Sure, you didn’t plan on being on permanent vacation, a.k.a. unemployed, but here you are. And believe it or not, this can be a blessing in disguise. No, I’m not joking! Consider this: your time off from the normal 9-to-5 grind could be a way to reignite your purpose and uncover new passions. Here’s how:
Don’t be ashamed about being in between jobs. It’s the nature of the game and your colleagues who know your work ethic and the industry are bound to understand. Email or call to let them know that you are on the hunt for another job. You’ll be surprised to find out that as opposed to prying into why you’re out of work, more often than not friends will want to help. Your network can be your best advocates and support system.
A Netflix binge is trendy, but a good book will keep you motivated or inspire you. Dust off your reading list (try these awesome picks) and spend some time reading for leisure. This break is also a great time to start a blog to help keep your writing skills up to par. My favorites? 20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman’s Guide To Balance And Direction by Christine Hassler and Basic Black: The Essential Guide For Getting Ahead At Work (And In Life) by Cathie Black.
Research any associations in your industry that might have an upcoming luncheon, conference, or networking event. Reach out to the coordinators to see if you could use your expertise at their next event. This allows you to position yourself to be in a room full of power players and network your way into a new position.
Sometimes a little home makeover can change your mental space. Paint an accent wall in a vibrant color, change the theme of your bathroom, purge your closet, and donate to Goodwill. From fresh flowers to a new photo collage on your side table, give yourself something new to look at while searching for your next great job.
Exercise your mind with crossword puzzles and brain games. SharpBrains lists 50 brainteasers to start your day with, and if you love a good crossword, try WordCrunch. If games aren’t your thing, BrainHQ suggests going to a museum, exercising, and memorizing a song as additional brain fitness tips. In other words, resist the urge to veg-out on the couch Bridget Jones style. Setting a daily schedule and list of to-dos can be a great boon for your mental well-being.
Find ways to monetize your love of photography, knowledge of Final Cut Pro, or even your car (hello Lyft!) to create income during your break. Develop a business plan and sell your product or services. From Etsy to Craiglist, the online resources are endless. A side-hustle is a great way to make sure rent is covered and to stay on track with your savings plan.
Ever thought about training for a 10K? Did you ever want to be vegan for 30 days like Beyoncé? Challenge yourself to try something new. Sure, being unemployed presents a new set of challenges, but the point is to do something productive as often as you can. Working toward a goal will give you that sense of accomplishment and success. Plus, when you do go back to work, you’ll have plenty of interesting stories to share with your new co-workers.
This article originally appeared on Levo and is reprinted with permission.