Small things to celebrate while unemployed

Written by Adrienn Juhasz

After the first few weeks of unemployment, you might start missing being challenged. We all want to feel accomplished, to feel like we can be proud of ourselves for doing something. However, when you are unemployed, it might feel like the only thing worth celebrating is getting a new job - but this isn’t necessarily true. In this post, we’ll explore a few ways of how you can stay positive during unemployment and what things are really worth celebrating during these times.

Why is it important to celebrate small wins?

It is very easy to feel down and to lack the motivation to move forward, especially when you do not have a job and a routine to keep you going. By acknowledging smaller wins and milestones, you are more likely to build up self-confidence and to feel empowered to move forward. According to author Monica Mehta, the science behind this is that accomplishing a goal activates the reward center of our brains, which lets us feel proud of ourselves. This, in turn, releases hormones that put us in a good mood - thus making you feel motivated to do more and achieve more! 

What victories and milestones should you celebrate?

Leaving a job: Maybe you planned on leaving a workplace for a long time, but once you handed in your notice you started panicking. Don’t! Leaving means that you can celebrate finding the courage to take the next step towards something better, a new job or career path that will make you a happier person!

Everyday accomplishments: There are so many things we don’t get around to while having a full-time job. Fortunately, unemployment gives you an opportunity to take care of these things, let that be cleaning the fridge for the first time in three years or getting around to administrative paperwork sitting in a drawer. Allow yourself to feel proud of taking care of these jobs and for using your newly-found time well! 

New skills, personal milestones: As you are looking for new job opportunities, you might decide to take a course to diversify your professional skills. Or maybe you decide to spend less time in front of the screen and dedicate more time to doing sports, resulting in the first 10K run of your life within weeks! Developing new skills and reaching personal milestones should deserve more recognition, especially from yourself.

Job applications and interviews: Finding a new job is incredibly time-consuming and at times exhausting, so it is important to feel a sense of accomplishment when you submit a job application that took you days to write. The same goes for interviews, whether you get asked for one or nail one! It’s great to have a sense of relief at the end of an interview and feel like you have done well. Celebrate this moment, you can worry about whether it got you the job or not the next day!

Back to work: Naturally, you should also celebrate getting a new job! Not only that, but also your first day back at work, or getting a promotion. These might sound obvious, but many people might forget to really celebrate these things and instead just jump into it without taking a moment to self-reflect and to feel proud of themselves. So keep in mind: all these things are worth celebrating!

How should you celebrate?

Treat yourself with a day off from submitting applications and just relax, open a bottle of bubbles with your friends, or have a slice of your favorite cake - whatever makes you happy! The options are endless, but make sure you always: pause for a moment, think about what you have accomplished, and reflect on how it made you feel. You can decide after how you want to celebrate your win!

If you feel like you are struggling during your job search to find small wins, feel free to reach out to one of Empower Amsterdam’s coaches. We offer free coaching for unemployed internationals in the Netherlands, all you need to do is apply!