Unemployment can be a difficult time, and not just from a financial perspective. As your resources dwindle, and you begin seeing where you must cut corners, the growing stress can really get you down. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, you should be seeing this as an opportunity to make some positive changes.

Here are some great ways to keep your spirits up and get things done while you’re unemployed:

1. Take Stock

Evaluate your goals, your priorities, your relationships, your spending habits; just take some time out to decide if you’re where you want to be, and if not, what to do to change it.

Are you following your dreams? Are you surrounded by healthy people that have a positive impact on your life? Are you over-run with credit card debt? Do you really need 583 cable TV channels?

This is an opportunity to spend some time reflecting on your choices, and the direction you’re taking in life.

2. Downsize and Purge

This is a great time for you to start sorting through things. You hope that you’ll get back into the swing of things quickly, but at the same time, the future is uncertain. You may be facing a move, either due to relocating or the necessity of finding a more affordable home. Maybe during your reevaluation process, you decided to focus more on people and less on stuff.

You can really make an impact on your stress level by getting rid of the things in your life that aren’t helping you meet your goals- including excess material possessions. Have a yard sale, and you may wind up with some extra cash to see you through the tough times.

3. Get Healthy

If you’ve been contemplating lifestyle changes, now is a good time to do it. You’ve got the time to devote to researching, trying new recipes, and working out.

If you’re a smoker, you don’t have to worry about getting edgy and irritable with co-workers. Detox from caffeine, especially if you’re the kind of person that drinks multiple cups of coffee each day.

All of the excuses that have stopped you from making healthier choices (no time, need coffee, get irritable) are now out the window, and you should take advantage of this opportunity to make some changes.

4. Learn Something New

Take a continuing education course. Learn a new language. Play a sport. Commit yourself do doing something every week. It will help you maintain a schedule, and it may open your network. You might learn some new useful skills for your resume, but you may also find a new passion and decide on a career change.

There’s plenty of opportunity out there for growing and challenging your mind. Now that you have the time, you should try it.

5. Build Relationships

One of the things that we all too often lose when we’re busy with our careers is that human connection. Make a point to get back in touch with a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while. Make a weekly lunch-date with a sibling. Take one of your kids out for breakfast before school occasionally. Have a date night with your significant other.

These things are important, and can be overlooked in the chaos and rush of being career driven. Take advantage of this free time right now, because you may wind up missing out of the loop again when you do head back to the workforce.

6. Relax

The stress of being unemployed is tough for anyone to deal with. Change your mindset by changing your attitude about unemployment; instead of thinking of it as a complete disaster, look at it as a break. Take the opportunity to figure out where you want to go and what you want to do with your life going forward- your future self will thank you.

Kate Thora

Kate Thora is a Senior Content Specialist for Uphours, an online resource with information about companies. She loves to play sport, write and dance to her favorite traditional Indian music. Follow her on Twitter @katethora1.