Losing your job can feel like the death of a loved one. Being unemployed is not easy either. Losing a job can be a huge blow to our egos, mental health, and our bank accounts. During these uncertain times, we can have some quick success, but it can always take an unexpected turn as well.
Sometimes, we spend months or years being job-less. What’s important is how we deal with those times and stay positive.
Research has shown that losing a job can have huge impact on mental health. In an era of 9.7 percent unemployment, no one can turn blind on risk of going unemployed. This hampers the basic need of humans, the security net. When we are not secured of paying our bills, maintaining a reasonable lifestyle, and progressing in career, then obviously, all this will take a toll on our mental health.
To avoid stressful thoughts and to pass time, we often tend to indulge in binge watching series, lying on couch all day in sweatpants, scrolling through social media mindlessly for hours which adds to our misery. It shuts down the brain cells and make it more lethargic.
Negative emotions like anxiety, frustration and insecurity reach at its peak and make us gloomy and desperate. Unemployment paints quiet a miserable picture. Right? Well, we all are slaves of our own habits and life patterns. We can turn things around if we smartly approach the problem and tune our mind and body.
Your last job may have ended but your career has not.
Here are 7 such simple steps you can do while you are unemployed which will not just take care of your mental health but will help you to progress in your career as well.
- Take time to process how you feel
Humans tend to run away from their negative emotions. But once, we accept our feelings, a solution to it eventually pops up. The key is introspection and accepting what emerges. It’s not easy but it’s necessary.
Meditation can play a big role in helping you to process how you feel. If you have tried meditation before then you will understand its importance. And if you have never tried, now is the best time. There are numerous apps, websites and videos for the same to guide you through the process.
Journaling is another one of the best ways to gain clarity. We need to take time out to process the past and also focus on the bigger picture.
- Create a routine
It’s funny how we hate the routine while going to office but miss the same when we don’t get to go. Slouching on couch all day is an appealing impulse but very destructive one.
None of us can master our mind all time and that’s when routine comes handy. At the time of working in an office, you had a schedule every day – Waking up early, getting dressed, going to office, then meetings, work, lunch, again some work, evening tea, closing down and back to home. It could be different for different people, but a proper routine is what kept you going.
But now, when there is no work, that couch keeps calling us. Say no to it and create a new routine. Wake up early again and find something worth to do. If it’s not office work, then maybe gardening or cooking. Fill up your day with different activities and it will truly keep you going. We don’t have put ourselves into a grind, but we can mark different periods of the day as cooking time, gardening time, playing time, reading time etc.
An active body keeps the mind active. Even if at home, exercising for an hour boosts your self-esteem and makes you energetic. It opens up brain cells and helps you to explore new ideas and thoughts. The benefits of fitness can never be overstated, but you need consistency and discipline in order to stick with a routine long enough to reap those benefits. There are different apps for this as well.
It’s a quite common suggestion but extremely useful. Try out exercising for few days and you will see the change for yourself
- Learn a new skill & brush up an old one
In this cut-throat competitive era, skills become outdated very quickly. With rapid technology, we need to keep ourselves updated with the skills demanded in present and future.
It’s the best time to take a class or brush up an old skill which you haven’t used in a while. For instance, if you learned French in school then re-learn it to expand your opportunities. If you have even a slight interest in coding, then take up a course and see how it works. In this digital world, everything can be learned by sitting at home. Thanks to clever (and free!) sites like Codeacademy, DuoLingo, Lynday.com, you can take classes according to your convenience.
You don’t need to master anything, but this will at least help you answer that tricky question “How did you engage yourself during this break?” in a future interview
Were you always busy in your office work and never had time to think anything else? Now is the time to do something beyond earning money, i.e., giving back to the society through volunteering.
While it might not be monetarily profitable, a volunteer gig can be great experience for your resume, help you establish new connections, and also give you an idea of what’s working in your field. More importantly, people usually come out more self-aware after such a stint!
- Do what you love
Remember how you used to crib while you were working that you don’t get time for the things you love to do, like writing stories or sketching or cycling or baking. This is that time!
Indulging in something that gives you joy lowers your anxiety and boredom. Add that activity in your schedule and start working on it. You can add variety of activities so that it doesn’t get monotonous.
- Temporary Work or freelancing
Freelancing has gained major popularity in recent times. It is a great way to hide an employment gap in your resume. Do you think your skills are something which can be used only inside an organization? Odds that are you are wrong. Please check out these common gig platforms are Fiverr, Kool Kanya, Gigster and ShiftPixy.
Temporary work can keep you motivated and bring some finance in the house. At least, you will have some handy money while you search for something permanent.
Unemployment is a hard time which tests you under water. But it also makes you stronger. Don’t let your mind rot with negative emotions. Make this time productive and memorable for yourself. Picture yourself working again and looking back at this period in your life as an unexpected gift!