How to stay sane when it’s January and you’re jobless

I just got back from India. Did I mention? And it was great. But now I’m here again. Sunny England. Except it’s cold and grey. And Christmas is over. And I don’t have a job. And EVERYBODY else has a job. The only thing more depressing than going back to work after Christmas is not going back to work after Christmas.

It would be easy to start totally FREAKING OUT right now. But I’m not going to do that. Okay brain? No freaking out. How?! I hear you cry – are you staying so cool and calm and collected while your entire life crumbles around you like a burning city. Well firstly calm down. I’m just unemployed, it’s not the apocalypse. And secondly – I’ve been making a lot of lists. Like the one I’m about to share with you, you lucky thing.

List 6473803: How to stay sane and get through your unemployment relatively unscathed

1. Adopt an attitude of gratitude

Gratitude is, like, so hot right now. Everybody’s doing it, feeling it, selling it, baking it. And for good reason. Feeling genuine gratitude is bloody lovely. I write a list of all the things I’m grateful for once a day and spend a little time sort of embracing my thankfulness. I know it’s all a bit zen, but don’t fret – I won’t start exclusively eating kale/quinoa or train to be a hot yoga teacher. My gratitude lists are very silly and often include the words ‘pyjamas’ and ‘macaroons’. It’s the little things ya know?

2. Get up early… and do stuff

You don’t need to tell me how hard this is. I know. I live it everyday. It’s torture. It’s pain. But it’s necessary.

Don’t be fooled. Just because you don’t have a job does not mean you cannot have a productive day. Sitting in your flannel pyjamas watching re-runs of the Downton Abbey Christmas special is appealing of course, but will certainly not help with the whole unemployed situation and is not conducive to a satisfying day.

Getting up early makes me feel as though I’m being really bloody productive before I’ve even done anything. It’s marvellous. Now what to do next…?


3. Exercise

I’m a strong believer in doing things that make you feel good. Which is why you’ll never ever ever catch me on a cross trainer or one of those hideous stepping machine things. Life is too bloody short and they are too bloody painful. I do, however, happen to love running. Very slowly. In fact I’m sure if you put your mind to it you could walk faster than I run (HRH confirmed this the other day which is why I now run alone).

But it makes me happy. I run for my mind as much as I do my body. A quick shout out to endorphins… You guys rock. No matter how chilly it is outside I ALWAYS come back from a run feeling as though I want to swing around a lamp post and sing in the shower. And that’s the way you should feel everyday if you possibly can.

Me after a run

kate moss

… only joking – this is me after a run.

4. Act as though you are employed

Slob around in your pyjamas all day and you will begin to feel as though this is all you are capable of. Get dressed. You can do it. Sit at the table with a cup of tea and your laptop. Be professional when looking to become a professional. Act as though you are someone and you will become someone. (I cannot guarantee this will happen. I am still very much no one. Actually no, that’s not the point… I am SOME ONE… I’m just not entirely sure who yet.)


5. Budget

You don’t have a job. I’m sorry I’m not trying to be mean. But you don’t. You’ve got 99 problems and having to pay £10 a day because you’ve gone over your overdraft limit again needn’t be one.


6. Have POSITIVE ENERGY and self belief 

It’s a simple message. And it comes from the heart. Believe in yourself. And that’s the place to start.

… Okay yes I did steal that from the Arthur theme tune. That show taught me so much about life.

But seriously – do. Because if you don’t nobody else will. You are capable of far more than you realise. Reading complicated job descriptions is completely disheartening… and often leaves you feeling utterly bewildered. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO ANY OF THIS STUFF.

I was explaining this predicament to the Mancunian the other day and she explained that nobody knows how to do that stuff; when she applied for her current job she had no bloody idea what they were going on about in the job description. Turns out a lot of the time it’s just very simple stuff enshrouded in complicated wording. They’re weeding out the faint hearted before the process has even begun. Sneaky.


7. Enjoy this time

Repeat after me – life is only bleak and depressing if you make it that way. And you’re not going to… Are you?!

If life goes according to plan you’ll be working for the next fifty years. FIFTY YEARS. So bloody hell ENJOY the fact that you have a little time off right now. You can use this time productively and still have a bloody great time. Write, read, run, have fun. Oh and maybe actually apply for a few jobs while you’re at it.

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Honey I’m Home

I’ve just gotten back from India. Three months of beaches, bikinis and bellinis. Ha ha – just doing a funny. I was in fact working with rural tribes in the landlocked state of Madhya Pradesh – where a woman is likely to be pummelled to death for drinking alcohol, let alone donning a polka dot bikini. It’s been a life altering three months – which I’ve spent almost exclusively wearing a starchy salwar kameez and being force fed dahl.

Wifi is few and far between where water is the main priority (although there are a disconcerting number of satellite dishes attached to houses made from little more than sticks and poo). So – to all my loyal followers who have probably been wandering around like lost sheep wondering why I haven’t posted in a while – Mum, Dad – I’m sorry.

Buuuuut (there’s always a but) – in order to redeem myself for such tardiness over social media – I have rather an exciting (well I think so at least) series of blog posts lined up.

Picture the scene: I’m lying on the floor, breathing like Darth Vader, stirring occasionally only to retch into a dirty bucket. I have barely the strength to take a sip of water, let alone reach for a book. Willing anything to distract me from the pain and the turmoil inside my stomach – I grab for the closest reading material to hand, my diary.

Re-reading a diary is an ill-advisable, humiliating, NAY torturous experience, and I’m squinting through my fingers as I flick through the founding pages, groaning occasionally – not from the virus ripping through my insides – but for SHAME at the content within this beautifully embellished Paperchase notebook. Who knew what horrors could lie beneath?!

I think we can all agree that to read another’s diary is one of the worst intrusions into privacy one can inflict on a person: Akin to walking in on them in the loo or dry-heaving into a dirty bucket or waxing their legs over the sink. But – much like the former and the latter, reading another’s diary is also, incidentally, hilarious. (Dry heaving into a bucket is under no circumstances funny for anybody involved).

As I lay on the dusty floor that day, dry heaving into that bucket and praying for an end – I also experienced something of an epiphany. Yes this stuff is embarrassing and cringe worthy and I’d be mortified if anybody read it… But it’s also bloody hilarious (mostly in a laughing at me not with me kind of way – but still). And here’s the brilliant bit – IT’S ALREADY WRITTEN. Praise the lord.

I face a lot of writers block in creating this blog – I know, I know, you’d never expect it – what with all those quippy one liners and quick puns. But writing is tough man – it takes hours of staring a screen like a lunatic, of typing and then deleting and then the inevitable self-loathing when you just CAN’T GET THE RIGHT FUCKING WORDS IN THE RIGHT FUCKING ORDER… (Nailed it that time though). But the most wonderful thing about this diary is that it’s already on paper – it’s complete! (And daily entries are conveniently blog post sized.)

If this trip has taught me anything – it’s that it’s really about time I just faced my fears instead of pussy footing around them as I have been for the past 22 years. And honestly – what could be more terrifying then revealing your bat-shit crazy neuroses to the entire internet?!**

So, deep breath… Other than a few illegible words (my handwriting really is terrible), a bit of punctuation and a few spelling mistakes (that degree in English was worth every penny) – everything is the same cringe worthy, badly worded, emotional splurge – as it was first written. Yes that’s right folks – in the form of one blog entry per week – you’re about to read my diary… It’s about to get personal.

** Answer: squat toilets.