Friday, May 22, 2020

10 Things to Do When you Have Time Off, or Get Laid Off

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
One year ago I had some time off between jobs, and I am so thankful to have experienced this break from the "daily grind". I began working in advertising immediately after graduating from university. I had absolutely no time off, which was A-OK because I didn't want to lose momentum. For those three years of working in media sales, I spent all of my vacation time actually on vacation - which was totally worthwhile, but also very busy.

From Italy to Spain, and BC to Cuba, it wasn't uncommon for me to fly out Friday night and arrive home Sunday night, only to start work again on Monday at 9. For adventure-style trips like hiking in Alberta or touring Barcelona by foot, I always felt like I needed a vacation, FROM my vacation! And don't get me started on the prep... I take packing very seriously, and there are many rounds of edits that go into fitting two weeks worth of shiz into a little carry on bag. Believe me, it can be done!

So when my office closed, I felt like a university student again. Being able to wake up at 9 (or later), going to appointments at 2 p.m., and shopping with all the grannies at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday. It was fine, but I didn't want to get too used to it. I'm someone who thrives off of routine and needs to be surrounded by inspiring people to get work done. Otherwise, I laze around for hours in the morning, and work on my hobbies, like this blog, into the wee hours of the night. Not good!

This break in my career fortunately happened at the best possible moment. Within the two months, my oldest sister gave birth to her second boy, my middle sister got married, my cousin from Belgium came to stay with us for a week, and I was able to dedicate time to creating a whole new workshop strategy for teens undergoing cancer through my volunteer work with LGFB Canada. It was busy, but there were still moments where I felt a bit empty and unsure of my future. I reconnected with some former colleagues and friends that I had been meaning to see for so long, and those lunches and chats were so awesome. There's nothing quite like the power of human connection, especially when you're looking for direction.

In this wild time that we're experiencing right now, many of us have had to suddenly pivot into a new way of life. I encourage you to try and feel thankful for any extra time you may have right now, or if you are bombarded with extra work, have faith that if we continue to work together, things will get better. During my time off last year, I was able to reevaluate my priorities, reflect on my strengths, write out new goals, and ultimately prepare for the future. Here are 10 things I recommend doing during your next spurt of "time off":

  1. Be a tourist in your own city - my cousin Andrea visited Toronto for the first time during my time off, and luckily my other cousin Paul and I had the same chunk of time completely free to take him around Toronto. We visited so many awesome places, which I'll share in another upcoming post.
  2. Get a massage with your benefits, before they're up! - You've paid into them, might as well use them! I love getting a good deep tissue massage, and it's an extra bonus when you have it done at a day spa. Pampering yourself is just as good for our outer health as it is for mental health. Along these same lines, make sure you use up all your eyewear benefits, physical therapy sessions, dental coverage and whatever else you need.
  3. Do yoga, join a sports team (great for networking!) and stay active - once again, keeping physically fit is so good for your mental wellbeing. This is a great time to start instilling good habits. Take care of yourself! Get a mani-pedi, or do it yourself!
  4. Get sleep, it'll pay dividends.
  5. Marie Kondo your life, your closet, and your computer desktop. Declutter anything that doesn't spark joy. 
  6. Volunteer - it helps us find our true value, and serving others tends to make the volunteer feel even better in return. 
  7. Redo your resume with Canva.
  8. Learn to cook, and enjoy the process!
  9. Exercise money saving tips like selling clothes on online, learning to mix cocktails or creating a fancy coffee from home.
  10. Have more parties at your house and make the food/drinks at home. Spend time with family and reconnect with old friends. You never know what connection will help you land your next job!

Remember, everything happens for a reason. One door closes for the next door to open! It's okay to give yourself time off, because often times that break will allow you to find even better opportunities to challenge yourself and build your best future.

xx

This post was predominantly written before COVID-19. My hopes are that we can get back to a somewhat "normal" way of life soon, which will better support the 10 recommendations listed above.
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