If you’re in between jobs and battling discouragement, the last thing you need is a depressed posse hanging around you. Misery does love company but you don’t have to join the party. Rather than give in to discouragement or stress, take a break. Here are four ingredients to spice up your life, recharge your mental battery, and help you receive fresh career inspiration all at the same time.
Ingredient #1 - Choose to Laugh
Laughter is a very powerful tool. It can break the affects of discouragement, strengthen your heart, and heal you during challenging times. You may be thinking what is there to laugh about? Plenty. Life is full of drama but it has a funny side as well. When was the last time you watched a funny movie or listened to a comic routine? I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to relieve inner stress and revitalize your joy. Consider spending an hour sharing embarrassing moments with a best friend. Create original jokes for a dinner party. Go bowling, especially if you’re bad at it. Blow bubbles with the elderly. Play Twister with three other people. Walk barefoot in the grass after a rain. Have a water balloon fight with a child. Bake chocolate chip cookies with a group of five-year-olds. Life always looks better after a few laughs and quality time spent with those you love.
Ingredient #2 - Take a Class
It’s hard to see the true value of your experience and education after a job loss. You’ve been thrown a curve ball, so there’s a tendency to focus on what was rather than what can be. One way to shift your focus to the future is to learn a new skill. And what better way to do this than to take a class? Not a “business” class but something fun. Do you like working with your hands? If so, take a pottery, gardening, inventing, construction, DIY project or drawing class. Want to lose weight? Register for a spin or karate class. Ask a friend to enroll in tango, cooking or French lessons with you. Don’t let unemployment define you. Now is a great time to discover the other hues of your personally and explore new interests. Learning new skills can actually reveal hidden talents and awaken sleeping ones. Who knows? You may uncover a new career in the process. For more ideas and great low-cost training options, click here to read How to Get a College Education for Pennies or Less.
Ingredient #3 - Help Others
Regardless of how overwhelmed you are right now, the truth is, you’re not alone. In fact, there are others who have more problems than you do. Fortunately, you have the key—the power—to turn someone else’s sadness—and yours—to joy by becoming a volunteer. When you volunteer in your community, you put aside your own concerns for a while to focus on someone else’s needs. Helping others is therapeutic, doesn’t take much time or effort, and offers huge benefits. At the conclusion of one of my workshops a client confessed that her true passion was to help others. Through research and reflection she found a way to use her education and experience to focus on her passion. Within a few weeks she had abandoned her job search to start a non-profit. Today, her organization continues to grow and she admits that she’s never regretted taking that step of faith. Can volunteering open the door to your next paid position?
Ingredient #4 - Take a Trip
Want to get away but you’re short on funds? Well, there’s a way to escape the demands of life, even if only for a short time, and do it cheaply. The best part is you don’t have to go far. There are sights and adventures in your town that you’ve never explored before. What about those free or low-cost museums and popular walking tours? My city has one of the finest zoos in the country. I never get tired of visiting them. And despite walking for hours our family has never fully toured the entire park. Schedule a little downtime. Pick up a few travel guides, gather your family, pack a lunch, and head out for a one-day or weekend adventure. You will return refreshed and ready to dive back into your job search.
When an unexpected job loss triggers unhealthy physical and mental signs, you know it’s time to take a break. You can’t recharge your mental battery or generate new job strategies if you’re consumed with stress and discouragement. Sharing a funny moment, learning new skills, volunteering, or taking a short trip will help you relax and assess your situation with new eyes. Remember, life isn’t just about this moment—or your joblessness. Life is bigger than that. New challenges await you down the road as do many great opportunities. Do take advantage of the great things life has in store for you, but don’t forget to laugh, learn, love and enjoy the scenery along the way.
Photo: By judepics (http://www.flickr.com/photos/judepics/409841087/)
[CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons