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The present times pose many new challenges, like keeping our distance from others and severely limiting our regular way of life. Experiencing job loss on top of that is no easy place to be. And that’s especially true today when the future of everything is so uncertain. I have been working from home for the past 18 months and had every reason to think it would continue until I decided otherwise.
As it turns out, even work-from-home jobs are not immune to this pandemic, and the company I was copywriting for stopped using freelancers and moved all operations internally.
So here I was, thinking I was in a desirable situation and had won half the battle when I was proven wrong on both counts.
Job Loss: Now what?
The fact of the matter remains that whatever I thought I had planned for my future was always going to be subject to change at a moment’s notice. Here we are, our way of life changed dramatically in what seemed to be, in the grand scheme, an instant. The good news is that opportunities are still around us, and perspective is ours for the changing.
Maintaining our mental health is more than tuning off the news or practicing daily meditation, it’s also about recognizing our fragility and being okay with it.
The days ahead don’t have to be without merit.
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1. Grieve Your Lost Job
If you’ve recently lost your job and find yourself unemployed, it’s okay to feel fear and confusion about what’s going on.
For many, identities and a sense of value are gleaned from our jobs or professions, and losing a role or title can lead to crisis. Allow yourself time to grieve the loss, even if you expect to return.
Note that your thoughts and feelings may move through the five stages of grief:
Denial: It’s hard to believe that a job that seemed so certain has disappeared.
Anger: It doesn’t seem fair.
Bargaining: Okay, so what are my options here?
Depression: It may be hard to see beyond the pale.
Acceptance: Okay, this is the reality and this is how I move on.
2. Get Reacquainted With Yourself
We wear a lot of hats throughout the day and sometimes it can be hard to remember who the person is under all the titles. This is an ideal time to indulge in the things you liked to do when you were a kid: painting, drawing, gardening, dancing, singing, cooking.
Revisit the things you did that gave you joy, not because they resulted in a paycheck.
3. Retreat and Regroup
Uncertainty has a way of poking at us to get our attention so we can dwell on the things we can’t change.
If fear dominates your thinking, instead of pushing it aside or trying to run over it with “positive thoughts”; acknowledge your fears.
Consider compiling a list of identifiable fears, then plan a strategy for how to quell them. This is a chance to take a look around and decide how to move forward. Maybe you won’t return to the same job, maybe you will. Or maybe this is the time to pursue what you’ve wanted to do all along.
Give yourself space to take care of your emotional needs before you set your sights on the future.
Life changes in an instant, you definitely know that now.
4. Occupy Your Mind
Creative outlets keep our minds busy and grounded in the present reality.
Take opportunities to express yourself in a creative way to channel your feelings, gain perspective, and assuage your fears.
Create a list of doable creative pursuits: read, write, compose, knit, or sculpt. You could also tackle an at-home project such as cleaning out the garage or getting the flower beds ready for spring. Give your mind a place to focus and channel frustration to create something fresh and new.
5. Be Good to Yourself
Our lives will return to the rule of the clock soon enough and day-to-day responsibilities will return as well. There are always the reminders to eat well, get plenty of rest and exercise while at home, and while that is sound advice, now and then you may be faced with overwhelm, fatigue, or sadness.
Go ahead and cry, eat some junk food, or binge your favourite show. Your feelings matter, feel them.
6. Seek Support
If you find yourself unable to cope with worry or fear, reach out. There are plenty of people, besides you and me, who are experiencing job loss, too. Connect with support groups via social networks or consider telemedicine to speak with a licensed therapist.
In this day and age of the upside-down, it can be difficult to maintain perspective, especially after job loss. Remember that these circumstances are beyond your control and you can only do what you can do.
Opportunities are around you, choose the ones that pick you up and carry you forward.
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