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How to Cope with Stress after Losing Your Job

It’s no surprise that being unemployed is stressful. Loss of stability, structure, and security is frightening, but there are ways to cope with this stress while in between jobs. If you haven’t already, read our blogs on the five stages of job loss depression and five steps you can take after a job loss. These extra resources will help give you purpose and direction, hopefully alleviating some anxiety you might feel.

Here are some helpful tips for dealing with stress after a job loss:

  • Eat right. When faced with anxiety, people often under or overeat. However, what we put into our bodies greatly affects our mood, including alleviating or exacerbating anxiety. Make sure you’re eating leafy greens and getting enough nutrients, and talk to your doctor or nutritionist for more advice on a proper diet for you.
  • Sleep. A proper amount of sleep is how our bodies get enough rest and our brains process information. It’s ideal for an adult to get about 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Going too much under or over this average can affect your mental and physical health.
  • Exercise. Research suggests that exercising releases endorphins, which naturally help us feel happier. If you already exercise regularly, keep the habit going, even if you don’t want to. If you're not a regular exerciser, start small. Walking, biking, or doing a yoga routine from YouTube are all ways to get your body moving and the endorphins flowing. 
  • Emotional support. As mentioned in more detail in our blog on the five stages of job loss depression (link), losing your job is an emotional cannonball. It’s important to have family or friends around who you can turn to for guidance, love, and support. Some find journaling their feelings helpful, or even going to therapy. If there’s a job seekers support group in your area, consider joining. And, as always, maintain contacts with professionals in your field. Not only will they keep you connected to the workforce, but they also might be able to tell you if job opportunities open up.
  • Take time for yourself. Not every moment after a job loss has to be spent looking for another job. It’s important to set aside time to do something you like, whether that’s hiking, painting, watching movies, talking with friends, or playing the piano. It will help you feel happier, and relieve stress along with it.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Always remember, even if it’s only in the back of your mind, that this setback is only temporary. You will get through this. It’s important to acknowledge feelings of sadness and anger when they arise, but work through them, don’t stew in them. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s normal to feel stress after a job loss. With these basic principles, hopefully some of that anxiety can be taken off your chest. If you’re looking for more resources on how to change and grow during this temporary period in your life, buy our book, Don’t Dread Monday. Filled with first-hand knowledge and advice on how to follow your passion, it’s the perfect read for this transitory period in your life.