It’s Monday morning, but not a typical Monday morning. Still groggy from a restless night’s sleep, you look over at the clock and realize the alarm will not be going off this morning. Today is the first day of your transition after leaving your job. You lay in bed with mixed feelings, thinking that it feels nice to be able to sleep in but also feeling flashes of terror as you ask yourself “now what”? The urgency that previously jolted you out of bed to get dressed, jump into rush hour and mentally sort through your day’s calendar is gone. There will be no chatter about the weekend around the coffee pot, quick shout outs about last minute meeting changes, and no routine good morning greetings from colleagues as you walk by their desk. You instantaneously feel alone. You just realize that you have nothing scheduled today and though you try to convince yourself it’s like vacation, you know it’s not. The lack of structure in the day ahead doesn’t feel quite as liberating as it should, it feels more like a free fall. You wonder if you should get up and jump into job search mode or stay in your pajamas all day, because you can. You likely elect the later. Over your first cup of coffee you mentally disect what just happened and ponder if you no longer hold the title that is on your now obselete business cards, then who are you? The gravitiy of these thoughts make you tired but the underlying anxiety your feel about being jobless makes you reach for a second cup of coffee. The day moves forward and your mind moves between seeing this free time as a gift to grappling with your biggest fears of never getting a job and losing your house. You decide that you need a distraction and come to realize that all the built in distractions you had at work need to be recreated, feelings of aloneness resurface. The clock moves slowly throughout the day and you find yourself wanting to obsessively check your iPhone, hoping someone will need you. You wonder how your former employer is making it without you and you are quietly hoping they are scrambling and regretting their decision to let you go. You miss your coworkers even the ones you didn’t like very much. You wonder how on earth are you going to survive.
Here are 5 tips to survive that first day.
1. Maintain structure in your day. Get up, get dressed, get moving.
2. Reach out to others for support and to provide conversation and a disctraction.
3. Nurture yourself. Engage in any activitiy that gives you joy whether it is reading, walking or getting a massage.
4. Stay focused on the things you have control. Avoid ruminating about the past.
5. Know that this time in transition will not go on forever. You will survive and likely come out of it a stronger person.
Tomorrow will be a new day.
Einstein said: ” life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”