Losing your job can cause turmoil in your personal life and these can be equally difficult to combat or recover from. The stress of being unemployed may disrupt your sleep schedule, interfere with your relationships, lead to financial insecurities and take a toll on your physical and mental health.
No matter how you feel right now – angry, fearful, relieved – here are several essential ways to cope after a layoff so you can continue to stay grounded, productive and mentally in control.
1. Surround yourself with supportive and positive people
It’s understandable to feel isolated after losing your job, but don’t let stress and anxiety get the best of you, take the time to talk with your family and friends so that they are aware of what’s going on with your current situation.
If they are opening their arms to help and support you, accepting them will help you a lot. Try not to keep things to yourself as it will lead to stressful situations. Having the support and empathy of your loved ones can be very helpful, especially in these times.
2. Let go of the stigma
Don’t feel depressed because you were recently part of a layoff because there are close to 17 million people in the same boat, by no fault of their own. Also, remember that there is a difference between being laid off and getting fired. Being fired is a permanent termination of employment, generally "for cause," like poor performance. Being laid off is the result of circumstances beyond your control—like the current economic situation. It’s important to understand the distinction so you can explain it to future employers.
3. Take a step back
Finding yourself without a job can give you time to take a step back to analyze your situation. Reevaluate your personal and professional goals. Do you realize that your identity was completely wrapped up in your job? Did you even enjoy what you were doing? Before the layoff, were you already thinking of making a career change? If that’s the case, this might be the moment to consider a new direction. Make a list of the activities you are good at that you also enjoy. That is the sweet spot if you’re seeking maximum career fulfillment.
4. Use your freedom wisely
It’s often hard to relax and enjoy yourself during a layoff. Money might be tight, or the stress of the job search could be weighing on you. However, it’s wise to do your best to enjoy this time away from the daily grind. If you have the money to travel, do it now.
Take advantage of this break to get back in shape. Or, use your free time to take an online course to learn a new skill!
How to Get Your Groove Back
While there are a lot of different definitions of confidence, a simple one by Harvard professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter who defined it simply as “the expectation of a positive outcome.” So what can you do to regain or maintain your confidence? Here are five quick tips to keep in mind:
1. Build on your past successes. Stay focused on your ultimate goal. Be ready, willing, and able to bounce back from adversity and set-backs when – not if – they happen. Resilience is key.
2. Leverage your strengths. Don’t dwell on your weaknesses or limitations. Be self-aware about — and make others aware of — what you have to offer.
3. Make everything a learning opportunity. Einstein said: “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Be ready and willing to fail, learn, and move forward.
4. Seek out feedback and create a support network. Build your own personal Board of Advisors. Appreciate that feedback is a gift.
5. “Act as if.” Behave as you believe, and your belief will eventually become reality.
Eleanor Roosevelt famously said: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”