May 22, 2014

What I Learned From Being Unemployed

Abigail and Dolley readers one of the hardest things I have ever experienced was unemployment.  The emotions, the fear, the anger, the embarrassment, the financial implications, the isolation, and the sheer upheaval can be overwhelming.  The subject is so broad, dozens of blogs could be written addressing any number of subjects from finances to finding a new job to dealing with the stress; consider this blog a strong arm around your shoulders, a warm cup of coffee, and some advise from somebody who has been through it.

Have a plan everyday, something you are going to accomplish and only focus on your goal for the day.  It could be something like this:  Prayer and Scripture of the Day, Exercise, Clean the Bathroom, and Grocery Shop.

Another day may focus on a job search item so it could be:    Prayer and Scripture of the Day, Exercise, Fill out Unemployment Application, and Update Resume.

Batch your job related days and do not look for a job everyday.

Insure that your plans fill the "work day".   The work day was brutal.  I seemed to relax after 5:00 because I was used to being home and the "work day" was over.  My tough times were in the day.

When some well meaning soul asks you "What are you going to do?", you can reply, "Well, all I know is that today I am cleaning out the garage and that's about all I've got right now.  I will figure out tomorrow, tomorrow."

This method of focusing on today works very well to keep down the anxiety of next week, next month, and three months from now.

Help others - use your time to volunteer, to help a friend or a relative, plant flowers at the church.  I am a great organizer and cleaner.  I helped folks clear out clutter and get organized.

Pray, Journal, and Read the Word - God is never closer than when we are on our knees.  Use this time to move into a deeper relationship with Him.  He'll meet you right where you are.

Exercise, Walk, Run, and Get Outside in Nature - not only for the stress relief, for the health and well being, but getting outside is just therapeutic.

Find a Hobby - now funds are usually tight so inexpensive hobbies could be drawing, acrylic painting, knitting, cooking, gardening, singing.  You might even have the supplies around the house and you've just never gotten around to it, well take advantage of this time, it won't last forever!

Forgive those who hurt you.  Do it everyday if that's what it takes.

Do some serious self examination - are you a jerk?  If so, stop it.

Recognize where things with your job went off the tracks and don't repeat the same mistakes again.

Use your support system - I had a couple of folks who let me come clean their houses... literally, I would go stir crazy bouncing around my house and my Mom and good friend were always willing to let me come over.

Finish projects around the house, refinish that table, paint the den, power wash the deck.

It's okay to not be okay.  It's okay to regroup.  I did not want to lunch with former colleagues, I just didn't want to put on a smile and act like it was okay when I wasn't.  People understand.

Binge watch a great show - my unemployment great escapes were Veronica Mars, Friday Night Lights, and Eureka.  Downton Abbey is glorious.

Read a great book - try Diana Gabaldon's Outlander.

Recognize that this is a season, it won't last forever and you are going to be okay.  I promise.