Whether you’re feeling festive or not, the holidays are here. Family and social obligations can add an extra layer of anxiety to an already difficult time. Here are tips for coping and reinvigorating yourself throughout the season:
It’s Okay to Say “No,” and Stick to a Budget
The loss of a job results in the loss of the lifestyle it used to provide. This is the time to come to terms with saying “No” and adjusting yourself and your family to these temporary lifestyle changes and living within a tighter budget. Saying “yes” when you should say “no” results in feeling overwhelmed with the financial consequences. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every holiday activity or give lavish gifts, but your kids will understand only if you talk openly with them about the situation.
A Fresh Approach to Parental Challenges
As a parent you don’t want to burden children with adult problems. But children need to know, in age-appropriate ways, about the job loss. You can assure your children that there will still be a celebration, but you are going to start some new traditions. Start by helping your kids set realistic expectations. Teach them that that holidays don’t have to be about material things, or exactly like the previous years to count. Then determine a budget divided by categories; food, gifts, entertainment. Have a family meeting and gather everyone’s input on how to divest the funds. Then stick to it.
Be positive and creative. Come up with fun, affordable ways to keep everyone busy and engaged. Check out your community calendar for free holiday happenings. Volunteer with your kids for a charity project. Host a potluck or a cookie exchange. If you run short of ideas, google how to celebrate the holidays on a limited budget
Take Care of Your Mind
The holidays can cause a great deal of mental stress, so you can’t expect to feel happy all the time if you have legitimate worries. But if you constantly wallow in negative thoughts, it will be difficult to fully engage in an effective job search. Take some time-outs to revive your sense of self:
- Talk to someone you trust about your worries
- Extend an unexpected kindness to someone in need
- Read for pleasure.
- Practice your chosen faith or form of spirituality
- If you are in a twelve-step program, attend your meetings
- Seek professional help if it is available.
Above all, make a conscious effort to be aware when you need a break. Avoid letting anger and frustration from your employment situation spill over into your personal relationships.
Nurture Your Body
You may experience fatigue and lack of motivation, and it is altogether too easy to overindulge in tempting hoiday treats. Don’t allow yourself to fall into bad habits that will be hard to break later. A sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating and drinking habits will cause you to feel sluggish, lead to health problems and harm your self-esteem. On the other hand, staying active will help you acheive fitness goals and the endorphins from exercise will boost your sense of well being and alertness. Simple ways to Increase your activity need not involve an expensive gym memberships if that is not possible, but a brisk walk or riding a bike every day can make a big difference.
A balanced diet, drinking and plenty of water, and daily excercise will improve the way you look, feel, and function. Paying attention to your your skin, hair, and personal hygiene will also boost your sense of self-worth and keep you better primed for job interviews.
Forgive, Accept and Move On
Holiday get-togethers can be a trigger for grudges old and new and these can become magnified when you are in transition. If you are feeling resentful, you’ll have difficulty projecting a genuinely positive attitude and this will affect not only your personal relationships, but also how interviewers and colleagues perceive you.
With close friends and family, try to accept them as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations—just as your stress level is higher during the holidays, so is that of your loved ones. Like you, they may be giving the best they can.
It is normal to feel hurt when you feel wronged, but harboring resentment saps your power and fuels negative emotions and behaviors instead of motivating you to find positive solutions to the problem
. These solutions can range from repairing a fractured relationship to giving yourself permission to limit or eliminate a toxic one.
Invest in a Better Future
A struggling job search often means a troubled resume supported by no plan of attack. So when holiday stress looms, invest in understanding how to write a resume and conduct a job search more effectively
. You can also improve your your interviewing skills, and learn about long-term career management. Enter the New Year empowered by knowledge and energized for your job search.
Happy Holidays from the Knock Em Dead Family to yours,
Martin Yate CPC + Angela M Yate