I’m starting a new role soon but I’ve been unemployed for the last week and a half. Usually unemployment conjures up feelings of unworthiness and anxiety, but this was a very intentional choice I made on my end (a blogpost how I left with no job lined up here). During my time off I haven’t been traveling or doing something extravagant but I have been taking care of myself. This is what I’ve been doing (what’s been on my unemployment agenda so to speak) to get ready for the next step ahead.
I completely changed the format of my room, have sold a few fashion items, have cleaned out my closet, thrown out papers I’ve had for way too long and just plain out tidied my space. It’s definitely not as minimalistic as I would like it to be still, but just getting rid of stuff I don’t need felt great to clear out both my physical and mental real estate. Whether it’s gathering all of the clothing you don’t wear anymore to donate to a local center, or deep cleaning your bathroom, cleaning up is a good way to feel fresh and new again in your home environment. This includes your car!
I did this by literally hiking Runyon Canyon, which I haven’t done in awhile, to remind myself how I am one person, but also to remind myself of all of the possibilities. It’s funny how each time I do the hike I feel like a different better version of myself. The parts of the hike that I remember being difficult aren’t as tough this time around. Going outside of your normal route and routine helps to recalibrate your senses and soak up new energy. In LA it’s easy to get stuck going back and forth where you need to be, so during my time off I made sure to go out of my way to explore areas I usually don’t have time for. This can be a hike that takes you to new heights, a new restaurant, something completely new or out of your comfort zone, or a wellness class like yoga or meditation.
I went to a korean spa in Koreatown here in Los Angeles to sleep, sweat and rest. I came in the morning and left late afternoon after enjoying the various saunas. I read, I wrote, I ate. (I’ll do a blogpost on what a day at a korean spa looks like). This day was dedicated to just taking it easy and doing what I liked. I also opted in for a traditional body scrub which made me feel like a new person. Yes, this involves an older person scrubbing the crevices of your body. I’m Korean and grew up going to korean spas, getting scrubbed so this is nothing new, but probably something to mentally prepare yourself for if you’ve never been. Wi Spa in koreatown has a nice rooftop deck!
When you’re in between jobs, it’s important to step back from where you currently are to think about the big picture. Unemployment is just a small chunk of time in comparison to your life. Using this empty time to your advantage to think about where you came from, where you are and where you’d like to be is extremely important. Especially because you don’t have the hustle and rush of a working day and the pressure to make decisions on behalf of a team or company. I find it helpful to piece together a new vision board to help me stay focused for the next iteration of my life. All you need are a handful of magazines and some printer paper or posterboard for you to tape or glue your sayings/images onto. You can even print out images you like if you can’t find what you want in the magazines.
Feed your mind
During your time off, be sure to rest but also to read up and watch as many things as you can to keep your mind stimulated and inspired. I like to listen to podcasts and read books related to self improvement. Lewis Howes’ podcast, The School of Greatness, is something I’ve listened to since 2014 so when he just so happened to be in town during my time off I of course had to go meet him in person for his new book launch/signing! Learn from the wisdom and stories of other people and take the time to feed your mind of positive and educational things so that you can make the decisions that best serve you. This doesn’t mean learning things you think you need to know, but rather learning things that genuinely interest and resonate with you. Be sure to record and share (in a journal or with someone else) what you’re learning and excited about!
Catch up and connect
Usually when you’re working it’s that much more difficult to catch up with friends and new connections, so do that when you’re free! I used this time to reach out to people on social media and to finally meet up with people I haven’t seen in awhile in person to chat. This involves people who are outside of my industry or people I’ve followed/connected with online but haven’t met in person yet. Take the time to call the people you usually might not have a chance to and do the things normal work hours wouldn’t allow you to. It could also be the places you’ve been meaning to try out! I ate this delicious smoothie and breakfast bowl at wanderlust and spent 3 hours chatting with a new friend 🙂
Write, reflect and create
When you have free time and nothing demanding your attention, use it to express whatever is inside you. You’d be surprised how much you have inside of you that you haven’t shared. This is always good ammo for creative endeavors, whether it be taking some photos, writing, or whatever feels most natural to you. I took a pottery class (my first time) and it was fun trying something new and making something with my hands, even if it wasn’t perfect. The best part is you don’t need to be perfect while you’re not working. Be busy and embrace the art of doing “nothing.” Just do the things you like and be busy being free.
The time I was unemployed went by so quickly even though it felt slow as it was happening. I’m grateful that I had the time to relax and I’m ready for the next thing!!
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