How to be Jolly and Unemployed During the Holidays

Family at Christmas Dinner T‘is the season to be jolly. Or so the song goes.  But if you are unemployed at this time you are adding more stress to an already stressful time.  But it doesn’t have to be.  There are ways to cope with the season.  I have provided some suggestions for you to choose from as not everyone has the same issues.  Any stress you can eliminate will help you enjoy the season and less stress is better when looking for a job.

  1. Take 30 minutes a day for me time, read a book, listen to music, take a nap or anything that relaxes you.  It’s necessary for you to take some time for a few quiet moments to recharge and refresh to be able to do all you need to do and put things in perspective
  2. Keep expectations low.  The holiday season is one of great expectations on many levels.  Your family isn’t the Brady Bunch.  They are real and make mistakes.  They can’t read your mind.   Keep your expectations to what you and others can realistically expect.  Anything above the expected is a plus.
  3. Give back by volunteering your time to help those less fortunate.  Volunteering has a twofold benefit.  The recipient is grateful for the help and the giver feels good for having done something for someone else.
  4. Simplify your celebration.  Look at all the things you are expected to do.  Are the expectations yours or others?  Are there things on the list that aren’t necessary? A good place to start is the things that don’t serve a purpose anymore because people have grown up and moved away or isn’t practical in this day and age.  A done for your product can save time and energy.
  5. Say no to things that you don’t have time for.  With many things to do and places to go, you can pick what is necessary and important to you. Be firm but polite in your refusal.  If it’s something you have to do, do it, but remove something else from your list.
  6. Take things one at a time.  Although multitasking is a valuable skill, it causes unnecessary stress.  Looking at all you have to do is overwhelming. Do one thing and do it well.   Soon your done list will be longer than you’re to do list.
  7. Understand your emotions are real and normal.  You are joining the millions of other people sharing your anxiety and grief at this time of the year and employment status.  Taking care of you is essential.  Ask for help if you think you need it or others say you need it.
  8. Budget your time so that you have time to do the things you want to do.  By doing something every day, you gradually shrink your list.  Putting things off until the last minute will result in an overwhelming amount of things to do.
  9. Ask for help from others to do things you usually do.  Share the tasks, you aren’t the only one that can or should do everything.  Things may not be done to your exacting standards, but they will be done.  Remember you are also lowering your expectations.
  10. Eat healthy and in moderation.  The rich, high calories foods available at this time of the year lead to eater’s guilt in January when the pounds are tallied.   The same goes for alcohol which has its own issues when consumed in large quantities.  Exercise will clear the cobwebs, give you more energy, and reduce stress.  A brisk walk in the fresh, crisp air will do wonders for your attitude and spirit.
  11. Look for the positive in your situation.  This is tough I know.  Hopelessness and success can be self-fulfilling prophecies.  Pick the one you want  and work toward it.
  12. Avoid toxic people that suck the life right out of you.  This is going to be the most difficult thing I am asking you to do.  I know that the some of the toxic people are precisely people you are doing everything for.  Try to limit your exposure to them or look at the world through their eyes.  What has caused them to be the way they are?
  13. Keep your temper in check.  Count to ten, twenty, or 1 million until you feel calmer and won’t over act.  Everyone is stressed at this point.  Blowing up won’t solve anything, in fact, it will make things worse.  Step away from the situation and breathe deeply.  If words need to be shared, do so calmly and rationally.  The results will be better.
  14. Enjoy the season’s food, entertainment, events, meeting new and old acquaintances.  This is a social season. There will festive food that comes out only at this time of the year.  Enjoy-but in moderation. Listen to your favorite holiday music and sing along to your heart’s delight.  Or watch the holiday movie that makes you laugh or inspires you.   Enjoy the opportunity to meet new and fascinating people.  And it’s a time to catch up with people you don’t see that often.
  15. Have an attitude of gratitude for the many things you do have.  Every day take a few minutes to write three things you are grateful for.  Start a list and add to it daily.  Soon you will see the many wonderful reasons adding up.

In the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Whos in Whoville celebrated the holiday even though all the festive food, decorations and gifts were gone.  The holiday came without all the trappings.  We aren’t celebrating the trappings but the specific reason for the holiday, whatever holiday you are celebrating.


Arleen Bradley is a certified career coach and certified job loss recovery coach.  She assists clients in moving beyond job loss grief in order to land dream jobs.  To learn more about the Job Loss Recovery Program and how you can benefit from it, log on to

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