I am now officially one of those people endlessly looking for the next career opportunity, after experiencing some wonderful travelling time.
While I spend my days at home, furtively going through dozens of job ads, it got me to thinking of all the wonderful things I could be doing to get my mind of the often-frustrating task of searching for work.
So I’ve come up with a list of all the things that could be done, in the meantime, to help nourish the soul, to soothe the inner need, to look after me, and you!, while the search continues.
Exercise: While most people are too tired or time-poor to exercise daily with busy schedules and hectic lives, unemployment is a perfect time to keep at peak physical fitness. After all, there are endless hours to stretch before you during the day, so even if you are not a morning exerciser, there is still mid-afternoon or evening work outs to be had. It’s not all about going to the gym either, as I have discovered – you can more than easily fit in a walk or a jog around your own neighbourhood for some good cardio sessions, or work-out to dance clips (or boxing!) on Youtube when no one else is home! For toning, there are plenty of work out plans that require little or no equipment other than your own bodyweight. Admittedly, this is something I need to work on. I can sometimes be the laziest caterpillar on the tree.
Naps and sleep-ins: Just not too many! My belief is that this is a good opportunity to get back into a regular sleep pattern and take advantage of the fact you can sleep in a little later than the rest of the world. Good sleep will also help with stress levels- if you sleep well, you feel well. Many people with busy lives do not get enough sleep, and when you do finally become employed and busy again, it will probably become one of the first things to go! And besides, who doesn’t love a cheeky sleep- in when you know everyone else is waking up to go to work? Enjoy it while you can, snuggly underneath the warm bed clothes.
Prepare yourself healthy meals and drinks: Really take the time to prepare some good, decent food, with wholesome ingredients, freshly prepared. When else are you going to have the time to spend in the kitchen? Re-acquaint yourself with all those wonderful pieces of shiny metal on your bench top if you haven’t already ( hello there, juicer!) and whip up some delicious meals and juices. Like sleep, your body will thank you for it, helping you better cope with stress levels. Drink more water. Herbal tea works wonders too, including the stomach-relaxing chamomile, and Rooibos. Wean yourself off the copious amounts of caffeine.
Sitting in the sun: Having the opportunity to sit in the sun is my favourite thing to do. I’m not advocating sitting in the sun and baking for the sake of getting a fried looking sun-tan. I’m talking a good sit, for 10-15 minutes maximum, while sitting on the grass, feeling the goodness of nature wash over you while your body soaks up the much needed sunshine to help with Vitamin D production, which is vital for maintaining those feel-good chemicals pumping through your body.
Thinking of your unemployment as an opportunity to grow: This one is hard. This is one that could challenge even the most positive person in moments of self-doubt and frustration. I know it happens to me. A lot. Am I good enough? Why is it not happening yet? What if I never end up finding a job again? These are all questions that have gone through my mind at some point over the last few weeks, and yes it is difficult to not be over-run by doubt and self-pity. But neither do I think it is healthy nor does it do your self-esteem any favours. It could be an opportunity to reflect and think, what do I really want? Take a step back and figure out what it is that you really want to dedicate your precious time to.
Read more books: This is a favourite! Because I read books. A lot of books. And now I have a lot of time to indulge my habit. You can read after breakfast, in between job applications, or just because you need a break curled up on the couch. Bliss.
Take yourself on little adventures: Art galleries, museums, cafes, gardens, or even a simple walk around an interesting neighbourhood are all cheapie and free ways to keep yourself inspired and entertained.
Think of creative ways to bring in extra cash: Now is the time to start the new Etsy shop you always dreamed of. Start a new online business,sell some excess things you have lying about the house that you no longer want to make some extra cash if you need it.
Study something! There are lots of free resources online to help keep your mind active. Open Culture, and TED Talks are brilliant places to start. Open Culture offers more than 800 free university courses online through podcasts and videos, as well as a wealth of other resources. Ted Talks is great for motivation and inspiration, and many a night I have spent watching the videos and learning a whole host of fascinating things I had no idea about.
As much as I’d like to say the above will lead to a positive ending fairly soon, finding my dream job, there are no guarantees. But by choosing to keep myself positive, happy, and healthy, I will hopefully be in a better place when it does happen. Little things do indeed build up to big things. Everything will be ok in the end. And if you are going through the same thing, they will be OK for you too.