depression!

    March 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I even started getting there myself! There are so many hours in the day, and we are productive people, so not being able to fill them is actually really difficult on us.

      March 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm
  • Reply GiGi Eats

    My goodness, I feel like you need to write a self-help book because a lot of your blog posts are so friggin’ helpful for so many people… Do I “smell” and e-book in your future?!

    March 15, 2016 at 5:28 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Haha, maybe one day, but then I’d have to figure out what exactly to write it on! But thank you 😀

      March 17, 2016 at 3:01 pm
  • Reply Jenn - a traveling Wife

    I’ve been there time and time again. And the dreaded, “Where do I apply? What job do I want to do?” Ha – I’ve definitely applied to a doggy daycare and several other random jobs, just because. It’s a tough role to take, being unemployed, but often times it’s short lived. 🙂

    March 15, 2016 at 6:33 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Those questions haunt me. I asked them myself so many times.

      March 17, 2016 at 2:58 pm
  • Reply Kristy @ Southern In Law

    This is such a great post! I’m not unemployed but owning my own business means that sometimes I have periods where work is slowwwwwwww so these things definitely apply then!

    March 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It can be hard to manage that time! But go you for owning your own business!

      March 17, 2016 at 2:57 pm
  • Reply Don

    Great post Susie. Great minds think alike because I wrote about basically the same thing this week.

    http://habitengineering.net/2016/03/permanentsaturday/

    You are further along than I am, but it’s encouraging to know other people successfully followed the process and came out better for it.

    March 15, 2016 at 8:14 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I can’t wait to read it! And yes, you can find advancement and positivity–I know that you are already on that road.

      March 17, 2016 at 2:56 pm
  • Reply Sam @ PancakeWarriors

    I have never been unemployed but have been working as on my personal business for a bit. It is tough for me to walk away from work for those little breaks and relaxation so these tips were actually a great reminder that it’s ok to take a break every once and awhile!

    March 15, 2016 at 8:32 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hey, think of it like training–you have to take rests in between sets, right?

      March 17, 2016 at 2:57 pm
  • Reply Anna @ Piper's Run

    Having a routine and not letting your connections fizzle would be my top favs.

    March 15, 2016 at 9:17 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You have to stay a “real person” otherwise you will just disappear!

      March 17, 2016 at 2:55 pm
  • Reply Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

    These are all amazing tips. I’m not as busy with work as I once was now that I’m trying to do my own thing consulting, but having a routine and doing things that will give me experience to call on later goes a long way in keeping me productive!

    March 16, 2016 at 12:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think you are doing an amazing job–plus, I love watching your traveling adventures!

      March 17, 2016 at 2:54 pm
  • Reply lindsay Cotter

    you know my husband and i have been self employed for 8 years and he lost all work last year. After retiring. It has been ONE CRAZY hard year trying to find work for him. But he’s doing these steps too! Focus on productivity and staying positive. Gah, and lots of prayer! LOL!

    March 16, 2016 at 7:25 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Sending such positive vibes! I am here for you, whenever!

      March 17, 2016 at 2:47 pm
  • Reply Abby

    So, I left a job I loved for 15 years to go for a higher profile job that I was recruited into….and got fired 8 months later. Because I am a woman, and an American. Seriously, not making it up. There are still nationalities out there that can’t handle us. I left a fantastic job for THAT. And now I’m on the hunt for something new when I sometimes want to just throw in the towel on all these professionals and be a gardener or something. Do I really want to be chained to a desk for a paycheck? I don’t know anymore….

    March 16, 2016 at 12:17 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That is so tough. On the one hand, you are driven and you are in the working mode, but on the other hand, this could be your chance. I totally understand that. I say find a project to work on that gives you a taste of the other life as it were, and see if you can make it work?

      March 17, 2016 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    Absolutely outstanding post……no other words needed!!

    March 16, 2016 at 1:12 pm
  • Reply Linda @ Veganosity

    Great advice! Some of these apply to full time blogging as well. Get dressed, put on some makeup, get out of the house. 😉

    March 16, 2016 at 2:02 pm
  • Reply Lauren

    Great post! I think establishing routines is really important. Over winter break I still wasn’t working everyday and if I didn’t have anything planned it was wayyyyy too easy to spend all day in my pajamas doing not much of anything.

    March 16, 2016 at 3:38 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And watching an entire series of a show in 5 days? yeah I crushed Nurse Jackie.

      March 17, 2016 at 2:25 pm
  • Reply Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment

    Having been through this myself, I must say you have so accurately described the whole process! Great advice. Feels like it will be forever, but it never is. So it is great to embrace the time and use it to your advantage. Bravo for putting this out there.

    March 16, 2016 at 3:51 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks, Lauren. It has been really great to reflect on what happened and how I got through it. I couldn’t have done it without the incredible support of friends like you!

      March 17, 2016 at 2:25 pm
  • Reply Maddy

    Girl… everything you said is 100% spot on. I’ve been in these same shoes and it somewhat liberating, but mostly scary as hell. My funemployment lasted about a month and netted me a much better job than the one before it, time to relax and find myself, and even a Euro-trip! It’s not all bad 😉

    March 16, 2016 at 4:59 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I want to go to Europe! That is the way to do it!

      March 17, 2016 at 2:20 pm
  • Reply Pragati // Simple Medicine

    I read once that losing a job has more of an impact on our emotional health than a relationship ending. In periods of transition, like unemployment, I always think it’s important to check in on how you’re feeling too. Make sure that you give yourself the time to mourn the loss of something that once took up a big chunk of your life, but isn’t your entire life.

    March 16, 2016 at 6:14 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ooo, I think that is really thought provoking. Both can totally make you have a crisis of conscious and hwo you think that you are. I think you are right on in letting yourself handle the moment and address it. Great point.

      March 17, 2016 at 2:17 pm
  • Reply Emily

    It’s so true that uncertainty is hard. Every day is such a reminder that even though I don’t direct my steps, God is so gracious to direct them wherever He wants me to go. He is such a good Heavenly Father.

    March 17, 2016 at 7:50 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Uncertainty is hard, but sometimes, you just have to have faith.

      March 17, 2016 at 2:03 pm
  • Reply Karen @ Fit in France

    I feel lucky that I have never been unemployed but I would find something to make my day productive. I am so Type A, need goals and hate downtime that I would see it as an opportunity, after I got over the initial shock !

    March 17, 2016 at 11:44 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think we all need to find ways to be productive–some people clean obsessively, some people knit, others learn languages!

      March 17, 2016 at 1:54 pm
  • Reply Jessie @ The Acquired Sass

    OMG THIS. A million times. In early 2013 I was unexpectedly unemployed. & like you said, for a while, it’s great. Sleeping in, drinking a bunch of wine with lunch, staying up as late as you want. & then it was not great. Since it was unplanned I had no end date. I was aimlessly searching for jobs. Hoping I would get one that I loved, but not certain I could turn down any job offer at all. Even if it sucked. I finally got myself a BIT of a routine, but I wish I had known // seen this then. My former self could have used this.

    March 17, 2016 at 12:10 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hope that you have found your stride since! Believe you me, there were a number of times that all I wanted was the glass of wine for lunch, but fortunately for me, I can’t drink that much for health reasons. Sometimes, I think that is all that saved me!

      March 17, 2016 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply Miss Polkadot

    Such a touchy subject for myself and so much great advice here. I was lucky to snag several paid internships right after graduating from university but then one day I … wasn’t lucky anymore. It hurt my self-esteem so very badly and while my current job provides me with much-needed structure I’m still not where I want to be so some of these tips apply to my life right now, too.

    March 17, 2016 at 7:01 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think that you touched on an important aspect of it: there is a degree of luck involved. And so you can’t always fault yourself when things don’t work out. It is important to keep in mind!

      March 20, 2016 at 7:08 am
  • Reply Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat

    For my schedule loving type a self, unemployment can be tough. I’ve been there. And it scares me to potentially be unemployed again (I mean yes I am losing my job soon enough but I might be able to align a new one soon after if things fall into place). I’ve put myself on an “unemployment” budget already to pump up the savings even more. I am very very fortunate to have such a lead time into it because when it is sudden it is a bazillion times harder.

    March 19, 2016 at 2:20 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I have my fingers crossed for you. I am glad that you have had some time to work things out ahead of the event.

      March 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm
  • Reply Good good links #134 – Let's get living

    […] Surviving Unemployment (aka How I Stayed Sane) via SuzLyfe […]

    March 19, 2016 at 9:32 pm
  • Reply Jess @hellotofit

    I like that you state to find a routine but be open to spontaneity. I think without a routine – for me at least – I will go crazy and end up doing NOTHING!!

    March 21, 2016 at 4:24 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I just feel like you really need that backbone. Otherwise, yes, you will go totally crazy!

      March 22, 2016 at 2:39 pm
  • Reply Debra

    Not sure if you remember me but I can’t thank you enough for this post! I’ve been through several unemployment bouts and all this rings true. Keep rockin it!

    March 23, 2016 at 3:46 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Yes I do! Lovely to hear from you again, Debra! I hope you are doing well 😀

      March 24, 2016 at 11:04 am

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