Mental Health: How to Cope After Losing a Job

It’s never easy to cope with job loss – and it’s even harder if you’ve been fired or laid off unexpectedly. Most people experience grief after losing a job, just as they would after any other significant loss.

It can be jarring to feel the intense, negative emotions that come with unemployment. But there’s no need to feel guilty for being sad, angry, or anxious about the future. You’re not alone in your feelings or your circumstances.

The important thing is to have a plan for dealing with your feelings in a healthy way so that you can move forward to the next opportunity.

Take a Break

In the days right after losing your job, it may be tempting to exhaust yourself with job searching. You may also feel immobilized by depression and anxiety.

It’s important to take a break to lower your stress level. Make time to rest, hydrate, and eat well so that you can keep your focus sharp and your energy up as you get ready for your next steps.

Don’t forget to stay active in things you enjoy. Getting exercise and keeping engaged in your favorite hobbies are simple, effective ways to decrease anxiety. The endorphin boost makes it easier to maintain a positive attitude.

Find an Outlet

Often, one of the most upsetting things about losing your job is losing your peer group at work. But the good news is, they weren’t your only outlet. When facing unemployment, you can reach out to family, friends, or a mentor you can trust. Having someone to talk to is a great way to process your feelings and makes it easier to maintain a positive perspective. 

Make a Plan

You’ll need time to adjust, but making a plan for moving forward ensures you don’t stay stuck. Career experts suggest:
Make time: Set aside time to job search (and separate time for other important things in your life). Schedule your job search as you would your work.

Join a Job Club: Job clubs and career centers are a great place to update your resume and cover letter, refine your job search techniques, and perfect your interviewing skills.

Network: Connecting with others is a great way to find your next job opportunity. To make it easier, you can attend networking events with friends.

Keep the Faith

Things can seem bleak after losing your job, But there’s always hope. God will never abandon you and he rewards faith during difficult times.

“Now faith is being sure of what you hope for, and certain of what you do not see. . .  Anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:1, 6

If you have an existing mental illness, the sudden changes that happen when you lose your job makes things even more difficult. It’s always important to avoid places and situations that could trigger addictive or harmful behaviors, but it’s good to be especially careful during this time.

When keeping the faith gets hard, don’t give into despair. TheHopeLine is here to help We can help you talk things through and plan for your success. Are you ready for a new beginning?

If you are struggling with depression, no matter the cause, to find out more and get help, check out our free eBook on Depression!

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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