It was raining the other morning at 6:00 AM, so I did what felt natural—I went back to bed. That was a mistake I discovered later in the day. I was sluggish and not on top of my game. My workshops were uninspiring, and I noticed a monotone in my voice. All day I was looking forward to my walk the following morning, regardless of rain or snow in the forecast.
My walking routine offers me the alone-time to think about the day ahead, planning exercises for a workshop, thinking about the workshop I’m designing; or simply time to take in the beauty that surrounds me as I ascend and descend hilly roads.
Why am I writing about walking? It’s not only walking I’m talking about; it’s any kind of exercise we should engage in when we’re employed or unemployed, but especially unemployed.
There are many self-help articles on how to stay motivated the job search. One article I ran across in my Internet surfing offers suggestions on how you can do to stay motivated if you’re out of work. I saw this article on the New England Job Show. The author, Randall Davidson, gives 10 ways to stay motivated, but number eight is the one I allude to:
Establish a routine. One thing a job offers you is structure. In the absence of a job, it can be difficult to find structure and that can contribute to depression. To avoid this, deliberately establish a daily routine. Take a class at the gym, drop your kids off at school, etc. Make sure that you schedule something for yourself that takes place early in the morning, as that’ll help you get up and going.
Walking, for me, gives me a routine that I’ve followed for over two decades. Yes, I’ve been unemployed, and yes I followed some of his other advice, such as dropping the kids off at school or taking them grocery shopping with me. Having a routine didn’t make being out of work a happy occasion, but it made this difficult time in my life easier to handle. The point I’m making is that Randall Davidson is correct when he says to get yourself out of bed, just as you would when you’re working.
Walking isn’t for everyone. You may decide to tackle a home project. (I attempted to re-tile the bathroom floor, which was a complete failure.) Or go to your local career center to take workshops, use its resources, or network with other jobseekers. Volunteering at a company or organization of choice is another way to establish a routine. These, of course, are addition to your hard-driven job search; but they’re important in keeping you off the couch and improving your physical and mental wellbeing.
I’ll continue to walk in the morning no matter what employment state I’m in. God forbid I lose my job, but the first thing I think I would do is start a walking club for people who are also out of work. I wouldn’t see this as a networking occasion. It would be more for helping others to create and maintaining a routine.
Tell me what your routine is, employed or unemployed.