Posted by: Jo Banks
Have you been furloughed or are you currently out of work? Here are my top tips for keeping your sanity and turning a positive into a negative...
Since setting up my own coaching business in 2009, I’ve worked with thousands of people who have lost their jobs. For those who haven’t been fortunate enough to able to secure a new role before their termination date, not only do they find the economic uncertainty challenging, but the sudden lack of routine can quickly become unbearable.
Interestingly (especially in today's context of furlough), even those who receive large pay-outs, can still suffer feelings of stress and anxiety due to the sudden lack of routine and feeling 'useless', when unable to make a positive contribution.
For many, it's the first time they've ever had more than a couple of weeks off in their entire career, and it can be a major shock to the system. We all dream about how wonderful it would be not to have to work; however, work is embedded in our DNA – as humans, we are reward-driven. We are designed to go out and achieve, make a difference, get things done, and be rewarded for it. We are also creatures of habit – we are built for routine, it’s how our brains are configured.
Work provides us with all of the six human needs (Tony Robbins):
Without it, unless we find a replacement that meets these six needs, we can quickly experience negative emotions; it’s entirely normal. We have such ingrained habits that it's difficult to make sense of things when they are suddenly taken away.
The situation is exactly the same for the thousands of people who have found themselves 'furloughed' over the last couple of weeks, due to the uncertain times with which we are now faced.
If you've found yourself in this position, or indeed, you've unfortunately lost your job, here are some top tips based on my experience of working with thousands of people in the same/similar situations:
Quickly Establish a New POSITIVE Routine
Setting up a new, routine as soon as possible is paramount. Our unconscious brains love to automate ‘general’ tasks freeing our conscious minds for more important things. Whatever you do repeatedly will quickly become your new routine. Therefore, establishing new positive habits fast, is critical (before the bad ones take hold):
Things to Avoid
During times of uncertainty, it’s easy to fall into bad habits, especially those we refer to as ‘numbing’ activities, e.g.:
Whilst such things are fine in moderation, they have a negative impact when done repeatedly as they quickly become a habit, making it harder to break.
Avoid staying in your PJs, not showering or washing your hair; it's essential to maintain your self-respect and standards during difficult times. I realise it can be harder to do when you’re not going out, but if you build them into your new routine, it will be easier.
Things to Do
Get into Action and Avoid Procrastination
The list of things you could do during this time is endless; there really is no excuse to say your 'bored'. If you're bored, it's because you aren't thinking creatively, you've likely got into learnt helplessness, mistakenly believing that you have no control over your circumstances, but that simply isn’t true.
If you’re struggling with motivation, motion creates more motion. There's about a five-second lag time between having a thought and getting into action. Therefore, as soon as you have the idea to do something, count 188.8.131.52.1 then launch yourself into action; doing this overrides the bit of your brain that comes up with excuses not to do something. Once we get into motion, it propels us forward and into more action.
Here’s a great exercise help you think about the current situation more positively:
Project yourself into the future, to when all this is over and ask yourself these three questions:
You have more power over this situation than you may think. In my experience of working with thousands of people with similar challenges, if they didn't make good use of the precious time they had, they regretted it.
These exceptional times will be over at some point in the not too distant future; they won't last forever. Therefore, without minimising the awful things that are happening, it's essential to make the most of the time you have, wherever possible.
Finally, there are always at least two ways of looking at every situation, you can see the negatives, or you can search for the positives. It's a choice, YOUR choice.
Visit the website for Jo Banks' first book, Thoughts Become Things now available in paperback and Kindle formats.
Visit the website for Jo Banks' new book, Land Your Dream Job Now! now available in paperback and Kindle formats.
Jo's eighth book is coming soon... Packed with inspirational hints and tips to help you live a happier, healthier life.