(Un) Employment Anxiety

I spent my summer unemployed. If there is anything that can increase anxiety by a crazy amount (for me)  i have come to learn, it is being unemployed. I applied for numerous jobs, interviewed for several, and got countless rejection letters and phone calls (the phone calls were the worst!) 

I would never be too anxious about the interview itself, which is also kind of backwards for people with anxiety. I guess it probably has to do with the number of job interviews I have had in the past few years. There was more than one time i would have two or three interviews in a short time period (1-2 weeks) and would worry and worry about what i would do if one offered me a job before I heard from the previous one. What if I wanted one more than the other but that one called me first? Did I accept the job and if something better came along just call them and tell them I changed my mind? SO many scenarios ran through my mind. I lost so much sleep over job interviews and job offers and more than 6 months later I am STILL unemployed. 

Not only did being unemployed all summer open my mind to unwanted and unneeded anxiety it left my days wide open for a million other thoughts to take over. Some days they (my thoughts) did just that, took complete control over my brain and my day to the point of barely being able to function. Not only would my anxiety take complete control, but my depression would make an appearance causing me to think bad thoughts about myself and my ability to obtain a full time job. I would think there was something wrong with me. I must be stupid, or ugly, or incompetent. My self esteem was basically non existent by the end of the summer. 

As if I wasn't already being hard on myself and completely beating myself up, I had other people constantly asking me about my job search and how my interviews went. To me it made things worse. While i knew people were asking because they were (usually) genuinely interested it still made things worse on me. It made me irritated, it made me sad, it made me angry, and I simply got tired of talking about it and having all of my conversations with other people revolve around my job hunt. Everyone was always so quick to offer suggestions about where I should apply (nobody had any new ideas) and thought suggesting I look outside of my field was a good idea. Some days I would shut my phone off and avoid people all day just so I didn't have a panic attack. It was awful.

While I had a lot going on this summer along with everything going on in my head I had some things that I did to help ease my anxiety. Sometimes these things helped, sometimes they made my anxiety worse. In late May I start running. I worked out a few times a week before we moved, and due to my lack of income got rid of my gym membership once we got here. I started running outside as a way to "explore the new neighborhood", and to save my money. I fell in love with running, and had a new found hobby for running outside instead of on a treadmill. I ran at least 4 days a week, even when it was hot as hell outside. These runs USUALLY did more good than harm as it was time for me to clear my mind. I listen to music no matter what I'm doing so I would turn my Ipod on and just go. I would run faster the more anxious I was, so that was a bonus! There were days I would come home from my run and be mentally defeated. Those were the days I would sit in the middle of the floor and just cry. 

I started reading A LOT more than I normally do. I've always been a reader, but got into a bad habit of watching TV instead of reading. I used to read maybe a book a month and this summer I found that sitting outside and reading was a good way for me to relax. Again, there were days I would read five chapters of a book and not even remember what I had read because my mind was not focused. I chose to sit outside to read on the days it was nice out, because who doesn't want a tan in the summer and also need some Vitamin D?! 

I never let myself fall out of my sleep routine. I did not let myself sleep in and I did not get in the habit of staying up late at night. It helped that my husband had an office to be at everyday now. He would get up, which would wake me up and I would get out of bed. The latest I ever slept was 7:30. Granted there were days I would get up at 6:30-7:00 and go straight to the couch to continue resting, I found it helped to still get up out of bed at a normal time. Now, there were days that I wouldn't get out of bed until 8:00, 9:00, etc. Those were my worst days. I kept my bedtime normal as well so that it wouldn't be so hard for me to get up. I think this was probably one of the best things I did for myself. Not only did it help me stay in a normal routine (which I NEED), it made early morning interviews easier! 

Those are just a few of the things I started doing this summer while I was unemployed and trying to avoid daily anxiety attacks! I am still searching for that perfect job, but in the meantime am substitute teaching for two school districts. It keeps me busy, and I could be busier if I wanted to be. While it's not exactly glamorous it is income, it is something to keep me busy while also keeping my flexibility for job searches, interviews, and anything else I have going on, and it is one more reminder why I am NOT a teacher! 

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