There once was a frustrated jobseeker
Whose outlook grew bleaker and bleaker.
Try though he might
No work was in sight
And his courage daily grew weaker.
There’s nothing fun about looking for work. In fact, it can be discouraging, demoralizing, and downright depressing. The interviews that lead nowhere, writing (and proofreading!) countless cover letters, and the endless networking—it can be hard to keep your spirits up during the grind, especially if your job search drags on for months.
May 12 was Limerick Day, a holiday celebrating the comical (and often racy) five-line poems popularized by Edmund Lear in the mid-19th century. In celebration of the funny poems, here are seven quick and inexpensive ways to brighten your mood—and maintain your sense of humor—during the job hunt:
Smile. According to Scientific American, “our emotions are reinforced—perhaps even driven—by their corresponding facial expressions.” In other words, the act of smiling can actually make you feel happier.
Dance like no one’s watching. Put on your favorite pop tune (may we recommend Pharrell’s “Happy”?) and bounce around for three minutes. If you have a partner or kids at home, rope them into the impromptu dance party, too. You may look ridiculous, but the exercise is a great stress buster.
Read a funny book. Humorists make a living cheering people up—often laughing through the pain of everyday life. Try Dave Barry, Mindy Kaling, David Sedaris, or Tina Fey for an insightful, funny read. Comics can also be a great pick-me-up, and you can find collections of many classic comic strips, such as Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side, in book form.
Watch a comedy. Not everyone finds the same movies funny, of course, so there’s no one-size-fits all recommendation for the perfect film (although Airplane tops many best-of lists). If you’re feeling particularly disgruntled about the working world, however, pick up 9 to 5 or Office Space. And if you’re on a budget, you can find a great selection for free at your local library.
Spend time with friends. Socializing with your nearest and dearest is a great way to boost your mood—as long as it doesn’t become a pity party. While it can be helpful to occasionally vent to your friends about your woes, try to keep things positive by sharing funny stories.
Look at family photos. Researchers in the U.K. found that flipping through a family photo album raised participants’ mood more than alcohol or chocolate! Any particularly embarrassing snaps make good fodder for Throwback Thursday (#tbt), the social media trend of posting old photos for your friends to chuckle over.
Indulge in funny cat videos. While wasting time on the Internet isn’t always the most productive thing you can do, sometimes you just need to watch a talking dog or a cat falling off a windowsill. Be wary, however, of falling down the rabbit hole on YouTube; it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon there.
Hopefully these tips will help you keep your sense of humor intact during this trying time. Numerous studies have found that laughter truly is the best medicine, so make humor a priority in your life. After all, kids laugh on average 400 times a day—they might just be on to something!
What always makes you laugh? Share it in the comments.