Routines are so ingrained that when life throws a massive disruption our way it can take us a while to form new ones. That’s why, after having been laid off, one might continue to have trouble remembering they don’t have a job to go to.
They don’t need to stress about getting to work at a certain time, and they might forget they have more flexibility.
In some ways, I’ve done well at transitioning into unemployment and establishing new routines. Yet I do wake up at 6 every weekday, I have coffee and a light breakfast before I work out, and then I shower and get dressed. By 9, I’m ready for work. By which I mean, ready for sitting with my laptop at the dining room table, getting my various lists of unemployment-related tasks for the day done.
It’s right now the weekend, and I’m doing my best to stick with some of my normal routines now, as well. Saturday was always my day off. I wake up and do a longer workout than on weekdays, then very little the whole rest of the day. Today is Sunday, and I’ll get chores done, and I’ve always done on Sundays.
Routines are good, and these are good habits. They’ll help me stay on track as I do the work of finding a new job. But, I must make sure I don’t become enslaved by them. I must promise myself I won’t get in a panic if my routines are disrupted.
Finding a new job is hard, and stressful, and it would be easy to let it consume me if I allowed it to do so.
Here’s the thing…. It’s rare, so very rare, to have a period of time when one doesn’t have to work. As scary as it may seem in concept, it’s actually okay to enjoy unemployment a little.
Perhaps I can relax my rigid rules and schedule a small amount, without it throwing all my efforts into a tailspin.
Last night, I caught myself having a moment of anxiety about staying awake to watch one more episode of a show. “If I stay up late tonight, I’ll sleep in tomorrow, and then it will be harder to go to bed on time tomorrow night, and that will screw up the whole beginning of my week…”
Good grief. I’m unemployed! It’s okay to relax, to watch that extra episode, to allow my sleep schedule to change a little. It’ll adjust back easily enough! Live a little!
There’s a broad line between maintaining good habits and being obsessive and controlling. I’m working on staying on the side of the former and recognizing it might be a challenge area for me.