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Being Your Best Between Jobs

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

While the job search continues, you can improve your situation by taking some additional actions at home.

Draw up an interim budget for the rough times you're going through. Decide how you can minimize expenses so that any savings or unemployment benefits will stretch farther. All the usual tips for frugal living apply, but now is the time to take it to another level. Make it a game (you'll find it's actually fun!) to reduce your expenditures in some areas (such as entertainment) to near zero by doing things that are free. You'll discover that there's real freedom in jumping off the consumer bandwagon, even if only until you get a new job.

Establish a daily routine that includes not only your job search but time with friends and family, temporary employment, volunteer work, exercise or whatever else you need to keep a balanced and active life. Don't sit at home if it just makes you depressed.

If you were laid off from work in a time when countless others in your area are similarly unemployed, consider the fact that someone in your town is even more miserable and desperate than you are! With some of your free time, give of yourself in a way you never could before. Does an elderly shut-in need her lawn mowed? Or a single mom need free baby-sitting?

If you're a Christian, you might want to spend extra time in the Bible—something that will be harder when you return to a full-time job. For example, try reading and praying over Matthew 6:25-34 ("Do not be anxious about your life …") until you're actually ready to believe and live it!

If you can't seem to shake feelings of hopelessness or depression, connect with a reputable counselor or your doctor. Don't be ashamed if they prescribe some kind of medication on a temporary basis. If it helps you to feel and function better, then it is worth it, both for you and your family.

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