Coping With Job Loss
Try these steps to help you through hard times.

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Coping With Job Loss

Losing a job may leave you feeling angry, resentful, rejected, helpless or alone. You may be frightened about possibly losing your home or taking care of your family. But there are ways to turn those feelings into positive emotions that can move you through tough times.

If you're like many people, your job is more than how you earn a living. It can be part of your identity, your self-esteem and certainly your routine. Losing that security can cause stress, grief and sometimes depression. The stress from worrying about your family's future can also add to your sense of loss and grief.

But losing your job is also a chance to step back, to regroup and to think about what truly makes you happy. Having a positive attitude can help you see the situation as an opportunity to reflect and make some constructive changes.

Here are tips that might make the process less about loss and more about resilience and recovery.

  • Accept your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend, relative or counselor about how you feel. Acknowledging your emotions can help you accept the facts and move on. You want to be at your best as you start looking for another job.

  • Be proactive. Let people know you are looking for work. Tap into professional networking groups or websites. Being actively engaged can have better results than feeling sorry for yourself. Community resources can help support you through difficult times. Many churches or religious organizations may offer job transition programs and networking opportunities. They may also be able to provide short-term financial resources.

  • Involve your family. They want the best for you, but they may have concerns, too. Being frank and open can help everyone cope with possible changes. And don't forget some fun family time. It can lighten everyone's load. Let people know what you need - from time alone to babysitting services for the kids while you're on job interviews.

  • Look after yourself. Get enough rest and don't spend every waking moment looking for a job. Find balance through regular exercise and healthy eating. You might try relaxation techniques when you feel stressed.

If time has passed and you still have feelings of grief or sadness over losing your job, ask yourself a few questions. Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy? Have you withdrawn from loved ones? Are your emotions and negative thoughts getting in the way of daily activities?

These feelings can be signs of depression, which can be treated with counseling, medication or both. Downsizing has affected many people, so you are not alone. Talk to your doctor if you think you might need help.

By Ginny Greene, Editor
Created on 10/29/2002
Updated on 05/12/2014
  • Job loss and unemployment stress. Tips for staying positive during your job search.
  • American Psychological Association. Depression.
Copyright © OptumHealth.
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