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Keeping yourself busy when unemployed?

Hi I have been unemployed for about 6 months now and have depression and anxiety. I have started to look on the positive side of things and pushing myself to do the right things and recover but the main thing that is getting me down is the boredom and the lack of energy throughout the day. What do you guys do if your in a similar situation on the daily?

Re: Keeping yourself busy when unemployed?

Hey there @Rickp88 and welcome to the forums Smiley Happy


Thank you for coming on and sharing with us, it's wonderful to hear that you've started to look on the brighter side. Do you have anyone that supports you with your recovery? Such as a close friend, family member, or professional supports? 


You mentioned that you have a lack of energy, is this something you've ever spoken to a gp about? There are many things that contribute to feeling rested and having energy and speaking to a gp or professional can help you find out what might be causing you to feel low. 


It's hard to get motivated to do things when we're feeling bored and have low energy. I've found that trying to engage is something I enjoy doing, such as a hobby, or a menial task like cleaning are good ways of doing something to push that boredom away. What do you think?

Re: Keeping yourself busy when unemployed?

I am in the public system and am seeing a councillor, specialist doctor as I went through a phycosis episode and I live with my Mother so 3 people I guess but I haven't found the counselling to help much as they only ask questions. I have said to the doctor I have a lack of energy and I am on medication and probably gonna be changing meds on the next appointment. 


I guess my main problem is that I can't find anything that interests me or keeps my attention. Like I use to love gaming but now I can't stand it and I have never really had a hobby besides that. I just find it super difficult to do anything other then watch tv.

Re: Keeping yourself busy when unemployed?

Hey @Rickp88,

It's great that you have some supports in place and that you spoke to your dr about the energy issues, I just had to edit out the name of the medication, as it's against our community guidelines. It's unfortunate though that the counselor you're seeing isn't helpful, sometimes we end up with the wrong person for us. Is changing counselors something you'd be able to do? 


It's okay that you find find it difficult to do things other than watch TV. Watching tv can also be a great distraction. It can be really hard to find things we are interested in, is there anything else you've tried to get into? 

ReachOut also has an excellent thread over here that has plenty of amazing coping strategies and distractions that you might find helpful, what do you think?

Re: Keeping yourself busy when unemployed?

I don't think I do get a choice on what counsellor I get but I am moving next week so I will be transferred to a different mental health centre and get a different counsellor.I have tried playing dungeons and dragons at social clubs and liked that but that's usualy only once a week on a weekend so it doesn't really fix the boredom problem other then that I don't know where to start for hobbies but I'll check that thread out thanks

Re: Keeping yourself busy when unemployed?

Even though they haven't really been helping, it's great that you've been trying out social clubs @Rickp88. Hopefully the thread is useful for you in finding something you can try for a hobby.

I hope that your new counselor will be more helpful to you. I'm not sure either if you get a choice, but it might be worth asking for if you need to change in the future. What do you think?

Re: Keeping yourself busy when unemployed?

Hi @Rickp88, it's nice meeting you! I think it's fantastic that you're looking at your unemployment in a more positive light and trying to figure out what to do in the meantime! That's a great mindset to be in. Smiley Happy

I tend to find myself unsatisfied if I do an activity that doesn't show measurable progress or isn't particularly 'productive' persay. I can spend hours on video games and then feel really awful afterwards because I haven't really done anything! Smiley Sad Have you thought about taking up any new hobbies that might feel more productive? I like to draw for example, because I get to create something from nothing. Sport / exercise / some other activity with movement (i.e. dance) can be fantastic too, because you can continue improving each time you do it. Plus there can be a social element if you're looking for that.

Is volunteering somewhere an option? Volunteering can be a fulfilling use of time, and it's great for developing skills / contacts / references that would be useful if you need to be employed at a later stage. You could potentially try second-hand shops, schools, libraries, hospitals or other community centres, or even churches if that's your sort of thing. You could also just go out into your neighbourhood and do something nice for someone else (even volunteer to look after someone's pets if they need!), that could be fulfilling. Alternatively, is it possible to devise a plan that might help you seek employment and then put that plan into action?

Re: Keeping yourself busy when unemployed?

hey @Rickp88 and welcome

both @Jay-RO and @nyke have given some great suggestions. like you i get bored easily but dont have alot of energy and my work is based at home. 

some ideas could be:

-learn a new musical instrument

-learn a new language

-arts and crafts- maybe try your hand at crochet or knitting. keeps the mind busy but very little energy required. 

- maybe offerr to mow yards for a small fee. most charge around 20 per yard or 30 for front and back or something like that. 

**NEVER be afraid to ask for help because you're WORTH it!**

Re: Keeping yourself busy when unemployed?

 Hi @Rickp88, Welcome to Reachout. I am sorry that you are going through this and I really appreciate the fact that you are sharing this with us. I have been through a similar experience when I was unemployed for quite sometime and I totally understand how it feels not having anything to do and feeling unproductive. But what really helped me through this was meditation, wherein I would start my day with meditating for at least 20-30 mins that helped me control my stress.


The other thing I did was engaging in social clubs and volunteering as not only does this help in building skills but also in networking. Moreover, there are also organisations that have volunteering opportunities that are specific to certain fields like accounting, psychology etc, which is a good way of engaging with people who are or have worked in these fields Smiley Happy

Re: Keeping yourself busy when unemployed?

I did attempt to volunteer once but kinder freaked out about it but I will try and give it another shot when I move next week and I look at all these things people do to cope and do to keep themselves busy but I have no motivation to try any of it and think it's stupid I have started mindfulness meditations from the smiling mind app but kinder have that same mentality to it I just find it so hard to get the motivation to do anything and I don't know what to do. I am sitting on the couch in silence tearing up while writing this because I feel so hopeless I know I have to change my ways but I just find it so hard to do it and I just don't know how to proceed with life.