Ten Tips for Surviving and Recovering from Job Loss
(or Any Other Loss)
Debbie Brown, SPHR, MBA, MSW
In the past two years many people have lost their jobs. And for some they have also lost their reason for getting up in the morning. What’s the rush? They have all day to accomplish the few things on their “to-do” list.
So they stop exercising. And they get up late. And they wonder how they would ever be able to work full-time again and still have time to go to the dentist and run errands.
No time to exercise, but plenty of time to overeat?
It’s that old saying that the busiest people get the most done. Sometimes after a period of great activity or emotional stress, we need time to rest. But even then we benefit from maintaining our daily routines, the ones that keep us grounded.
This can happen when you are in a personal crisis, as well as a job crisis. These are the times when we must exercise some discipline.
1. Maintain your routines. Get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time, even though you are not working. Stay busy. Use any extra time you might have to clean out closets and get organized. Are there projects around the house that need your attention?
2. Keep to your regular exercise regimen. If you did not exercise before you lost your job, now is a good time to start. Do something you enjoy – play basketball, or tennis, join a gym and get a personal trainer, take up yoga. There are all sorts of exercise options today. And exercise is a great stress reliever.
3. Eat regular, healthy meals. Focus on getting good nutrition to help you in these stressful times. Try to limit “comfort food.”
4. Set daily and weekly goals for your job search and recovery. Focus on the results you want to accomplish. Don’t spend all your time sitting in front of the computer (or the TV). Job search is a contact sport. Get out of the house! It will help your morale as well.
5. Plan the activities you resist the most for the first part of the day. Reward yourself at the end of the day for all you have accomplished. Plan a special dinner with your favorite foods, or rent a movie.
6. Set goals for your personal life as well. Make social plans with friends every week.
Make a list of things you like to do but have not done in a long time. Make time for those activities. Just because you aren’t working doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!
If money is an issue, there are lots of low-cost activities. Hiking, playing games, or organizing a pot-luck supper are fun and inexpensive.
7. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t push too hard, but get “in the flow.”
9. Surround yourself with positive people, those who can support your efforts.
10. Be persistent. As you work your plan, reevaluate it and make changes when necessary.