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Looking After Yourself During Unemployment


Throughout your career, it’s like that at some stage, you’ve found yourself unemployed. Your role might have been made redundant or perhaps you resigned ready to take on a new role that was no longer available. Maybe you thought you were ready to retire, but now you’re ready to re-enter the workforce. Whatever the cause, unemployment can be really difficult financially, emotionally and it can leave you feeling stuck.

Here are some tips on how you can take care of yourself if you’re experiencing unemployment:


Financial Support

Being unemployed can be stressful for a number of reasons, one of which relates to your financial stability. Having enough money to pay for the things we need can cause great stress that can impact both ours and our families’ wellbeing. For some people, social security income support payments through Centrelink may be available; you can find out more about eligibility via the website

Financial counselling programs are also available across the state to support people through financial hardship. To access a financial counsellor near you, go to


Maintaining a routine

Having a job provides us with a routine. Whilst a lot of us in the health and community services sector work in patterns of shift work with changing rosters, we’re still presented with a reason to get out of bed and go to work. Studies show that disrupted routine, particularly having long term disrupted sleep routines can impact our mental health, leading to increased likelihood of having a mood disorder such as depression or anxiety[1]. Routine also helps to keep your brain functioning well and improves overall wellbeing. Whether it’s walking the dog each day, meeting friends for a weekly dinner or simply setting your alarm before you go to bed, make sure you’re keeping a routine that suits your lifestyle. Having a social routine is also especially important, given the loss of social interaction you might have suffered upon becoming unemployed. Our happiness is strongly related to our social connectedness, so routinely spending time with friends and family can markedly improve how you’re feeling.[2][3]


Keeping Healthy

As well as keeping up a routine, it’s important to remember to focus on your health. For a lot of us, being at work can help us with sticking to our health goals (except when you’re in generous workplace where there is constantly birthday cake…). For others, having time off work can help to refocus our health goals. Some easy ways to improve your health include drinking enough water, eating plenty of fresh veggies, exercising around 30 minutes a day and getting enough sleep. It’s also vital to remember that mental health is as important as physical health. If you’re feeling down, don’t wait to seek help; you can chat to your GP about getting a referral to see a mental health professional. You can also call Lifeline any time on 13 11 14 or at Also keep in mind the impact of social media on your mental health; whilst the social interaction can have a positive effect, there may also be negative impacts, including social overload [4].


Plan a Job Search

Unless you’re ready for retirement, most people will be looking for another job after becoming unemployed. For some people, it’s easy to land the next role and begin work, especially if it’s in a similar sector. For others, it can be a stressful and daunting experience, particularly if you’ve been in the same job for many years. Having a plan of attack can be crucial in landing the role you want. This includes ensuring that your resume is up to date, checking out new opportunities through online job search websites or your own networks, and potentially updating your skills. Make sure your details are up to date with HACSU; we’re often advertising free training courses that might help you to improve your chances of getting your next job with greater ease.


Contact Your Union

Don’t forget to stay in touch with us if you become unemployed, we can provide HACSU members with support around your employment as well as being a great network for workers in the health and community services sector. Remember to follow us on Facebook and keep your email address up to date with HACSU to receive the latest news and updates.


[1] Lyall et al., 2018 Association of disrupted circadian rhythimicty with mood disorders, subjective welling, and cognitive function: a cross-sectional study of 91,105 participants of the UK Biobank, Lancet Psychiatry 5 (6): 507-514.

[2] Christopher Ambrey, Jennifer Ulichny & Christopher Fleming (2017) The Social Connectedness and Life Satisfaction Nexus: A Panel Data Analysis of Women in Australia, Feminist Economics, 23:2, 1-32, DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2016.1222077

[3] daSilva, A. W., & Heatherton, T. F. (2018). Social neuroscience of subjective well-being and life satisfaction. In J. E. Maddux (Ed.), Frontiers of social psychology. Subjective well-being and life satisfaction (p. 32–49). Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

[4] Zhan, Liuhan & Sun, Yongqiang & Wang, Nan & Zhang, Xi. (2016). Understanding the influence of social media on people’s life satisfaction through two competing explanatory mechanisms. Aslib Journal of Information Management. 68. 347-361. 10.1108/AJIM-12-2015-0195.