The Unemployment Holiday Blues

The holidays bring out the blues in all of us. When you are unemployed, it is especially rough. I was a few days past Black Friday when I entered the unemployment realm last year. I had really enjoyed an amazing Thanksgiving and then was slammed off my feet with the news shortly afterward. The cold dark days and the jolly spirits of everyone else in the world just magnify how bad you really feel. I decided not to sing the Christmas blues, but to take a few days to feel bad and then move into the season with a light heart. This sounds easy but I really had to make a concerted effort to turn my holidays around when I really just felt like laying in bed and feeling sorry for myself.

Most of us tend to use the holidays to focus our unrealistic expectations and then face the let-down when things don’t live up to the hype. After I came out of a few days of moping around, I turned my attention onto this tidbit. The worst had happened, I lost my job and really it was only up from there. I didn’t need to worry about work deadlines and stress, I could focus on really being in the moment. I could take the time to write out some very thoughtful Christmas cards instead of rushing through them. I could troll the malls and enjoy the decorations, music, and smaller crowds while everyone else was at work. I could mindfully wrap presents, ones that I had the time to pick out with care. I could CARE about things, not just rush through them because I was so busy.

If you have lost your job, take the time to enjoy the season and simplify. You don’t need to buy tons of useless gifts, maybe strive for a few meaningful ones and some well-written cards. Focus on tiny moments instead of high expectations. All of this applies even if you have a job. We Americans have this terrible lust for BIGGER, BETTER, MORE, and the LOOK AT ME Syndrome. Instead of trying to attract attention this holiday, give attention. Make heartfelt gestures, say meaningful things. Take the quiet time in your career or in the vacation days you take not to run amok trying to please everyone and make a splash but to be a little zen this year. Try out being humbled by the true spirit of the holidays, the gathering of family and friends and say thanks for the prayers answered.

See the beauty in the basics. Losing your job is not the best present in the world. But maybe if you look at it as a gift, as being presented with more time this holiday season to look around and take stock and reevaluate all the things that are really important…it may be a a whole new way of looking at the holidays. And the blues need not apply for its annual seasonal job with you any longer.

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