For millions of Americans, being out of work one more day is an all too familiar situation. The jobs that people once had have been eliminated, bills are due, part-time jobs aren’t paying well, families need to eat, and unemployment is running out. For those who were the bread-winners, guilt, failure, hopelessness and stress can feel overwhelming. So how do you take care of yourself if you find yourself in this predicament?
Don’t Let Your Career Define You
Too many times we allow our job or lack thereof define our worth and value. When we are out of work, we question who we are because we have placed our value in a dollar sign. When you feel this way, look around and see the other areas in your life where you add value – your kids, your spouse, your family… See how you are important to people around you in more than just your job and what they love about you. If you don’t see those things, then see if there are ways that you can add meaning to the lives of others. Furthermore, if you are in a relationship where you feel that people are putting a price on your worth, look at the relationship, get some help with it if you can, and if it isn’t working, it may be time to re-evaluate.
It is easy to get into a place of feeling sorry for ourselves when we feel down and out. Sometimes our thought patterns can keep us stuck in this. If you are stuck in these thought patterns, check your thoughts and redirect them to more positive thoughts.
Just Keep Swimming…
Do something positive every day to keep your mind and brain working. People out of work sometimes have a hard time getting out of bed, and that look at the Help-wanted section can be a dreadful reminder of your situation. Read, learn, do something to help look for work or advance your situation. Is it time to go back to school to get educated in something new? What hobbies do you have that you can engage in? If money is an issue, can you find a free hobby? Volunteer your time if you can. Giving to others can feel empowering and you never know whom you will meet or what you will learn along the way. Worry and stress can become quicksand for many, so find a way to keep active.
Exercise Every Day
Exercise releases endorphins. These can help you feel better. This does not just mean to piddle around the weight room and do a few curls. This means do some work. You need to get your heart pumping. Running, weightlifting, aerobics, Pilates… whatever you may enjoy that can get you and/or keep you in shape – this is critical to your physical and emotional health. Being in shape can also help in the interview process, as it can contribute to your sense of confidence, and appearance often matters in job interviews.
Sometimes We All Need a Hand
Sometimes people feel too “proud” to ask for help. Whether it is needing emotional support, part-time help, therapy… we live in a world of other people. Many people feel happy to help. Never think that you have to do everything on your own.
I put the quotes around “proud” because that is what people call it. I call it arrogance. Pride is when we feel good about who we are. No matter what is going on around us, we can still feel proud of our efforts and who we are. Arrogance is a shield of false pride. It hides shame, guilt, inadequacy… When people can’t ask for help when they need it, it is often because they are hiding these emotions. Arrogance can bring down the people around you as well. You and your family can suffer.
Remember that you are not alone. So many people are going through the same situation. I believe that there is always something to learn in every situation and that life happens for us not to us. If there is something more you can do, then take a hard look at yourself and do it. If you are doing your best, then feel proud of your efforts and keep going. Appreciate those around you and let that love in. It’s the most important ingredient.
Erik Fisher is a licensed psychologist, author, and contributing correspondent on The Better Show. Dr. E has also been featured NBC, CBS and FOX, and is a regular expert on CNN. Visit him at www.DrEPresents.com.