8 Ways To Look After Your Mental Health While Unemployed or Underemployed
These Stages Of Life Are Only Temporary If You Choose
For some, frustrations mount when either unemployed or underemployed. There are some factors within our control like our attitude that make the world of difference in coping in an uncertain world. How reliable and hard working you are can also help your situation; yet it sometimes feels like a stroke of bad luck - being in the wrong place at the wrong time that puts you on a chopping block for an unexpected lay off, or a cut in hours. Or even burn out form overwhelm and too much work while employed prior.
It happens to the best of us, especially in uncertain economic times such as now. Your attitude to risk, as well as your levels of savings and support available to you can mean that you choose to be either unemployed or underemployed for a variety of reasons - usually as a result of a transition period. For example, yours truly is currently underemployed by choice, yet still underemployed. I am in a great job, yet the job pays a lot less than the high level job I enjoyed that ultimately burnt me out and placed a temporary mortgage on my soul. This job is a fill in (working at a chocolate shop) in order to study and transition into a full-time career in UX Design from Sales Management.
If you find yourself in such vulnerable situations, please take heart. Everything is temporary if you allow it to be. Change is scary, and change can affect our mental health if self love and self care is not high up there. Being unemployed and underemployed allows you to assess your true priorities, and to change unwanted habits that could have caused you to be in such circumstances today, whether forced or by choice.
Below are the top ways that help up the ante on our self love and self care when looking for work, or for more work. And to survive a transition period in the face of uncertainty and unexpected stresses knocking on your domain.
1. Do not forget your beauty sleep
This is the time to take some short afternoon naps if you need to, between your shifts and/or job interviews and application time. The world isn't rosy when we are sleep deprived. It is easy for depression to magnify, especially when the unemployed are not working, and when the underemployed are working less, and/or are getting their hours cut at work when times are quiet. Never forget your sleep. Remember, busy brain = no bed.
Not every day is filled with rainbows and sunshine; even for those who are successfully employed in jobs that utilise their god given gifts and talents. The benefits of meditation are plentiful, from a stronger immune system to a healthier brain chemistry - super important when looking for work. There will be days when your mind drifts yonder; yet deep breaths will help keep you as still and present as possible during your meditation practice. If you need extra help, my spiritual teacher Angela Hryniuk has meditated with the likes of the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Angela has recorded a series of helpful meditations to bring in more prosperity (like the 40 Day Prosperity Plan) that work, provided you do the simple work in return. More information on Angela can be found by clicking here.
3. Focus on your health
It is easy to skip your daily water intake when out of work, and in situations where you do not have enough work as worries can trap you. Being dehydrated at the best of times isn't joyful. Remember to drink an abundance of filtered water, which helps your brain operate as its best. It is important to eat healthy foods, and limit junk food, alcohol and caffeine where possible. If you're out at a cafe, drink healthy herbal teas (as pictured) rather than coffee ideally. Take the necessary supplements to help your body absorb much needed nutrients, in order to perform at your best during your job search activities, and/or during your transition period. On that, please exercise. Perhaps try walking barefoot if you haven't already. The benefits of earthing can be read by clicking here.
4. Declutter your living space
The KonMari method is beginning to create a cleaning revolution, and within great reason. When our homes and physical surroundings are full of clutter; our minds become scattered - hence affecting our ability to think clearly. Use this extra time on your hands to clean up your physical surroundings, and you start to create a vacuum for more joy and abundance to flow. This is because (ideally) every possession of yours has a designated home where it can 'rest' when not used at any given moment. Our material possessions are designed to be used, and to circulate. It is ok to move goods on that have outgrown you and your psyche.
5. Connect with loved ones
Your partner (if you have one), friends and family are here to support you during times of change and transition. If you don't feel supported, then maybe it is time to go out and make new friends. A few helpful tips on making new friends in adulthood can be found by clicking here.
6. Volunteer/Contribute to those less fortunate than you
Volunteer work helps breed social connections, and feel good endorphin hits by helping other people. When you help others out of love and kindness, you help yourself. That volunteer employer may (highly likely) give you that confidence boost for your new employment endeavours, in addition to being a worthy reference that can help you land that dream job. With the recent bushfires affecting Australia (as at the time of writing this), it was fantastic to see community unite and help those who were affected the most. You feel great, and karma goes around. Free up your energy.
7. Learn new skills/try activities you have never tried before
Slower times are the perfect times to engage in those activities that help you slow down and bring in more joy. When you feel joyful, potential employers will pick up on that loving embrace unconsciously. If they don't appreciate that; they're not the right people to work for anyway. Interested in learning how to cook? Check. Want to go to the zoo? Check. Be a tourist in your own city. Check. Do whatever floats your boat (pun could be intended...if going boating is your jam). Do those activities that you rarely got a chance to do when fully employed previously. Travel if you want to. You get the drift.
8. Be grateful for your life
I get it. This can be quite difficult when you feel that the woe is on you, as you're not bringing in the income and lifestyle that you want at this point in time. It is critical (both in the great and the turbulent times) to write down as many things as you can that you're grateful for in your life right now. Yes, there are people worse off than you/been unemployed for longer than you/working lesser hours than you/earning less than you, but let's not go there. What you focus on ultimately expands. When you show/demonstrate love and appreciation for what you do have, the universe cannot help but give you more and more joys to be grateful for. You can be grateful for the little things, and for the potential employers that actually took the time to speak to you about your job application to them.
Otherwise, if nothing else helps - grab a pillow and punching bag, and punch it with your fists as hard as you can, in order to get some pent up anger out of your system; and then re-read this list again. I wish you all the best in your next work endeavours.