2015 was a tough year for the province of Alberta and 2016 isn’t shaping up to be any better. The drastic dip in oil price has led to mass layoffs and unemployment rates that have not been seen since the previous recession in 2007-2008. Although there is no way to predict economic factors with 100% certainty, many economists are warning that 2016 is going to be another challenging year.
It’s common knowledge that staying positive will result in many tangible and intangible benefits to all of us. The question facing many Canadians today is, “How can you possibly stay positive when all you are hearing is gloom and doom?”
Here are some suggestions:
- Know that we have been here before – Every recession is different, but there have been a number of significant economic downturns that have affected the province of Alberta due to declines in the price of oil. Commodities are very cyclical in nature and recessions are always followed by a recovery. As an industry, oil has always bounced back.
- Surround yourself with positive people – It is likely that your office has experienced layoffs to some degree which can sometimes lead to decreased employee morale. Under these circumstances, it can be very easy to get pulled into negative conversations with your colleagues/friends. Do your best to keep conversations focused on the positive aspects of the office, and try to avoid any particular people who are constantly bringing you down.
- Fill your time off with hobbies – Do you have a hobby that you love that you never seem to have enough time for? Do you enjoy exercising and just can’t get away from your daily obligations to fit it in? Filling your time with things you love to do if you find yourself having more free time during the downturn is a great way to build some positivity into your daily routine.
- Make the most of your downtime at the office – If you are finding your daily task list to be minimal, ask your coworkers if there is anything you can do for them. Seek out activities that will be useful to your company and at the same time, productive for you. Does your company offer internal training programs? A slow period at your desk is the perfect time to beef up your certifications and do some additional training.
- Learn something new – It is hard to make time for professional development when business is booming. Take advantage of the change of pace and enroll in a course/program that will expand your knowledge and abilities. When business picks up again, you will have added professional skills to your portfolio that you can offer to your organization. Additionally, your individual value as an employee will have increased.
- Turn off the negative news – While it is important to be aware of the economic situation and certain events that may affect it, there is no need to hear it on replay 7 days a week. The media tends to especially focus on the negatives, so do what you can to bring more balance to your daily news fix. Being concerned and being consumed are two different things; once you are up to date on the news you need to know, put down the newspaper, change the channel and turn off your “oil price” Google Alerts!
It can be very easy to get pulled into a depressing cycle and brought down by the news of negative economic conditions. Enduring these hard times should make us all grateful about what we do have and the supportive people in our lives. Engaging the six suggestions above can help you avoid hitting the lows and stay motivated about the inevitable recovery we have in our future.