been laid off you’re not alone. Not having a job during the pandemic can feel
especially devastating due to the sheer magnitude, loss of control and
uncertainty. You might be wondering: When will this crisis end? Which
jobs and businesses will survive? Will we even get back to “normal”?
It’s also hard to job search when there are barely any jobs on the market. Consequently, you might feel terrified, overwhelmed and powerless. Your anxiety might be skyrocketing, and you feel depressed before you even get out of bed. It is awful. And there are many ways you can support yourself during this time. Here are 10 strategies to try:
Process your loss.
Blocking out some time each day to feel your emotions. Find a quiet, safe space and observe what you’re feeling—without getting attached to the pain. For example, instead of telling yourself, “It’s hopeless” say, “I’m having the thought that ‘Things are hopeless.’” Instead of saying, “I’m anxious,” say, “I’m noticing the emotion ‘anxiety.’
The utility of this is to realize that although you are experiencing intense emotions or upsetting thoughts, you yourself are not the content of those thoughts and feelings. Rather, you are the space or context in which they unfold. These painful thoughts and feelings come and go. But you remain through them all, intact and able to choose how you respond in any given moment.
Figure out your finances.
The first step is to apply for job seeker or unemployment benefits.
Secondly, create a bare-bones-budget for the next few weeks or months. Consider calling creditors to negotiate skipping payments or delaying them, such as with your landlord.
In general, try to distinguish between a healthy and productive concern with taking care of your financial needs versus fear of what might happen in the future.
Create and maintain a schedule.
Work provides us with structure. Without it, it’s easy for your days to feel aimless, meaningless and nebulous—and for your anxiety, sadness, and grief to deepen. To carve out a positive routine, starting with the basics:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time
- Eat regularly (e.g., three main meals plus snacks)
- Move your body
- Connect with someone
- Focus on a productive project, such as researching work options or completing a chore
- Practice self-care, such as reading, watching a movie, doing a puzzle, or taking a bath.
Don’t assume you won’t find a job. Even with massive layoffs, you are just one person who needs one job. Regularly checking job websites and looking into industries and companies that are helping to facilitate remote work and communication.
In general, anything related to technology has not been affected as much or in some cases is growing because of the limitations put on in-person gatherings. So, perhaps you can pivot and harness your skills for a different position.
Take care of yourself.
Identify at least five consistent self-care activities—big or small—that you can engage in on a daily basis. This could be as simple as drinking enough water and taking a shower. Consider what restores and refreshes you. Consider how you might meet your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs.
It is important to stay in touch with others—since work might’ve been one of your primary sources of social interaction. For example, since the start of stay-at-home orders consider participating in group coaching, trainings, meditation gatherings and get-togethers with friends, which can all been virtual.
You also might find connection and valuable information from joining industry-related Facebook groups. Look for groups and organizations in areas you’re interested in that are having positive conversations and sharing resources. This will not only help you find new opportunities but might give you a good sense of how different professions or industries are reacting to the situation, so you can be strategic about your own career move.
Focus on learning.
If you’d like to deepen your existing skills or learn something new, many courses are available at significant discounts or free online.
See if you can volunteer your skills. Volunteering can provide you with a sense of purpose along with experience you can add to your personal portfolio. By expanding your network and connecting with people who share your values and are doing good in the world can be a great way to stay connected during this time. Plus, your time volunteering could lead to other opportunities, including a new job.
Polish up your work materials.
Update your portfolio, LinkedIn profile, resume or website. Include new work history, credentials, skills, certifications, and/or services. Doing this has the added benefit of reminding you of all the great success you’ve had while you were employed.
Speak to a counsellor. If you’re feeling distressed as a result of job loss contact EAP Assist.
Although this situation seems scary since there are so many unknowns, …tell yourself that you will find employment again. It might look different from your previous job. It might even be an entirely new path.