Two weeks and two days without a job so far. That’s two weeks longer than my previous longest layoff. That’s two days longer than my longest vacation.
I don’t hate myself yet, but I am bored with myself at times. I alternate between feeling optimistic and hopeful and feeling like an old useless hack of a human being.
I’ve learned a few things about keeping as sane and close to normal when life isn’t what I planned:
- I still get up at my normal time. Why not sleep in? At some point, I plan to have a job. Getting up as per usual now will make it easier to keep doing it. And I sit down at my home office desk at the same time I would have done so while working.
- I still work out every day. It keeps my brain engaged and my body functioning well. It also keeps me from the pity-party junk food binges.
- I put on makeup and get office-dressed Monday through Friday. Just because I am sitting alone in front of my computer, doesn’t mean I should look like a slob doing it.
- I eat well, and stick to a good diet as much as possible. It’s the same as maintaining sleep and workout patterns. Breaking good habits now, even for a short time, will make it harder to resume them later.
- I still maintain contact with the outside world – friends, family and neighbors. I’m not proud of being unemployed, but you never know when one of these folks might have a job lead. And they are not at fault for my not having a job.
- I do other stuff throughout the day besides job hunt. I clean bathrooms, run a few miles, sweep floors, fix lunch, make a cup of tea, write this blog, or whatever I need to do in order to divert the brain cells for a bit.
- I force myself to branch out in the job hunt, and consider other lines of work, alternate hours/days of work and other locations than what I consider ideal.
- I get my financial life in order. I’ve done a pretty good job putting money aside, so I have something to use besides unemployment, if and when that time comes. I’ve rescheduled doctor visits (to be covered while I still have my current insurance), signed up for ACA coverage and paid off bills.
- I budget using cash. I use an envelope system labeled with different spending categories. Nothing extra, nothing in the “wants” category for right now.
- I maintain a daily written schedule. Just a list next to my computer, where I can see what’s coming up each day. At the top of the list each day is “Job Search” and everything else comes after that.
These are the rituals that are keeping me going at the moment. If you have any more suggestions from your own personal unemployment trenches, let me know.