How to Recover and Bounce Back After a Job Loss

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Unemployment can be a stressful, scary situation for anyone. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many more people have found themselves out of work as a result of economic uncertainty. A Pew Research study found that a quarter of adults under the age of 30 have had to seek unemployment benefits since the pandemic began. That’s a significant number of the population.

The effects of furlough or being fired entirely can be personally devastating. There is of course the strain on your finances, and your ability to keep yourself and your family comfortable. However, it also tends to be a mentally and emotionally challenging situation, too. Between the stress of the job search, the hit to your self-esteem, and the sense of isolation, is it any wonder that you might be struggling to push through this period? 

We’re going to review some of the areas you can focus on to make a difference to your personal and professional outlook after a job loss. What can you focus on? What techniques and tools can help you to adapt to a changing and uncertain climate?

Seek Support

Do not try to go through this period of hardship alone. It is certainly easy to get yourself into the frame of mind where you don’t want to be a burden on anyone else or cause any undue worry. Pride also plays a role. So you might wind up trying to go it alone. Unfortunately, all this does is put additional pressure on you, which you’ll likely internalize, and can wind up feeling isolated. One of the best ways you can help yourself, your loved ones, and your career prospects at this time is to reach out for support. 

This doesn’t just mean financial support, either. Your mental health needs to remain intact, so asking friends to regularly talk to you — particularly about subjects outside of your job search — can be a source of comfort and release. You will also need space to consider your position and undertake focused job searches. Therefore, seeking alternative childcare for just a few hours a week can help to provide you with this room. However, it’s important to bear in mind that COVID-19 still presents a risk to your children and other people, so where possible, your spouse or a close relative to take them to an open area to minimize potential exposure for everyone involved.  

Support can also come from your former colleagues and employers. It will often be the case that your boss had no choice but to let you go, and still understands the full value of your skills. It’s generally not considered relevant to include references on your resume or initial application — they take up real estate you could be using for your skills. Still, it’s important to gather these early so that you are prepared. Contact your former employer or any senior figure that you worked with, and either ask permission to provide their contact details if requested, or obtain letters of recommendation. Taking this time to reach out may also raise opportunities in the industry that former colleagues may be aware of.

Make a Plan

That feeling of powerlessness following being made unemployed can cause you to spiral into inactivity. You weren’t able to prevent yourself from being let go, and the world around you can seem to be crumbling, so it can be a struggle to find the motivation to keep moving. Making a forward plan of action is one of the most effective tools you can produce to prevent becoming stuck in this way.

Firstly, make a list of all the most immediate priorities. Get a good understanding of your financial situation — what are your outgoings, and what can you cut back on. If you’re unemployed for months, will you have to make adjustments to how you contribute to your retirement plan or your 401K? Do you need to start an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to minimize the potential negative impact on your future finances? What current loans and credit lines are you able to arrange lower repayments on for the time being?

It can also be helpful to formalize your process and schedule for your job search. This can be hard on those days when you feel as though you’re drifting — it’s a framework for you to follow. Make your plan the night before, as people tend to find this leads to them being more productive the next day. Create blocks for activities; list where you’re going to be directing your search, how you intend to network online, what periods are dedicated to reviewing or rewriting your resume if needed. Remember to schedule breaks and time away from the job search, too, as this will help you to avoid burning out

Consider Your Skills

If you enjoy the area of work that you’ve previously built skills in, it can be a smart move to look at where the needs in your industry lie. Accountancy, as an example, is not just strictly populated by traditional accountants — there is a demand for accounting adjacent roles that use the same skills. Financial analysts and auditors are all appropriate for those with an accountancy background, with room to grow toward leadership roles with further education. Therefore, it’s worth exploring what demand there is not just for your prior role, but for the skills that you have gained within it.  

Becoming unemployed can also be good motivation to explore other career areas that you may be interested in. If you’re able to undertake new training while protecting your current finances through the hard times, this time in history is a particularly good time to do so. You are not limited to attending traditional universities. Distance learning and remote e-learning courses are both prevalent and increasingly recognized by employers. Not to mention that there are many free tutorials on YouTube that can launch careers in sectors that encourage those who are self-taught — such as coding, web design, and the arts.

Conclusion 

Becoming unemployed can be a major setback; financially, professionally, and emotionally. However, you should be reassured that the situation is not entirely outside of your control. By focusing on gaining the right support, planning your activities, and building your skills you can achieve a successful and enriching comeback.

5 Ways to Add Victorian Charm to Your Modern Home

Finding a genuine, historic Victorian home within your budget and without necessary repairs may be more challenging than ever in today’s world. However, this isn’t stopping dreamers from reaching their home goals with some work. People are even moving far distances to smaller cities and paying high renovation prices if they discover the right one. Recent findings have shown that many millennials are buying historic homes, fueled by the changes of the pandemic. Additionally, owners of a quickly growing Instagram page called Cheap Old Houses, featuring older houses for sale, state they want to bridge the gap between younger generations and historic homes.

With some possible adjusting and a bit of renovating, people are successfully acquiring the homes of their dreams. If historic Victorian beauty is what you imagine your home to have, there are ways to renovate your current house without having to move and face large competition.

Learn about the variety of ways you can add charming Victorian features to your modern home and see how these modifications can make all the difference to your inspiration.

1.   Construct the Interior Aesthetic with a Showstopper

From inviting crown moldings in doorways, refreshing and unique light fixtures, tasteful wallpaper designs, and eye-catching mosaic tiles, historic homes bring a comforting feeling you can easily surround yourself with. Before you know it, remodels like these will have every room reminding you of the lovely Victorian aesthetic, which can still be incorporated with modern smart tech. While adding these elements into your home, place the newer aspects closely around vintage decor to ensure it all blends together seamlessly.

Unforgettably, one of the truest showstoppers in Victorian homes has proved to be a grand, elegant staircase. This truly sets the tone for the rest of your home as it takes up a good amount of space. Unique railing posts with ornate carvings and embellishments undoubtedly sets a modern-Victorian home apart from others. While you’re at it, why not add a vintage accent rug at the bottom with a scrollwork design to pull the environment together.

2.   Change the Plain Ceiling

Your ceiling is probably one of the last places you’d look to add character to. It certainly isn’t the center of attention for a room, but it can be. Victorians often were inspired by creating a story within their interiors; this means having a beginning, middle, and ending (that being the ceiling). Get creative with your ceiling and install a medallion to attract the eye. Not only is this architectural detail unique, but it’s especially useful for practically covering a light fixture’s ceiling box. This additionally opens the door to beautiful chandelier ideas to include some sparkling effects to your space. In general, medallions are most fitting for larger rooms, but there are plenty of sizes to choose from for the perfect ratio within the room.

3.   Remodel a Timeless Kitchen

Kitchens from the Victorian era are hallmarked by their use of space, pastel palette choices, and overall romantic look. Once you step into one, you’ll notice the unique design elements and functionality almost immediately, giving you a refreshing feeling. Before you know it, the “heart of your home” will have a new meaning as you join with family and friends in the grand space. Many have also continued the tradition of simplistic built-in bookcases, which can save you more space in any house while also keeping rooms looking tidy. Some have the options to be completely covered to blend in or open to display your belongings visibly on a shelf. Others even follow the feature of incorporating a window to match most Victorian cabinets in the kitchen. Take advantage of a lovely feature like this and even use it to display pieces of floral or patterned china rather than storing them away completely.

4.   Design an Elegant Bathroom

When renovating your space, keep in mind that while looks and decor is all fun and important, you’re also enhancing your own daily lifestyle. Don’t forget to consistently incorporate Victorian stylistic designs into other spaces, such as your bathroom. Consider adding Victorian touches, like a piece of antique furniture or artwork, framing the mirror with scrollwork, replacing your current bath with a luxurious clawfoot tub, and installing vintage-inspired faucet taps.

Though these are some of the most memorable trademarks of a Victorian bathroom, many modern bathrooms make it a bit difficult to include everything. This is often because of minimal space or inconvenient constructed placements. If you want to go all out without limiting your designing abilities or hurting your budget, many people consider supporting their budget with a home equity loan. This type of loan can get you the quick updated change you want, while even providing fixed interest rates to ensure you don’t get off track financially from getting the most elegant bathroom of your dreams. Plus, a newer bathroom renovation adds value to your home and often shows to be highly sought after on the real estate market.

5.   Create a Welcoming, Classy Exterior

One of the most favorable parts about a Victorian home is that you can also enjoy its endless charm from outdoors as well. Certain elements such as vintage doorknobs, window shutters, porch trim, and wrought iron railings can encapsulate original curb appeal to your home. However, installing a transom window above your front door will have you falling most in love with all of the natural light it brings in. As it serves this beneficial purpose, you can also play around with what designs gravitate toward your overall aesthetic, whether it’s artsy stained glass or classic paneling. If you want to take your housing exterior to the next level, think about the roof. One of the first ways you can spot a Victorian home is by its historic metal shingles with embossed designs. Once you include features like these, your charming Victorian-looking home will be sure to become the most memorable house in the neighborhood.

As you begin renovating your modern home to look more historic, remember that you can successfully preserve the authentic Victorian style you’re looking for. Simply think of the design aspects mentioned above that help certain features work together in harmony. This type of architecture with beholders of the past may even become one of the most popular homes once again.

Small and Creative Updates to Transform Your Living Room

Every now and then your living room needs a bit of sprucing up. A little change never hurt anyone, so your living room can only become better if you decide to update it.

Now, these changes and updates don’t have to be huge or radical. A few small and creative changes can have a huge impact on the design of your living room.

Also, you don’t have to break your budget to transform the space. If you’re interested in finding out what small and creative updates you can do in your living room – you’re in the right place.

Stick with us to find out how to easily refresh and spruce up your living room space.

1.   Change the paint color

Starting off with the most obvious and yet the most impactful change – a fresh coat of paint. You wouldn’t believe how much a change of paint can transform and freshen up space.

You can completely change the color of your living room or you can just refresh it with the same paint color – it’s up to you. If you’re looking for a big change, consider painting your walls with new, bold, and inviting colors.

The thing about paint is that if you don’t like it, you can always repaint it! Currently, some of the most popular living room colors in 2021 include greens, blues, grays, and beiges.

Of course, when painting your living room mind the size of it. Generally, smaller living rooms should be painted in brighter and lighter colors to make the space seem larger and more spacious. In large living rooms, on the other hand, you can play around with color combinations, darker shades, and tones – again whatever you prefer.

2.   Rearrange the furniture

One of the ways to make your home feel welcoming and cozy is to simply rearrange the furniture. You don’t need to buy anything new for your living room, you can just rearrange what you already have. Play around with furniture positions and try to think outside of the box.

This means that people often tend to push all their furniture against the walls, which makes the room look smaller and cluttered. Regardless of how big or small your living room space is, you should always consider balance and traffic flow.

If you’re placing a large sofa on one side of the room, make sure the other side is equally balanced with something similar or a group of various pieces. Don’t just group both big and small pieces on one side of the room.

Move around the furniture until you find the perfect solution.

3.   Invest in a statement piece

A statement piece can be any piece of furniture that makes the room stand out. When it comes to living room space, you have many options. You can choose from armchairs, sofas, to bars and cabinets.

For example, investing in a sofa or a loveseat can be a great start. The color of this sofa or a loveseat should be bold and interesting. It can be stunningly tufted and made of luxurious velvet fabric. The point is to make this accent piece the focus of the room.

This piece of furniture should stand out and be eyecatching. Once you have this accent piece, you can decorate around it.

4.   Nook for kids

Everyone should have a bit of space in the living room, even kids. So, when transforming your living room, don’t forget about the children.

You can easily create a space for them within the living room without radically changing the design of the room. This nook dedicated for kids can be placed in the corner of the room and you can round up space by placing a bean bag or a big comfy pillow. Include some interesting storage options for either their toys or books.

You can install a couple of shelves where their books will be displayed or you can invest in rattan boxes and baskets as a stylish toy storage option. This way, the toys can be nicely hidden in storage that doesn’t stand out from the rest of the room.

Apart from having a functional kids’ nook in the living room, you’ll also have an eye on them all the time.

5.   Change the rug

Yet another easy but significant change for the living room. Changing a rug doesn’t seem like such a big deal, yet it can completely transform the space. Rugs give texture and warmth to any room. But over the years, they become worn out and their colors can fade from the exposure to sunlight.

So, one of the quickest and most effective ways to spruce up the room is to change the rug. Thankfully, rugs come in many options, textures, and patterns. You have a wide variety to chose from. From shaggy rugs to traditional or Morrocan ones.

Once you replace the rug, the change will be obvious immediately.

6.   Swap the art and decor

Replacing the existing art with something new may seem expensive. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be. Yes, most of the original art or reproductions can be very expensive. However, there are more affordable ways to refresh your space with new art.

If you’re creative enough, you can DIY your own art. Similarly, you can download pictures online and have them printed and then framed.

You can add mirrors in your living room to make it look larger and brighter. You can play around with new knick-knacks and décor pieces.

Open shelves are a nice touch to any living room, especially if they are nicely decorated and styled. Also, ledge gallery or mantel shelf décor – very trendy these days.

Be creative and do whatever you feel like in your space. There is no right or wrong! Just a simple change in your living room can go a long way.

7.   Bring in greenery

Bring in life in your living room with plants and flowers. Greenery can work with almost any design and it’s a pretty affordable way to transform any space.

Having plants in your living room apart from being stylish and trendy, it’s also very beneficial. Plants purify the air, reduce stress, and boost productivity. So, not only will you be adding life to sterile places but you can also benefit from having plants indoors.

You don’t have to go overboard with the plants if you don’t want to – one or two plants can make a significant difference. Plus, if you’re worried about keeping them alive – don’t worry because you can always find various easy to maintain plants.

If you feel like it’s time to refresh your living room space, you’re probably right. The design and style trends evolve constantly and so do our tastes. If you no longer like the design of your living room, now you know that changing it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

Simple changes like swapping art and accessories, changing wall colors, or rearranging the furniture can be a good enough design transformation.

Protect Your Finances in Hard Times

By Ann Lloyd, Student Savings Guide

It’s been almost a year since many of us have felt truly safe. We’ve been beset by a global pandemic, civil unrest, and, amidst it all, financial uncertainty.

We have limited control over those first two elements. We can wear masks and socially distance to shield ourselves from the coronavirus, and we can do our part to find common ground and exercise compassion when dealing with our fellow citizens. But somehow, things still feel largely out of hand.

We might feel overwhelmed by financial demands, too, and some factors may be beyond our immediate control. But we can still take steps to find firmer financial footing and work toward a more secure future — even in an unsettled present. 

Weather changes in your employment

For many, the employment picture has become a major source of stress and uncertainty during the past year. Many businesses have closed, and a survey of Yelp data showed that 60% — a majority — had closed down permanently. Unemployment claims hit a five-month high in January 2021.

You may have been laid off or furloughed as a result of the pandemic, and even if you weren’t, your job description may have changed. Maybe you started working from home or saw a reduction in hours. Or maybe you had to assume new duties as your company stretched its staff’s capacity amid downsizing.

In light of these changes, it’s important to expand your skill set to keep yourself relevant. Ask your employer about cross-training opportunities, and bolster your all-around proficiency by seeking out online courses and how-to videos. Look for side jobs and contracting work, too: The “gig economy” has grown by 15% since 2010.

If you’re in a traditional job, check in with human resources about changes in job status or duties that might be expected in the near future. And don’t be afraid to ask for information about financial assistance, wage investment programs, retirement options, and insurance packages that are available through your company.

Get proactive with your finances

Take stock of your overall financial picture with an inventory of everything from your budget to your retirement plan, from your insurance to your bank account.

There are plenty of financial management tools available to you, ranging from banking apps to budgeting software and beyond. For example, in uncertain times, managing and maintaining your credit is critical. You’ll need a credit cushion now more than ever. Under federal law, you’re entitled to a free credit report each year. Take advantage of this opportunity so you know where you stand.

If you find yourself in difficult straits, pursue opportunities for government aid. Two rounds of stimulus payments have gone out to qualified taxpayers. If you haven’t received yours, you can check its status and how to proceed via this IRS site online. 

Do some research and be aware of your options. There’s also other tax relief available, such as filing deferments and economic impact payments. Check into unemployment insurance and student loan relief, if they apply. 

If you’re a renter, know your rights, and whether you’re protected by a government moratorium on evictions. Check with lenders to see whether they’re willing to be flexible on your debt by allowing you to skip or delay scheduled payments. Ask your bank to waive ATM fees, late fees, and overdraft penalties.

Scrutinize your insurance

Insurance is important during the best of times, but it’s even more critical during times of crisis.

Take account of all your coverage, whether it’s home, health, or automobile insurance. Some insurers offer discounts for bundled coverage; see whether this might work for you. Study your policies to make sure they don’t overlap and you’re not paying too much as a result. Know what needs different types of policies serve, and how health and car insurance coverage differs by situation.

There are other types of backups you also might want to consider. If your livelihood depends on electricity, you can’t afford to lose power. A backup generator is a modest investment that can keep you operating in uncertain conditions.

Protect your retirement

When you need to tighten your belt, it’s tempting to stop paying into your 401(k) or other retirement account. But don’t let uncertainty in the present threaten your future. It’s never a good time to pull the plug on retirement savings — but you can take this opportunity to reassess the kind of saving you’re doing.

Check with your employer to see whether your company is offering, or planning to offer, new options that fit your situation better. Consult your financial adviser for expert advice, so you can be sure of your future, even if your present seems uncertain. If you’re nearing retirement, your adviser can tell you how feasible it would be to call it a career — and when.

The past year has strained our economy as a nation, and our individual finances, as well. But even amid the stress and sorrow of civil unrest and the spread of a deadly virus, there are things we can do to minimize the impact of national and global crises on our lives. 

As we look ahead, we can take action to keep our ship afloat as we right our course and sail toward a brighter future.

Avoiding Winter Burnout at Work and Home

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With winter officially here, it can be easier than ever to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and even depressed. About 5% of adults experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), making this time of year hard enough to deal with, already.

On top of the typical pitfalls of the winter season, this year has truly been unlike any other, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still going strong for many people across the country.

Between the aftermath of the holidays, the cold, dark days, the endless negative news cycle, and feeling overwhelmed at work, it’s easy to experience burnout. That can leave you feeling tired, gloomy, and unmotivated.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to avoid burning out both at work and at home. Giving your mental and emotional health a boost can help you to get through this season, and even learn to enjoy it. Let’s look at a few ways to accomplish that this year.

Learn to Manage Your Stress

Everyone deals with stress. So, it might feel impossible to get rid of it, completely. But, too much stress can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health, contributing to everything from heart disease to high blood pressure. Excessive stress can also lead to mental health conditions like depression or anxiety.

While you may not be able to eliminate stress and anxiety from your life this season, there are ways to reduce them. One of the best things you can do is to avoid as many triggers as possible. Determine what it is that causes you to feel stressed and anxious. Some common causes include:

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Family
  • World issues
  • Money problems
  • Health problems

Problems with work or even the death of a loved one can also contribute to stress and anxiety. This year, more than ever, many people have experienced multiple triggers on that list, as well as more personal factors that have contributed to higher stress levels.

If you can’t completely avoid these triggers, finding ways to reduce your stress levels is important. Keeping your home clean and organized can help, as well as spending time with family members and other people you love (safely). Being able to talk about how you’re feeling can make a big difference, so don’t hesitate to create a plan of action when it comes to directly battling stress.

Make Your Home a Sanctuary

Many people have had to combine their work and home lives this year. You may have had to start working remotely for the first time. While that can sound appealing at first, it can be difficult to achieve a healthy work-life balance when your office is in your living room. One way to spark creativity and make you feel more motivated about working, whether you’re home or in your actual office, is to make a few simple upgrades. Get a standing desk to keep you moving throughout the day, or decorate your office in a way that inspires you and makes you feel more energetic.

If you’re working out in the field, or you’re a frontline worker of any kind, it’s extremely important to be able to separate your work life from your home life. Many frontline workers, like nurses, have to deal with immense amounts of daily stress as they see the firsthand effects of this pandemic. One of the ways to manage that stress is to get a full night’s sleep.

Whether you need to separate your remote working life from your free time or you’re an essential worker who needs to feel relaxed at home, taking the time to turn your living space into a sanctuary can be worth it!

You don’t have to make major changes to your home or routine to achieve a spa-like experience. If you’re trying to find more ways to relax and pamper yourself, consider:

  • Aromatherapy and bath oils
  • Body scrubs
  • Clay masks
  • Hand and foot care

Turn on some soothing music, draw a warm bath, and light some candles. By creating an environment of pure relaxation, you can almost immediately reduce your stress, feel more energized, and get better sleep, which can keep you going throughout the day no matter what career path you’re on.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care has become a popular buzzword over the last few years. Unfortunately, because of its popularity, it’s lost some of the true meaning. Self-care is more than just an idea, it’s something that needs to be put into practice. It also might look different for everyone, since we all enjoy different things.

Taking care of yourself can help to reduce stress levels and promote mental and emotional wellbeing. Again, it’s different for everyone, but there are a few common threads of self-care that can benefit almost anyone, including:

  • Eating well
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Drinking plenty of water (yes, you still need it in the winter!)
  • Keeping up an exercise routine
  • Being aware of any deficiencies in your diet

By taking care of your mind and body throughout the winter, you can beat the fatigue and exhaustion that sometimes tries to pull you down.

All of these solutions are beneficial when it comes to managing the winter blues and feeling as though you could burn out at any moment. While this year has been harder than most, these tips can still help you to get through the snowy season, so you can feel more energetic, motivated, and upbeat.