Strategies to help manage stress and make the most out of a challenging situation
Managing Stress after Job Loss
It is very normal to feel several emotions after learning your job had ended involuntarily. More than financial security a job provides us with professional and personal identity, daily and social structure, and gives many people a purpose for activity. Even though your job loss occurred through no fault of your own, you may feel some loss of self-esteem, or that somehow you have failed, and it can be difficult to tell your friends and family. It's important to acknowledge those feelings should you have them, but it's also important to process those feelings in a way that allows you to focus productively on the future.
Grief is Normal
Grief is a natural response to loss, including that of a job. You may feel a variety of emotions on any given day including anger, sadness, hurt, panic, rejection and fear. This is normal and to be expected. You have every right to feel the way you do so go easy on yourself. Fear, anxiety and depression will make getting back in the job market more difficult, so it is important to manage your feelings effectively and grieve in a healthy manner.
- Write about your feelings. This can be cathartic as you may be able to express yourself in a way that is difficult for you to do aloud. Note your feelings about being unemployed and what it means to your situation.
- Accept the reality of the situation. While acknowledging your feelings and situation it’s important to avoid dwelling too long on negative emotions. Try to accept your situation and begin figuring out your next move.
- Challenge your negative thoughts. Try not to put yourself or your abilities down. It’s important to focus on your strengths and how to utilize those for your job search and day to day well being.
Acknowledging your feelings and challenging negative thoughts will help you deal with your loss and begin to move forward.
Ways to Manage the Stress of Job Loss
Be open to support and discussions from a variety of resources. Find networking and support groups for those experiencing similar situations. For links to local groups try the following links:
Job Search Resources
Involve Your Family.
Unemployment affects the whole family, so communicating with one another is essential. Talk with your family and involve them, when possible, in major decisions. Trying to keep your situation a secret can cause unnecessary worry and stress for other members of your family. Talk about job search plans and let them know how they can support you while you are unemployed. Talking with your children can be especially difficult but very important. To learn about some tips in this area, this article offers some helpful tips.
Take Care of Yourself.
While your focus may be job searching making time for hobbies and enjoyable activities is still important. Exercise regularly; it’s a great stress management activity and can boost your energy and mood. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep as a good night sleep can help manage stress levels and focus during the day. Finally practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing. Some helpful resources you might consider are helpful tips for restful sleep, and two articles on deep breathing and relaxation, which you can find here and here.
Contact Us for Counseling and Support
If you would like further guidance or to talk more about this information, please feel free to schedule an appointment with the UK Work+Life Connections program at (859) 218-0461.