If you’re over 50 and unemployed or under employed, there’s a pretty good chance you spend at least part of you day looking for jobs, crafting cover letters and sending out resumes. With all the effort you put into each submittal, it would be nice if you at least got an acknowledgement that someone even bothered to look at it. But, alas, that’s not the world we live in today.
Eventually, job search fatigue sets in. You’re not just physically drained, you’re emotionally drained. People who have never gone through it just don’t understand the toll it takes.
I’m going to share with you the three tools I use to help combat the stress of “where the hell is my next paycheck coming from.”
Yes, I know it’s a cliché, but it works. But here’s the key: you have to do it more than once. Do it once and you’ll experience nothing. Do it every day for two weeks and this sort of unconscious calm falls over you. You can’t really articulate what it is, but you’ll notice things don’t seem to stress you out quite as much as they used to.
The only way to meditate consistently, at least for me, is to make it an invisible part of my day. Here’s what I do. I download a free guided meditation onto my mp3 player. You can use an iPod or even your phone. Then, every morning when I wake up, when it’s still quiet, even before I turn on the lights, I sit up in bed, pop in the earbuds, close my eyes and just listen for 20 minutes. That’s it. No fuss, no muss and no real impact on my day. Give it a try. Don’t know where to find free guided meditations? I’m glad you asked.
I know, volunteering doesn’t pay the bills. I’m not suggesting you volunteer 40 hours a week or even 4 hours a week. How about one hour a week? Everybody can find one hour a week to volunteer.
You probably already know about the benefits of volunteering: increase your professional network, develop your skills, build up your portfolio. But I’ll bet there’s one benefit you haven’t thought about. For the one hour a week you volunteer, you get to stop thinking about yourself (and your problems) and just focus on helping someone else. In essence, volunteering gives you a vacation from yourself. A well-deserved break for some of us.
Don’t know what to volunteer in? Try being a small business mentor—that’s what I do. I volunteer my time mentoring small businesses in the Austin area through PeopleFund, which is a nonprofit that makes loans to small businesses in Texas. Who knows? Maybe one of my mentees will hire me some day.
Don’t know where to find volunteer opportunities? Glad you asked. Try these:
Every morning I wake up I’m stressed about something. At this age it’s pretty hard for me to turn my brain off. So, what do I do? The first thing I do in the morning, after my meditation, is to grab my journal. It’s one of those black and white composition books you used back in the day. You can pick them up for a buck at any of the dollar stores.
I then force myself to write at least one full page, by hand, of anything that’s bothering me at that moment. I get all my frustrations, worries and fears down on the page. It makes any problem I have seem more manageable. And on days I’m excited about something and feeling great, I write that down too. Give it a try and see if it helps. What have you got to lose? Five minutes of your day?
There’s one more tool I think you should try. It was created for people just like you. It’s a private Facebook group called Too Young To Retire. TYTR is a community of people over age 50 to help and support each other with their job search and entrepreneurial endeavors. We help each other by…
- Making an introduction
- Sharing a resource
- Offering encouragement
- Answering a question
- Being a service provider
- Being a customer
- Sharing experiences
- Becoming a business partner
- Offering perspective
If this sounds interesting to you and you’re willing to contribute to the community, head on over and check it out.