These days it’s sadly not uncommon to face unemployment and financial crisis. Even people who are careful with their money can find themselves suddenly in trouble if they lose their job and can’t immediately find a new one. As the weeks turn into months and the bills don’t stop coming, it’s very hard not to feel yourself sink into depression and despair. How does anyone maintain a positive attitude during such a dark time?
Facing Financial Crisis
When my husband lost his job I was frightened but I thought it was just a matter of him getting out there and finding a new job right away. That’s how it works, right? Thankfully he qualified for employment insurance to help out while he searched, so certainly everything would be fine.
I had no idea how far we’d go down.
By the time the employment insurance ran out he had applied to countless jobs and not heard back from any of them. In the same time we had friends searching for jobs and also not finding any. We were briefly saved when my husband found work with a temporary placement company, but when that ran out, we were on our own. He continued to search for work while we watched the money vanish. Before we knew it, we were just barely hanging on by a thread. Birthdays came, Christmas loomed around the corner, and I was freaking out.
I struggled to maintain a positive attitude. IADOMA: It all depends on my attitude! But when no one is calling with job offers and money is not coming in.. when you know that in a couple weeks.. in one week.. in one day an important bill may bounce, it’s hard to keep IADOMA in mind. How do you keep a positive attitude when you’re losing control? How do you fix everything when you can’t fix anything at all?
Let it Go
While grocery shopping one day I came across a random note left by a stranger, stuck to a box of cookies:
“Stop stressing over things you can’t control. Things will work out.”
I laughed and took a picture. Later that evening, it really started to hit me. It was exactly my issue. I was stressed out of my mind over a situation I had absolutely no control over. How can you not worry when facing bounced bills and barely enough money for food? But that’s the thing – since I was already working full time and my husband was doing everything he could to find work – there was nothing else that could be done in that moment.
I had to let it go and stop trying to control things. I couldn’t make someone call my husband. I couldn’t make a job magically appear. It took a near mental breakdown, but I finally realized I had to just let it all go and simply deal with what I could when I could.
And do you know what happened? The next day my husband finally heard back from the temporary placement company who had helped him before. They’d had nothing to offer him after his last placement but the day after I let go of my desire to control everything they called. Two days later, my husband was working again. A few weeks later and he was being requested specifically by a company who liked his work and a month later he was receiving nearly full time hours.
Tips to Stay Positive
In our darkest times it feels impossible to maintain a positive attitude. And these days, unemployment levels are dangerously high in many areas. So how do we use IADOMA when everything seems like it’s falling apart? Here are a few tips:
Focus on the good things in life.
Plan some fun outings that are free or don’t cost a lot. Don’t stay home wallowing in your negative feelings, get out and do something. Even if it’s just a walk, get out and get some air. Take in the beauty of a local park or beach. And while you’re out make sure you don’t think about what’s bothering you.
Analyse the situation.
Write down your fears and worries and then number them by importance. Take a look at them and jot down ideas for how you can fix them. If they are things you cannot fix, put them aside and remind yourself that they are out of your control and you need to let them go. Some people find it helpful to write those things on separate pieces of paper then rip them up to symbolise getting rid of them. Some people like to bury them in dirt to signify giving them back to the earth. Find something that works for you and release those worries and fears.
Look for help.
We are not meant to be islands. If you’re in a partnership, work with your partner. Don’t keep your fears to yourself as that can cause rifts in relationships. Work together to lift each other up and hold each other while going through the hard times. If you’re in it alone, reach out for help from friends, family, or the community. Talk to a trusted friend about what’s bothering you. Look into your community to see if there are any services that may help you through. Don’t be afraid to look for counseling. Sometimes we just need an impartial outsider to listen and help us sort through our fears and worries.
How do you maintain a positive attitude when faced with hard situations? Add your favorite tips in the comments below! Remember, IADOMA! Focus on the positive instead of the negative and you may be surprised at how things can improve.