07/31/2015 04:45 pm ET Updated Jul 31, 2016

Unemployment Opportunities

I've been unemployed before and, pardon my french, it truly sucks. It's stressful, annoying, unfortunate and can even be a little embarrassing. There could be a million different reasons why you're unemployed, but you should let exactly zero of them define who you are as a professional or as a person. Consider a few things before you fall into easy traps of the unemployment life.

Take time to yourself.

It's so easy to become stagnant when you're unemployed. You have this newly discovered free time that, at first, can be somewhat freeing but at the end of the day sitting on the couch chowing down on a pint of Ben & Jerry's and binge watching Kardashians is no way to improve your current situation and will do more harm than good in the long run.

Take time for yourself but only do so in a productive manner. Don't feel guilty about taking a mini vacation or practicing a hobby, new or old. A long weekend away can be an extremely effective way to regroup and think about your next move. Money issues are real but think of it as an investment in your well being. Reflect back on what you could have done different if you didn't leave your job willingly. If you did leave willingly, reflect back on what made you unhappy and what you want out of not just a job but life moving forward. Find what stimulates and refreshes you and do it. If a vacation isn't in the cards for you then practice a hobby or start a blog. Do something everyday that will make you feel better about your current situation. It is so important to keep a schedule when you have all of this time on your hands. Obviously set aside time for your job search but never ever feel guilty about setting aside time to focus on what makes you happy.

"Unemployment" doesn't define you.

"What are you doing now?"

This question would haunt my dreams. Neighbors, friends and family would ask me the dreaded question and it would literally make me nauseous, give me a newfound stutter, and sometimes even give me the spins. Seriously. Do not let unemployment define you. It is a current state, not a personality trait. It was so easy for me to feel inadequate, lazy, inferior or even embarrassed. However, once I realized that none of those thought processes helped me towards my end goal of finding my dream job I started to focus on the positive and do what made me happy. I wrote, experimented in the kitchen (for better or worse), and spent time with the people that enriched my life every single day. Over time, I started to become more confident in myself and got to the point where I would look forward to the "question" so I could talk about all of my new and interesting endeavors.

Seize the Opportunity.

This is your opportunity to take control of whatever in your life may have been out of control. Maybe you were comfortable in your job but didn't love it. Or maybe you have been wanting to look for new jobs but needed a swift kick in the ass to actually start the search.

Seize the opportunity to make your life the way you want it. The workforce is shifting daily and getting paid to do what you love is no longer a pipe dream, it's real. Go back and talk with coworkers at your previous company or with friends who are buried in work. Talk to them about what they would do if they had the time and do it! Maybe they want to start their own company, maybe they want to visit friends or maybe it's as simple as the idea of waking up in the morning wanting to go to work. It may seem simple, but the people you're talking to don't have the opportunity that you have right now. Go seize the opportunity to do what you love, what makes you happy and what enriches your life every single day.