Unemployment is a scary prospect, but more and more workers are finding themselves facing temporary or long term unemployment as the economy changes. Obviously, long term unemployment is not ideal, and even short term unemployment can put a major dent in one’s personal finances.

Before you’re unemployed, you should try and create a cushion of savings for yourself. If you’re already tapping into that cushion, there are ways for you to improve financial security even when you don’t have regular work behind you.

Find Out What You Qualify For

The first step is to find out what state assistance you might qualify for. FL unemployment includes assistance in re-entering the workforce, and the value of continued job training is even higher in states like Georgia. Every state has a different benefit structure, so the first thing to do upon losing your job is to check with your state’s unemployment services to see what you might qualify for.

Employers tend to be the ones who finance unemployment benefits, typically paid through taxes to the business, and the safety net is usually available to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Even if you find that you do not initially qualify for benefits, states like California offer an appeals process you can use to try and get partial benefits, or to qualify entirely.

That said, these benefits usually come with the caveat that you can only receive them as long as you are not employed by another organization. Make sure you’re clear on your state’s laws about reporting any wages you might earn outside of your typical full-time work.

Volunteer as Much as You Can

Volunteering serves a few purposes. For one, it gets you out of the house without spending a lot of money. You get to feel like you’re growing something too, which will help your morale. The first few weeks of unemployment can be full of optimism as you wait for callbacks and re-design your resume. As time drags, failing to do anything to further your career or your professional life begins to look bad for you.

So volunteering also allows you to fill that other important role: looking like you’re not idle. Volunteering helps you look better (busier) at networking functions, and it usually leads to practical experience you can put down on your newly polished resume.

Join a Temp Agency

Joining a temp agency may lead to nothing, or it could lead to a temporary placement somewhere local to you. You’ll get paid, and you’ll usually work in a field similar to your current career aspirations. If you’re new to a field, joining a temp agency can also open up a world of new potential to you. Companies you might not have heard of, and jobs you may never have seen might be easier to find when you have someone assisting you in your job search.

Develop a Side Hustle

Staying financially secure involves bringing in regular income, and side hustles are a good way to do that. Side hustles qualify as self employment income, so their may be laws in your state that prohibit you from engaging in self employment practices while you’re on unemployment. However, you can use side gigs in conjunction with part time work to get off unemployment and into steadier income no matter what state you live in.

Treating Yourself

The final piece of advice might feel counter intuitive, but it’s a way to keep you sane. Treat yourself to something nice, and not too expensive. Treat yourself to ice cream, a movie or a new book to help stave off the boredom and emotion that comes with being unemployed.

It’s a hard situation for anyone to go through, so don’t get discouraged.