Losing a job is one of life’s most traumatic events.
While finding a new job—and replacing your lost wages—may be your top priority, it’s important to deal head-on with the stress you may feel as a result of a job loss. Read the Getting Through Tough Economic Times guide from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
How do I handle the stress of a job loss?
Understanding and dealing with the stress of being laid off should be your first step. Many experts recommend that you don't even begin looking for a new job until you've given yourself at least a couple weeks to deal with your job loss. Taking the time to process your own grief—and, if necessary, reassure your family—allows you to turn to your job search feeling refreshed and positive instead of angry, frustrated, or depressed. Combat stress with the following techniques:
Get plenty of sleep. It is difficult to make up for lost sleep and being tired magnifies stress, so make sleep a priority. Also keep in mind that sleeping too much could also be a problem, so try not to overdo it. Contact a physician if you have questions about how much sleep you need.
Eat right. What you eat plays a big role in how your body copes with stress and fights illness. Avoiding junk foods and big changes in your diet will help keep you well.
Exercise. Not only is exercise good for you, but it's a great tool for eliminating stress and anxiety.
Talk about it. Expressing your feeling and concerns about job transition with your friends and family will help alleviate your stress. Getting feedback from other people will also help to keep the situation in perspective. Give yourself a couple weeks to express anger or other negative feelings about your job loss. Then, when you're ready to begin job hunting, you'll be able to stay more positive.
Focus on things you enjoy. It's not going to be easy to ignore, but doing things that you enjoy can help take your mind off of something you find stressful - even if it's only momentary.
Do I have any rights and protections as a laid-off worker?
Yes. In addition to unemployment benefits, you do have other rights regarding the termination of employment through no fault of your own. Find details in the following resources (the resources below will open in a new browser window; to return to this page, simply close the window).