I’m easily anxious and have to work hard at neutralizing my habit of worrying. Naturally after I was laid off, I noticed a spike in my anxiety and had to pay attention to when and how it manifests in my life, which is typically a lot of ruminating, clenching of muscles, and holding my breath. Here are 7 actions I take to combat the gnawing anxiety that lurks around the corner as I search for a new job.
- Do What You Can
One of the best things I’ve done that relieves my anxiety is to apply to jobs. I know this is obvious but it serves more than just the pragmatic “income to live” need. The act of applying to jobs helps quiet the panicking voice in my mind. I couldn’t control the fact that I was laid off but I can control what I do about it and the most important thing is to find a new source of income. Every time I’m faced with an obstacle, taking productive action helps me feel better.
Being isolated during a hard chapter for a prolonged amount of time can cause a downward spiral. My first instinct was to hole myself up and throw pity parties for myself, which admittedly I indulge in every now and again. However, seeing my friends and catching up on their lives and laughing have been especially beneficial to me during unemployment. Moreover, your social network can be of great service to you during this time! I’ve scored a couple of interviews because I reached out to people I know. My friends also keep me in mind when they come across job leads!
I’ve journaled since grade school but for a while I only did it weekly. Now I strive for three long-form pages a day first thing in the morning. If I can’t do it in the morning, I try to complete it before the day’s over. The concept of Morning Pages is to rid your noisy thoughts and worries on to the page to clear your mind and face the day. If you do it long enough, you may even have moments of creative inspiration as it’s hard to write about nothing for three pages every day.
- Develop New Skills
Now is a great time to learn a new skill. I’ve been focusing more on photo editing. I used Photoshop very sparingly pre-layoff. Now I force myself to stop using easy phone apps and to open up Photoshop. I find myself getting into the zone and giggling to myself maniacally when I learn a new trick or hack. In fact, I might have done that when I edited out an entire human from the header photo of this post. You can also now list your new skills on your resume!
When I’m running or working out my mind is quiet and I can be present and stop forecasting trouble. Also, delicious endorphins!
There are perks! I’ve taken more walks with my dog in the middle of the work day, had more lunch dates with Sugarface, and even went on a few trips (they were already mostly paid for or planned). If you had money set aside for a trip that you didn’t want to squander your PTO on, now is the time! It’s such a freeing experience to travel without worrying about what’s happening back at the office.
- Be Frugal
After I’ve had my fun traveling, I started to buckle down on my budget. I reduced the amount of meals eaten out drastically and started cooking more. It was fun to make some of my favorite recipes for Sugarface. I also started to do small odd jobs, used up years worth of gift cards I’ve accumulated, and chose economical or free events to attend for fun.