Losing your job (or even the thought of it) can bring up a wide range of emotions, including fear, sadness, guilt, anger, or relief. Processing the loss of a job may feel a lot like grieving a loved one. It’s okay to grieve your job, and you may experience the different stages of grief, such as shock, denial, anger, and eventually acceptance. Be kind with yourself as you work through these stages.
Mind Your Mental Health
Be mindful of the state of your mental health. The financial and emotional stress of losing a job can lead to an increased risk for a mental health condition. Maintain regular check-ins with yourself by taking a mental health test every two weeks. Keeping tabs on yourself can also help you determine if you’re processing your emotions in a healthy way.
Control What You Can
You may be feeling a powerful or overwhelming sense of loss of control over your situation. Sometimes major events can lead to many people losing their jobs, such as economic downturns or the COVID-19 pandemic. But you can always control how you respond. You can reach out to a loved one for emotional support, stay connected with others in a similar situation, reduce spending for a period of time, or stay informed about your options.
On the other hand, you might feel like this situation is your fault. It’s good to take responsibility for your own actions, but it’s also easy to get caught in a cycle of guilt and shame. Learn from your mistakes, focus on what you can control, and try to let go of what you can’t.
Losing a job can create more uncertainty in an already uncertain situation. It can impact a person’s perception of their own identity, perceptions of how others view them, financial obligations, and levels of stress. However, staying positive and mentally healthy in the face of uncertainty can help build resiliency and better prepare you emotionally when new challenges arise. Here are three actions you can take that contribute to better mental health.
- Focus on having a positive self-perception. Many people are losing their jobs because of the pandemic, and many are dealing with all the emotions that come with it. You are not alone, and this is not a reflection of who you are. Try not to blame yourself. Remind yourself that you are competent and worthy of work.
- Structure your free time with routines and productive projects. Develop and maintain a routine that includes practicing good hygiene, meal planning, exercise, and hobbies. Incorporate projects or activities that help you develop personally and professionally: all the activities you couldn’t do when you were working. Now is the time to experiment and learn from it.
- Develop positive expectations of finding new employment. Finding a new job can be difficult, but expecting the worst will only make it harder. Working on your resume, taking online classes, and developing new skills can help build your confidence.