If you are out of work, you might be one of those folks who by nature retreats to where you live as your sanctuary; the place you feel safe and secure in. Be wary my friend, your decision could come to backfire on you and one day you wake up to realize you’ve imprisoned yourself through voluntary exile.
That sanctuary of yours; the one place you could relax in and just be comfortable with yourself after a lacklustre day at work has changed. Now that you spend all your day inside, your relaxation there is replaced with too much time to think, the chairs that once brought you peace now seem unusually uncomfortable. Pacing the floorboards is little better for you move around the house yet feel nonetheless like you’re stuck.
My advice to you? Get out of the house; you’re in serious danger! Sounds dramatic I understand but it’s true and for a few reasons. First and foremost you want the one place you live and return to each day to be a place where you can unwind, feel comfortable and at rest. If you seldom leave your residence, you can hardly return to it and feel that aura of safety and familiarity surround you.
While it’s understandable you might wish to limit your exposure to friends where you’ll have to address the issue of your unemployment and provide job search updates, shutting out these people can have unintended consequences. When you fail to communicate with others, you’re going to start imagining what these conversations and interactions are going to go down like. How you picture them is going to be affected by the mood you are in; and the mood you are in is…well…not so great. So how you think things will go is often worse than the reality.
Now when we are stressed – and unemployment ranks right up there as a big stressor – our minds don’t often shut down or move from one topic to another unless you’re suffering from multiple worries. Then it’s great at shifting from one bad thing to another! But alone in our house without the distractions that come from what we see, smell, hear, touch and feel, we can become consumed with those thoughts. Then what follows is often prolonged sadness, low self-esteem, self-criticism and questioning followed by anxiety and full-blown depression.
When you walk out the door and interact with your world, you take in fresh air for a start and just by moving, you get some much-needed exercise. Your brain will start receiving new information; everything from the colour of the sky and the sound of moving traffic to that small rabbit that just darted across the path ahead you’re walking on.
As you move around and your brain starts receiving all this sensory data around you, you may find that it is these little things that for a moment here and there replace your constant thoughts regarding your job loss. Building on one or two of these, you may find your attitude improves slightly; your perspective improves as well. When your thoughts return to your present situation it may occur to you that just for a few minutes you had other thoughts and how nice that was.
Getting out to see a movie for example often has the same impact. You escape for an hour or two into another world, forget your problems and find you are enjoying doing something akin to your normal routine. And from those around you, you realize you are doing something normal that others are doing too. In short, you are fitting in; and fitting in is what you haven’t been feeling with the lack of employment.
Here’s another benefit of leaving your house: you may find that when you again turn your thoughts to looking for work, you might actually have some possible solution to a problem seemingly pop up out of nowhere. Either this or the problem has actually diminished in size (perspective). “Why didn’t I think of that before?” you might ask yourself. “Of course! I could try this or that.” Try as you might you’ll never be able to figure out what it was that prompted that solution to come to you, but had you remained inside brooding about things, it wouldn’t have come.
When you get out of the house you might also notice a rise in your energy level and a lighter mood to go with it. This is not a panacea for all your troubles make no mistake, but getting out is healthy both for body and for mind. If all a person’s problems in life were solved by getting out the door and going for a walk the world would be filled with people who walked and some would never stop. It’s not a cure-all and not meant to be an over-simplification of the real issues you’re dealing with or attempting to resolve.
By the way if you do get out, here’s an interesting thing to check on. Are you walking with your head up or not? Seriously. When you are walking in what you believe to be an upright position, lean your head back slightly, and spread your shoulders. If I’m correct, you may have changed what you perceive as your normal stance to a slightly hunched forward and downward gazing one. Stand up straighter, look ahead and breathe deeply filling your entire chest cavity.