Unemployment: a period filled with fear, anxiety, self-judgement, and uncertainty.
I’ve been unemployed for four months now, and it has wreaked havoc on my self-esteem. The tape recording of “not-good-enough” thoughts played constantly in my head until I believed that I was truly a waste of space without a job.
You’re not making money. You’re not helping anybody. What are you even doing?
Eventually, I had enough. I decided that my jobless-self deserved love too. I no longer wanted to be defined by my occupation, or lack thereof, and I knew that the low self-esteem I had developed was not going to help me go into an interview with confidence. So I decided to engage in some self-love throughout this period of unemployment.
While I still haven’t landed a job, my self-worth has definitely improved. Here are my tips for showing yourself some much-needed love when you’re unemployed:
1. Keep a routine.
When we’re unemployed and have nowhere to go, it’s easy to let ourselves sleep in all day, or end up keeping up with the Kardashians a little too much. I’ve found that keeping a routine got me out of bed in the morning and kept me consistent about my job search. My daily schedule now includes journaling, yoga, job searching, and giving myself time to explore my curiosities. Having a routine has helped me combat the judgmental feelings of laziness that can creep up all too often.
2. Take care of your body.
Taking care of our bodies is a great way to show ourselves some love. Moving our bodies, whether through yoga, dance or sports, is a beautiful way to release feel-good endorphins and build confidence, which is much needed during a grueling job search. Having a healthy diet is also important. Eating good, whole foods helps make us feel good and whole. Maybe use some of this extra time to try new recipes or a new exercise regime. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with Ayurvedic cooking from Kate O’Donnell’s cookbook, The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook: A Seasonal Guide to Eating and Living Well.
3. Get to know yourself better.
Unemployment is no fun, especially when money is an issue, but it can also be a time of deep reflection. Go inward with journaling or meditating to get acquainted with yourself. Now is an excellent time to reevaluate what we want out of life, our career or our relationships. I have come to greatly appreciate my unemployment because it has given me the time to see that the career I was pursuing was actually not what I wanted at all. About halfway through my job search, I switched what type of job I was looking for. While, I still haven’t found a job, I am more motivated and excited now to be pursuing what my soul needs. Unemployment is also a great time to try new hobbies. I’ve found that I like writing and drawing—two things I never would have tried if I didn’t have the time.
4. Get outside everyday.
During the beginning of my unemployment, I fell victim to being a homebody. I stayed in my yoga clothes all day, and didn’t leave the apartment unless I was going to the grocery store. I fell into a funk. I even fell out of contact with some friends because I let shame take over. I have now learned the importance of getting dressed and going outside every day. I found, that when I took the time to get dressed, not only did it make me feel good about myself, but it motivated me to work harder and try new things. So once you’re dressed, get yourself outside. Even if it’s just going for a walk. Being around other people and getting some fresh air can do wonders for a self-critical mind.
5. Schedule time to relax.
Job hunting is stressful, and being rejected—or not even getting a callback—is tough on anyone’s confidence. I’ve found that allowing myself a day off from job searching every so often is helpful. I noticed that I was letting myself get so worked up about not having a job, that my anxiety was at an all-time high. Scheduling a day off gave me time for guilt-free nothingness. Since I scheduled and pre-planned the day, I was able to stop feeling guilty for not trying. The next day, when I returned to job hunting, I felt recharged and ready to go!
Being unemployed takes a toll on our self-esteem, and wallet, but thinking of this time as a gift can make all the difference. Taking care of ourselves is crucial. The more we love ourselves, regardless of our job situation, the more confident we’ll be. The more confident we are, the better able we are to get ourselves out there and land our dream job.
Happy job hunting!
Author: Sami White
Image: Hillary Boles/Flickr
Editor: Nicole Cameron