Lost your job? Unemployed? Laid off?

So you’ve lost your job.  You’re feeling a little panicked, a lot stressed, your confidence has plummeted, and your appetite has disappeared.  You’ve just bought a new house so your mortgage is now a number you never thought you’d see next to your own name.  You have a wife/husband/partner, two kids, dog and a budgee to feed. Not to mention those pesky private school fees.  Cable TV, phone, internet, all manner of iPhone connections, your electric garage door just stopped working yesterday, and of course it’s winter so your energy bills are sky high.  Oh, and you’ve just realised that you have no ceiling insulation and all of that expensive heat that you’re pumping through your home to warm your family is escaping through your roof and raising the neighbourhood temperature by an extra degree or two.  Sound familiar?  

Unemployed Job lossCredit: Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.netThis, or a variation of this, is probably you.  And you’re leaning toward indulging yourself with a little bit of panicking or perhaps a mild heart attack or two.

Stop right there.  While the glaringly obvious current economic climate is somewhat dismal, while jobs are scarce and competition is high, and while anybody who can read a newspaper knows there is no swift solution on the horizon, you’re wondering What Do I Do? 

Don’t panic.  Well, maybe briefly just to get it out of your system, but that’s all I’ll allow. 

Try these instead:

1.   Your Mindset

Your mindset, psyche and attitude are crucial to ensuring you stay on the right track.  There will always be a tipping point that can send you either way.  We won’t dwell on the downward spiral because that’s not where we’re going.  Choose to make a concerted effort to remain optimistic.  If you stay upbeat (note I did not necessarily use the word ‘positive’), you will have a much clearer mind, and a clearer mind will allow you to use your noggin to develop, consider and locate opportunities that are around you.  And believe me, there are many.  Remain open-minded.  Your opportunities may not come in the form you are expecting. 

2.    Your Health

Now more than ever you need to remain healthy.  Put away that bottle of red wine, do not reach for the chocolate, and we’ll be having no more Coca Cola thankyouverymuch.  Just because we’re not going to work tomorrow doesn’t mean we don’t have a job to do. Eating fresh food is not only better for your body, it is a surer way to keep your mind alert, active and alive to those broader opportunities that we don’t want to miss out on.  On top of that, eating fresh, local produce that is in season right now is far cheaper than dialling for delivery pizza.  And besides, it will help you with….

Job Loss exercise health confidence Yvette CattanaCredit: Image courtesy of Vu Kwan 2013

3.    Your Fitness

Vital to your continued optimism is maintaining your health and fitness.  I cannot stress this enough.  If you exercise, you will feel better about, well, pretty much everything.  I teach fitness classes and I am constantly asked by my participants how I can be so cheerful all of the time.  The simple answer is, I’m not.  There are days when getting up on a stage and being Miss Motivation is the last thing I feel like doing.  Perhaps I’ve had a rotten day at work (I am a lawyer by profession so those days are many).  Perhaps I’m not feeling 100% well.  Maybe I am tired.  No matter what I am feeling, by the time the exercise class is over, I always, without fail, feel a whole lot better.  You will too.  Trust me.  Just try it.

4.    Your Confidence

Which leads me to… your confidence.  Without a doubt, the greatest side effect of exercising is increased confidence.  Exercise provides your confidence with a good, solid dose of that highly sought after ‘yes I can’ attitude.  We all know exercising can be hard work – we sweat, we struggle, we curse, we whine – but we push through.  And if we don’t quite get there today, we’ll be stronger and fitter and we will get there tomorrow.  It is often very challenging, and when it’s over, we have achieved something.  Now more than ever, exercising will do more for your mind than ever and it will keep you on that optimistic track that we need.  

Don’t like gyms? Head outside in the fresh air.  Can’t run? You’re injured? Walk instead.  Can’t walk? Swim.  Too cold out (in our scenario above, it’s winter remember) – try a heated pool.  No pools? A bike. Weights. Walk the dog. Use a skipping rope, traipse up and down your stairs.  But whatever you do, don’t just sit at your desk day after day fretting over the resumes you have sent out but as yet had no replies.

5.    Your sense of humour

You’ve just lost your job, the last thing you’re feeling is humorous.  I know.  But no one hires a sad sack.  Employers or potential clients or possible new business alliances will be far less likely to deal with a down-in-the-dumps, woe-is-me, misery guts.  That’s not fun and people like fun.  Even employers.  Your family – who will be acutely feeling your stress too – will benefit greatly if you maintain your sense of humour. 

As my mother once said to me: there will always be someone better off than you, and there will always be someone worse off than you.  Count the blessings you do have, because things have a funny way of falling into place. 

These tips will kick start you along the road to your next opportunity.  Looking back at your recent job loss is futile because we can’t change what’s done, and besides, we’re so busy looking forward that we don’t have time.

Now get to it.  And good luck.