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How To Cope With Job Loss?

Wong Shu Lee  

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  May 24, 2022

Whether you’ve been laid off, downsized, or forced to take early retirement, losing your employment is one of life’s most stressful experiences. Aside from the obvious financial anguish, it can cause, the stress of losing a job can also take a heavy toll on your mood, relationships, and overall mental and emotional health.

 

While the stress of losing a job can seem overwhelming, there are many things you can do to take control of the situation, maintain your spirits, and find a renewed sense of purpose. 

 

#1 Allow yourself to grieve

 

Grief is a natural response to loss, and that includes the loss of a job. As well as the loss of income, being out of work also comes with other major losses, some of which may be just as difficult to face:

 

  • A feeling of control over your life.
  • Your professional identity.
  • Your self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • A daily routine.
  • Purposeful activity.
  • Friendships and a work-based social network.
  • You and your family’s sense of security.

 

Acknowledging your feelings and challenging your negative thoughts will help you deal with the loss and move on. 

 

#2 Reach out to stay strong

 

Your natural reaction at this difficult time may be to withdraw from friends and family out of shame or embarrassment. But don’t underestimate the importance of other people when you’re faced with the stress of job loss and unemployment. Social contact is nature’s antidote to stress. Nothing works better at calming your nervous system than talking face to face with a good listener.

 

The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to offer solutions; they just have to be a good listener, someone who’ll listen attentively without becoming distracted or passing judgment.

 

You may want to resist asking for support out of pride but opening up won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most people will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your relationship.

 

#3 Involve your family for support

 

Unemployment affects the whole family, so don’t try to shoulder your problems alone. Keeping your job loss a secret will only make the situation worse. Your family’s support can help you survive and thrive, even during this difficult time. 

 

Whether it’s to ease the stress or cope with the grief of job loss, now is the time to lean on the people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-sufficient. Keep them in the loop about your job search and tell them how they can support you. 

 

#4 Find other ways to define yourself

 

For many of us, our work shapes our identities and defines who we are. After all, when you meet someone new, one of the first questions they ask is, “What do you do?” When we lose our jobs, we feel a loss of self. But it’s important to remember that being unemployed doesn’t have to define who you are as a person. It’s up to you to define yourself, not the state of the economy or a company’s decision to lay you off. 

 

By pursuing meaningful hobbies, activities, and relationships, you can reaffirm that it’s these things that define you as an individual, not your employment status. We all have different ways of experiencing meaning and joy, so choose something that’s important to you. 

 

#5 Get moving to relieve stress

 

If work commitments prevented you from exercising regularly before, it’s important to make the time now. Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress. As well as relaxing tense muscles and relieving tension in the body, exercise releases powerful endorphins to improve your mood. Trimming your waistline and improving your physique may also give your self-confidence a boost. 

 

#6 Stay positive to keep up your energy

 

When you no longer have a job to report to every day, you can easily lose motivation. Treat your job search like a job, with a daily “start” and “end” time, with regular times for exercise and networking. Following a set schedule will help you be more efficient and productive. 

 

Avoid getting overwhelmed by breaking big goals into small, manageable steps. Instead of trying to do everything at once, set priorities. If you’re not having luck in your job search, take some time to rethink your goals. 

 

 

Let’s start your job search with us! 


 

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