Too many people take personal responsibility for losing their job, even if entire divisions were closed or the firm moved overseas. Sure it’s a blow to the ego, but employees are not to blame if the company goes out of business, sells out, or down sizes. Yet so many people take it personally, and some take it to extremes. “I’m the one who lost the job. Why should my family suffer?”
One gentleman who participated in my workshops said, “My family went to the beach Saturday. It was hot and my wife and daughter wanted ice cream. I was happy to get it for them, but I felt awful getting it for myself. I should be home looking for work.”
My response to him was, you can’t be looking for work 24 X 7. If you’re doing everything within reason to get re-employed, that’s plenty. As human beings we need to recharge our batteries, and we need to do it often. Taking time to enjoy yourself is important to reduce stress. Having fun provides mental refreshment and can make it easier to do the less pleasurable tasks of looking for a job.
I recommend that clients plan for pleasurable activities every day. What you do doesn’t have to be a big deal. Call a friend, take a short walk, play a couple games of solitaire, anything enjoyable that creates a mental diversion. Personally, I use fun activities as a reward for completing tasks. For example, I really enjoy reading mysteries. On days when I have to spend time with household chores and office bookkeeping, I promise myself that I’ll pick up a book once those tasks have been completed.
Concentrate on things you can do for free, but don’t beat yourself up for spending a couple bucks on something enjoyable. Your family recognizes the stress you’re under, and I’ll bet they enjoy seeing you relax and having fun.