Coping With Job Loss – How to Adjust Mentally to Your New Situation?

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Job loss has just happened to you. Accept that you might feel disoriented for a while. This is totally expected. Don’t be too hard on yourself the first weeks after you got laid-off. If you accept the emotional, even traumatic side of lay-off and let it run its course, you will regain your footing most likely much faster than rejecting your emotions.

How to best adjust to your new situation? Three things come to mind: “Do nothing”, disengage mentally from your former employer, and enjoy your leisure activities as usual.

“Do nothing”
You might enjoy your morning coffee at 10 a.m. You could walk in your neighborhood at 11 a.m. before watching some mindless TV shows for a good laugh at lunch time. In the afternoon you could catch up on reading the crime novel that has been languishing on your porch. Then you might drive the kids to soccer instead of your spouse. Just be as lazy or as active as you feel like. There is no right or wrong. You relax and get used to your new status as somebody “between jobs” or “starting out in a new direction.” In fact, relaxing for a while might be the best method to calm down. At this point, take it easy and don’t stress out over the future.

Disengage mentally from your former employer
A great way to disengage from your former employer and let go is to avoid contact with your former co-workers from office, unless they are close friends of yours. You must realize that the old company is now history. Every contact you make, every minute spent commiserating with those who were let go or are still employed there is just extending your agony. Resist the urge to keep your disappointment or anger about your former employer alive and preventing you from moving on fast.

The best thing to do is to “declare victory”. You achieve this by saying to yourself that you had a good time at your former employer; you met great people, had a good run, earned fair money, learned a few new tricks…and now you are ready for better things.

Sit on your couch, close your eyes, and review the last months or years at your former employer. Think about the laughs you had, the successful things you made happen at work. Then close this chapter for good. Be content that you had good employment and still have roof and shelter…unlike many others in the world. Count your blessings. Your job is gone, but your life is not ending. You will find another job since you had one before. No need to despair.

Enjoy your leisure activities as usual
There is no reason for you to stop your regular leisure activities. Pursuing what you like in terms of sport, cultural or social activities is even more important now – mixing and mingling, being active. Having continuity in your life should help you regain your emotional balance. Don’t stay in your house all day long and hide. Go out and enjoy life as much as you can.

Doing these three activities for one or even a few weeks should help you leave the past behind. Be aware, though, that this period of adjustment should come to an end eventually. There are so many other important activities to pursue after job loss.

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