How to Manage Stress After Losing Your Job

Updated September 13, 2022
businesswoman frowning while using a laptop

Losing a job is stressful. If you've been there before, you may have experienced anxiety, depression, or a reduced sense of life satisfaction. And the toll of job loss can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. So how do you manage stress after losing a job?

It's important to set aside time to take proactive steps to cope with this difficult situation. By doing so, you'll be able to minimize the negative effects and allow yourself to focus on the positive changes that you can make. And by facing the challenge, you help yourself make progress toward finding a new job and bouncing back.

6 Tips for Managing Stress After Losing Your Job

One of the first things you need to do after losing your job is to accept that you are experiencing stress and take steps to manage it effectively. Avoiding the situation can lead to further problems and make it much more difficult for you to recover. Consider one of these methods to face the challenge and forge a path to move ahead.

Talk About Your Experience

Many people mistakenly believe that they should avoid talking about what happened and how it affected them. However, talking about your problems can help you come up with ideas about what to do next. Talking about your situation can also be an excellent way to manage the stress you're feeling. To make the most of your experience, choose your confidant wisely. Go to a trusted friend, family member, or trained professional.

Alternately, keeping one's feelings about job loss bottled up may even result in serious health problems. You may have trouble sleeping and your appetite might change. Researchers have even suggested that suppressing emotions might be linked to reduced longevity.

Make Financial Decisions

Don't give in to the impulse to sit back and wait for your economic situation to improve. If losing your job has compromised your financial health, it's important to be proactive.

Assess your financial situation for both the short term and longer term. Evaluate your spending and determine where you can cut unnecessary expenses while you are between jobs. Create a budget and stick to it. If you'll have problems making payments on your current obligations, contact your creditors and explain your situation. It's better to request information about temporary payment assistance programs before you get behind on your payments so that you know what options are available to you.

Apply for Assistance Programs

Overworked freelancer woman struggling with work

After losing a job, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits as well as a few other financial support programs. It's a good idea to contact your local unemployment agency immediately to begin the process of applying for benefits.

Whether or not you will qualify for payments depends on your particular situation. You may also be eligible for financial assistance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) benefits, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for your children. Contact your state's Department of Human Resources (DHR) to learn about the types of programs you might be eligible to receive.

Focus on Your Job Search

If you need to go back to work, you'll have to start looking for a new job. While the process of job seeking may seem overwhelming at first, if you approach the process in an organized and systematic manner, you'll be able to start making forward progress right away.

Get started by updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, then start searching for available positions via Indeed, local staffing agencies, and people in your local network. Spend at least a few hours each day looking for opportunities and completing job applications. If you're unsure where to begin, consider working with a career counselor to help you focus your job search efforts.

Manage Your Health

People may sometimes lose their focus on health when dealing with negative emotions after losing a job. But staying healthy is of utmost importance when you are recovering from job loss. You'll need to look and feel your best when you begin the process of seeking new job opportunities. So it's in your best interest to take good care of yourself during this difficult time.

Even though you may not feel like doing so, it's important to exercise when you are managing stress after losing your job. Additionally, eating properly and getting a sufficient amount of sleep can help keep you stay healthy in times of stress. And since stress can negatively impact the immune system, take extra care to follow good health hygience, such as hand washing.

Write About Your Experience

Research suggests that expressive writing, such as writing in a journal, can help people cope with stress and recover from trauma. Losing one's job is definitely a stressor, and it can also be considered a traumatic event.

One study found that people who wrote about the emotions of losing a job were re-employed faster than those who did not engage in this type of writing or any writing at all. With that in mind, you may want to consider writing as a way to manage the stress of losing your job. You just may find that this type of journaling helps improve your mental well-being and prepare you to move on to the next chapter in your career.

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How to Manage Stress After Losing Your Job