In-Between Jobs? How to Make the Best of It…and Maybe Have some Fun at the Same Time

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Losing a job can be a traumatic experience. In our culture, work is not just our livelihood, a paycheck and a means to independence, but also often a way we define ourselves. We may be teachers, actors, marketers, brokers, doctors, or lawyers, each of us doing our part to make a difference in the world.  So, when we suddenly find ourselves without a job, our ability to retain a sense of self can be compromised.  
 
But being in-between jobs does not have to spell out doom.  While it may be easy to wallow in self-pity and want to disconnect from the world, or on the flipside, want to dive right in to a frantic job hunt, there is another way to move forward.  It involves stepping back, taking a breath, evaluating your options, and seeing the unintended break for what it really is – a blessing rather than a curse.  
 
Yes, it’s true — in the days immediately following job loss, it will be hard to keep a positive perspective, let alone take the steps necessary to keep yourself going forward. And it’s ok to give yourself permission and time to unplug. 
 
But soon you’ll want to toss the negative thoughts that keep you spinning in one place. Easier said than done?
 
Not if you make a conscious choice to focus on yourself. 
 
Acquiring this perspective requires us to be proactive – to fill our days with activities that will nourish us and sustain us long-term.  Yes, some days that won’t be possible – you’ll want to sleep till 1 pm and you likely will. But if all you ask of yourself is to try and do at least one thing a day that’s new or fun and self-focused, you’ll find it that much easier to keep your spirits up through the almost inevitable roller-coaster of job-hunting down the road. 
 
Need some help getting started? Here is a list of ideas to get you moving again that will rejuvenate your soul. 
 
Journal and brainstorm future possibilities
 
Whether you are a writer or not, journaling is way to connect with parts of ourselves we may have forgotten.  Sit yourself down one day with a pen in your hand and see what comes out. For some, it may be feelings.  For others, free-flow thoughts about their past or present. Yet for others, it may be ideas about what you would like to achieve in your next chapter. Don’t box yourself in but keep it positive – you may be surprised by what you put down on paper. Perhaps you’ll make some new discoveries…but at the very least you’ll sharpen your penmanship!
 
Set an exercise goal
 
Did you always want to join a sports league, run a race, climb a mountain or try a new exercise regimen, but just never got around to it? Here is your chance.  When you set a specific exercise goal, you’ll have to create a schedule around it and commit to meet small (daily) training objectives.  What better way to get your endorphins pumping and focus on something positive and rewarding at the same time! 
 
Plan a trip 
 
Whether you choose to go far away or just for a weekend get-away, planning a trip can be fun and filled with anticipation of positive experiences. And it’s guaranteed to re-focus your energies and get you out of the house – giving you physical and mental distance that you may need.  
 
Volunteer for a cause you care about
 
Giving back to a cause you care about is decidedly one sure way to continue living your truth.  It’s a way to connect with what’s important to you and to make a difference in your community.  And the icing on the cake is what countless research has shown over and over again – giving, whether it’s time, money or skills, makes us feel good.  There is no better argument for starting today. 
 
Take yourself out 
 
You may not be feeling up to a dinner, theater, concert, or a movie out. But treating yourself to these small pleasures can be deeply healing – particularly when we get to enjoy them with our partners or friends.  
 
Learn something new 
 
Feel like you’ve been stuck in a rut? Here is a perfect antidote – learning something new — a language, an instrument, knitting…whatever! Stretch your brain and watch as out-of-the-box ideas start to flow.  
 
Connect with friends and old colleagues 
 
Last, but certainly not least.  Lean on your friends and old colleagues for support – they want to be there for you, whether to offer a listening ear, job search advice, networking assistance or simply to share laughs over cocktails.  And isn’t it what it’s all about anyways?


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