Get used to a new lifestyle
When we find ourselves not in full employment most of us experience a time of adjustment as we get used to a new lifestyle. The way you feel about yourself and the way other people think about you can change when you are no longer in the full-time workforce, even for a short time. When going through change and leaving your comfort zone, you can experience anxiety and uncertainty. Recognising that the feelings are a normal part of an the process helps you move forward in a positive way.
Allow time for what is important to you
Remember, your true value and worth as a person are not linked to whether or not you are working, or what kind of job you do. Spend time getting in touch with who you really are and accept yourself for the wonderful and unique person you are. One important step in planning for the best use of your time is to evaluate your values and goals. Discover what is important to you and work out a plan to help you live the way that is most fulfilling for you.
Decide who you want to spend your time with and how you want to spend your time. Make these conscious choices rather than drifting through each day. Don’t isolate yourself. Remain connected and involved. This can be a time to follow your passions, to spend time on what really interests you and develop your leisure activities. Arranging specific times to do some of these things makes them a priority in your life and can help give structure to your day and provide a balance to the efforts of a job search.
Stay focused and positive
Make your work-search a priority. Begin each day by opening your emails from internet work-search sites. Email for job descriptions and apply for jobs that interest you. Remember to check the recruitment pages in the paper. Set aside another morning or afternoon a week for developing your networks and doing your cold calling. Intersperse these times with enjoyable recreational activities or pursue your hobbies and interests.
Keep focused on your job search, but don’t be defined by it. Keep positive through this time and remind yourself that you are a wonderful and worthwhile person. Balance your life with things you enjoy and people you like and love. The more positive you are in your outlook, the more likely you are to recognise opportunities and explore options, rather than caving in under pressure and seeing only boundaries and obstacles in your way. If you are turned down for a job, contact the interviewer and ask what you can improve on. Often it was just a choice between two really great applicants. Other times there is something you can learn from and move on to the next application more fully prepared.
Developing routines can give a sense of order and rhythm to your day and provide a structure to build your new life around. Be careful though that this structure does not become too rigid. It is a tool for you to use, not a barrier which cuts out other interesting activities. Balance is the key. Leave time for rest and relaxation and include time to do what interests you. Look at ways you can participate in your community or shared activities with others. Just don’t overdo any one thing. It will take time to get the balance right. Be kind to yourself along the way.
Simple things like having a good breakfast and getting washed and dressed at a regular time can help set you up for the day. Giving yourself a couple of days off a week stops you overdoing it. However, it is important to have enough things that you can rely on to give yourself some predictability to the week. Having reasonably set times for specific activities can be a good way to make sure you get around to doing them.
Don’t get stuck at home
Looking for work can be time-consuming and can seem overwhelming. Deciding on regular times to go through the job ads, check emails, make phone calls, research companies and send out applications can ensure that you don’t miss out on that fantastic opportunity. Housework can take the whole day if you let it; after all you will probably be spending more time at home than you have for a while, and you will be surrounded by the everyday stuff that ‘needs’ doing. Try different ways to handle this. One suggestion is to set yourself the task of completing the day’s chores by 10 am each day. What isn’t done by then gets left till the next day, leaving you free for other things. Another is to balance inside and outside chores so that you don’t feel trapped indoors all the time.
Get out and about
Get out of the house on a regular basis, even if it is only to sit in the sun with a cup of coffee and a good book. Getting involved or trying something new need not cost a lot of money.
* join a service club
* do a low-cost course: pursue ideas and topics that interest you
* see what activities are available at your local community centre
* trace your family tree
* join craft or art groups
* join interest groups or clubs and spend time with people who share
your passions and interests
* get out and walk: alone or with a walking group
* plant a garden and grow your own vegetables: swap produce and
cuttings with friends or neighbours
Make sure you build a support network of friends and family you can spend time with and on whom you can rely if you need help.
Stay motivated: keep your goals in front of you
‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.’
- Albert Einstein
‘What I desire, I must first imagine. What I imagine, I create.’