Managing Stress After Losing Your Job

Mary Gormandy White
Manage Your Stress Naturally

Managing stress after losing your job can be quite difficult. While dealing with the emotions that surround being downsized or terminated is not easy, it's important to take proactive steps to cope with this difficult situation. If you don't deal with the stress associated with this type of change, it can have a negative impact on your health and prevent you from being able to make forward progress toward finding a new job and bouncing back.

About Job Loss Stress

Stress does not manifest itself in the same way for everyone. Some people will experience strong feelings associated with stress, while others tend to have fewer signs. Regardless of whether or not the signs are there - or how strong they are - losing a job is stressful.

Some of the most common signs of stress related to loss of employment are:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Denial
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Helplessness
  • Grief
  • Indecisiveness
  • Lack of energy
  • Panic
  • Sense of being overwhelmed

Tips for Managing Stress After Losing Your Job

When you are dealing with the emotions associated with losing your job, one of the first things you need to do is accept that you are experiencing stress and take steps that can help you manage it effectively. Failure to recognize, accept, and cope with the stress you are experiencing can lead to problems and make it much more difficult for you to recover from the setback that you have experienced.

Talk About Your Experience

Many people mistakenly believe that they should avoid talking about what happened and how it affected them. However, talking about your problems can help you come up with ideas regarding what to do next and can be an excellent way to manage the stress you're feeling. Alternately, keeping one's feelings about job loss bottled up can result in serious health problems, including increased blood pressure, headaches, stomach problems, breathing trouble, and others. Don't randomly vent to anyone and everyone who will listen, but confide in a friend, family member, or professional counselor who is willing to listen and offer support and assistance.

Manage Your Health

Many people have a tendency to let themselves go when dealing with the negative emotions after losing a job. However, it's in your best interest to take good care of yourself during this difficult time, because the stress you are experiencing already makes you susceptible to getting sick.

Since you have to figure out how to handle your finances and look for a new job, staying healthy is of utmost importance when you are recovering from job loss. Even though you may not feel like doing so, it's essential to get plenty of exercise when you are managing stress after losing your job. Additionally, eating properly and getting a sufficient amount of rest can help keep you from developing avoidable illnesses.

Make Financial Decisions

Don't give in to the impulse to sit and wait for your economic situation to improve. The best way to minimize the setback of losing your job is to take positive action to get the situation under control. Applying for unemployment benefits is one of the first things that you need to do. Whether or not you will qualify for payments depends on your particular situation. Contact your local unemployment agency immediately to begin the process of applying for benefits. You may also be eligible for financial assistance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Trade Readjustment Benefits (TRA), Food Stamps, or the AllKids health insurance program for your children. Contact your state's Department of Human Resources (DHR) to learn about the types of programs you might be eligible to receive.

You will also need to assess your financial situation immediately. Evaluate your spending and determine where you can cut unnecessary expenses while you are between jobs. Create a budget and stick to it. If you'll have problems making payments on your current obligations, contact your creditors and explain your situation. It's better to request information about temporary payment assistance programs before you get behind on your payments so that you know what options are available to you.

Get Focused on Your Job Search

If you need to go back to work, you'll have to start looking for a new job. While the process of job seeking may seem overwhelming at first, if you approach the process in an organized and systematic manner, you'll be able to start making forward progress right away. A few things you'll want to do to take some of the stress out of seeking employment include:

  • Narrow Search -- Decide what type of job you want based on your skills, preferences, and the types of employers and industries with staffing needs in your region.
  • Staffing Service - Contact staffing agencies in your area to determine which ones have successful track records in placing people with the types of skills that you have to offer. Select one, or a few, and complete the application process. Keep in mind that no reputable employment agency will ever ask a job seeker to pay a fee.
  • Resume - Update your resume, making certain that it is attractive, properly formatted, and free from errors.
  • Gather Necessary Information -- Complete a blank sample employment application so you'll have easy access to the information you need to apply for new positions.
  • Reference List - Put together a list of references, being sure to contact each person and request permission to use him or her as a reference.

Recovering From Job Loss

By taking proactive steps for managing stress after losing your job, you'll be able to minimize the negative impact of the situation you are in, allowing yourself to focus on making positive changes that can make things better for you in the future.

Managing Stress After Losing Your Job