That isn't surprising since our jobs not only allow us to earn money in order to survive and thrive. Jobs also give us a sense of belonging and contributing to society.
If downsizing, restructuring, layoffs or even a temporary job interruption is causing stress or taking it's emotional toll, use these positive steps and ideas to help you cope—and turn things around in your favour.
- Give yourself some time to adjust, to understand and feel the loss. Some actually go through a grieving process: feeling shocked, angry, worried and alone. Expect your emotions to go up and down but also know that you'll need to wrestle back some support, control and self-esteem. Start by talking honestly about how you're feeling with family, friends and even your healthcare provider if you think you need professional help.
- Adopt a survivor mindset. Rather than feel sorry for yourself and play the role of a victim, remember that you're a survivor. You'll feel more in control knowing that you can—and will—get through this.
- Make a job out of job hunting. Stay busy by treating job hunting as your new career. Get organized and dedicate "work hours" to defining your job-hunt strategy, updating your resume, networking, targeting companies and contacts, and upgrading your skills, if necessary.
- Join others for support and networking. Seek support from others by joining an online support group. Search "stress" in the find support section to find one in your area. But don't stop there. Joining a networking group (for example, a professional association) is a good way to introduce yourself and your skills to a professional group, and may be one of your best job-finding opportunities.
- Get real—and honest—about money. Be realistic about your finances and think about reducing your living expenses. You should also create a new household budget based on a year of unemployment—just for planning purposes; it probably won't last that long. Include any severance pay, savings, Employment Insurance (EI) or other government benefits due to you, and any other income you may have. If possible, work with a financial consultant—they have good survival strategies. Lastly, be honest with your friends and family about your new financial reality, especially if it means cutting back on extras like eating out or weekends away.
- Consider a change in course. This is a unique time that can open up new possibilities for you that you may have never imagined. Take stock of your life, your former job(s), your transferable skills and your goals. Perhaps going back to the "same old thing" is not what your heart really wants. Do some research and seek job counseling to identify new areas and new paths that might lead you to a different—and happy—future.
- Be good to yourself. Treat yourself gently, help relieve some of the stress you're feeling and stay motivated. Find ways to soothe your body, mind and spirit—soak in a tub, be with positive friends, take a nature walk or enjoy another activity. Eat right to stay energized, laugh at your favourite TV show or DVD, try journaling and get good quality sleep. And think about volunteering for a cause you care about—a good way to make yourself and others feel better.
Above all, stay positive and optimistic. While it may seem impossible at times, know that you will find a new job. Maybe even a new career that you love!