What Keeps You Sane?

When you're in the dreary, winter, often endless-seeming days of unemployment, sitting alone in your apartment or house staring at a computer and searching for jobs, it's easy to start to feel, well, a little unhinged. You may go for hours or even days without speaking to anyone in person. You might not even leave your home. And interacting with only your computer all day long is not good for anyone, trust me.

My secret to staying sane during unemployment is the gym. I go there every day, with perhaps one or two exceptions per week, and I stay for at least an hour, which I finally actually have time for!

I belong to a small gym where I know a lot of the people and the owners, so it's a double whammy in terms of sanity-making. I exercise, get some endorphins going, and also talk to people who care about me. Whenever I start to feel cabin-feverish, regardless of the time of day, I head out to the gym. And invariably, I feel better when I come back home. Not to mention, this helps stave off the old Unemployment 15-a sanity-sucker in itself.

Other unemployed folks I know have some different strategies. Some schedule their days very carefully and follow that schedule to a T-it gives them a sense of order among the chaos. Others give themselves a "free day" in the week of job-searching to do whatever they want that they couldn't do while employed: Visit a museum, watch soaps all day, have lunch with a friend and window-shop. Others blog it out on their personal sites. And then there are those entrepreneurial sorts who focus on their hobbies, perhaps even trying to make them into jobs-knitting, or making stationary, or creating cute things to sell on eBay or Etsy.

There are a million things you can do to regain your sanity during unemployment. What do you do? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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