10 Ways To Be Thankful When Unemployed

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It's Thanksgiving time again, when we're all asked to step back and count our blessings. This can be particularly hard for the unemployed, when:
  • The price of a great Thanksgiving meal cuts into an already tight budget
  • The hurt of being laid off still lingers
  • The sadness of not being able to afford great holiday gifts in the near future is real, and
  • The fear of being unemployed for an extended period of time is frightening
Despite all of this, Thanksgiving is a time when you can count your blessings. Here are ten tips for fighting off the holiday blues and using your current situation to great advantage.1. Celebrate. Make sure you get out and spend time with friends and family, and celebrate your connections with them. The holidays are about shared memories--and regardless of your budget, time is something you don't have to skimp on. You can watch kids while others cook, help set the table and prepare meals without buying the food, and bring your game face to the holiday table. This is a time to enjoy companionship and family, and take a break from concentrating on your troubles. Use the holiday to reconnect and learn more about others rather than focus on your own woes.

2. Receive. If you're hosting Thanksgiving, ask everyone to bring food. It's okay to be unemployed, and use this as a time to ask people to participate and contribute to the holiday table. Be thankful you have time this year to be a relaxed host, who can quietly create an inviting holiday setting without running around like a chicken with your head cut off after work hours.

3. Contribute. Agree to be a guest at someone else's table and contribute an affordable side dish like mashed potatoes or freshly cooked green beans. This allows you to participate, but reduces your potential overall expenditure. It also gets you out of the house.

4. Restock. Ironically, turkey is cheapest at Thanksgiving and does not follow the normal supply-demand cost curves. Buy an extra frozen turkey when this plentiful protein is most affordable and decide to either stock up for the December holidays now, and/or give yourself a second personal Thanksgiving later when you'll need a good, comforting, home-cooked meal.

5. Reposition. When unemployed, you have time on your side. You can read a motivational book, exercise at home, and concentrate on a diet. There are things you've likely wanted to do for a long time, and didn't have the time. Use this time as a gift inadvertently given to you to allow you to start something that will make you ultimately feel better about yourself.

> How to Stay Motivated When Unemployed

6. Practice Gratitude. It's easy to wallow in self-pity, feel victimized, and be negative about the economy when you're unemployed. The odds are strong that you didn't do anything wrong, were a great worker and still got laid off. Nevertheless, the fastest way to become re-employed is to have a positive mental attitude that is easily seen in interviews with prospective employers. One way to gain that is to practice gratitude. Remind yourself daily of your true blessings – health, smart children, loving relatives, adorable pets, a roof over your head, heat in your home, a warm quilt at bedtime. You are likely rich in blessings if you choose to see them. For more on gratitude, search Amazon or any other bookseller's site with the terms "Gratitude Books" for the growing list of gratitude books and journals available today to assist in finding the positive in your daily life.

7. Read. One of the greatest gifts of American life is the public library. Library cards, books, audio books, self-help texts, and movies are all free. So are the computers that can be used to look up job listings and send out resumes if you don't have a computer at home. The library will be closed on Thanksgiving, but not the day before. Stock up on some great tools and dedicate time to delve into some of your newly-found freebies after the Thanksgiving meal is long over.

8. Create. The holidays can be expensive, but they don't have to be. Use the extra time you have to make homemade items for the gift-giving holidays. For inspiration, check out Pinterest for DIY gifts, or search Google or another search engine with the terms "inexpensive homemade gifts" or "DIY gifts," and prepare to be inspired.

9. Volunteer. You may be down, but you're not out. Dedicate some time to giving back, and feel grateful that, regardless of your circumstances, you still have the ability to give. This can be in the form of volunteering at a soup kitchen or merely watching a neighbor's kids while they do their gift shopping. If you can stop to make someone else happy, even for just a moment, it helps you see how much you are still valued, and can provide value regardless of your work situation.

10. Parade your talents. Thanksgiving is famous for kicking off the holiday parade season. Start your morning by watching the Macy's parade on TV and then imagine a parade of your own. Create a float in your mind for each job you've ever had, or a float for each talent you might possess. What would you put on it to describe your efforts? Remember: this is a parade float, so only beautiful, positive things go on top. Then, use these ideas for taking a new look at your resume, cover letter, or online profiles. Are there new words you'd now use to describe what you've accomplished? Update all of your job-seeking documents, and dedicate yourself to keeping your parade of talents updated long after Thanksgiving is over.

You're unemployed, but you're still alive and kicking. Have a fabulous Thanksgiving, and as a motivational maxim, say: "Don't Let the Turkeys Get You Down." Instead, take time for yourself, pay it forward, and find ways to contribute to yourself and those around you. It's everyone's time for being thankful, including yours. Don't let unemployment get in your way of celebrating.

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