Tips For Caring For Your Mental Health After You've Been Laid Off

Being laid off from your job can be one of the most stressful and upsetting situations you'll ever deal with. There are many reasons for company layoffs which include downsizing, buyouts, restructuring, relocations, and more. There are also so many questions to be asked once you find out that you're losing your job, as many people aren't prepared for an unexpected layoff. Will you be able to make it financially until you find something else? Will you be able to collect unemployment? What will you do about health insurance? There are many steps to take following a layoff. However, you'll likely also need to take care of your mental health once you process the fact that you've lost your job.

If you find yourself in this situation, feelings of depression and anxiety may start to creep in. This is where self-care and having a plan will be key. Knowing that you'll be able to figure things out and thinking logically about your layoff will help you get back on your feet and keep your self-confidence high as you contemplate your next move.

So, how exactly can you keep your mental health in check during the stressful and uncertain period following a layoff?

Lean on your support system during tough times

After hearing the news that you've been laid off, you will probably feel a lot of emotions. Perhaps you'll feel angry about why you lost your job, sad that you'll no longer be in the position, or fearful about what the future will hold for you. However, going through these emotions is a normal response that you should allow yourself to have. Although, you have to be careful not to let yourself linger in the sadness or negativity. This is where your support system comes in. Lean on those you are closest to, whether that be friends, family members, or perhaps another co-worker who is dealing with the same situation. There are also some great self-help books to read after losing your job.

"Making sure to share how you're feeling with people you feel safe with is important. Also, make time to grieve. Losing anything in our lives can elicit feelings of grief and loss. Losing our jobs can bring up feelings of sadness, and anger, and trigger feelings of low self-worth, and/or hopelessness. Finding support and self-nurturing rituals are crucial to moving forward," therapist Naiylah Warren tells PureWow.

Knowing that you have people who love and understand you will help you get through the initial shock of your layoff and see a brighter future ahead.

Don't blame yourself after getting laid off

In the emotional process of dealing with a layoff, it will seem easy to blame yourself. However, this isn't the case. Remember that you didn't do anything wrong and that as hard as it may sound, you shouldn't take it personally. It's all too common to look inward after getting laid off and think about what you could have done better as an employee. However, most layoffs come from systematic issues and have little to do with the employees on the receiving end.

Sociologist Ofer Sharone previously conducted research that stated people who blamed themselves for being laid off struggled with mental and emotional health much more than those who placed the blame on the system, per Fast Company. "Unemployment creates negative feelings, and then the negative feelings make it harder to get out of unemployment," Sharone explained.

Realizing that you are not to blame for the layoff will not only help you keep your emotions and mental health under control, but it will also give you a better outlook going forward as you navigate your new reality and look to the next chapter of your life and career.

Re-evaluate your goals and mindset

Once you understand that you're not to blame for being laid off, it's time to start looking to the future. After losing your job, there is an opportunity to re-evaluate your mindset as well as your life and career goals. So, sit down and really reflect on what you want out of life when it comes to your job and personal life, as well as your mental and emotional health. Perhaps your last job had you working too many hours, or maybe you didn't like the long commute to the office, and you can remedy those annoyances by finding a job that offers better hours or allows you to work remotely.

Once you have an updated set of goals and expectations you will feel better about moving forward and figuring out what's in store for your next chapter. When you do start to look for a job again, you'll be clear about what you want, and interviews should go more smoothly.

Remembering that you're worthy and understanding your experience and skills will also help you shift into a more confident mindset. In fact, using affirmations and listing out all of your great qualities and accomplishments will allow you to feel better about yourself and give you the information you need to pass on to any future employers.

Use your downtime to get your health back on track

While the time between jobs can be stressful and confusing after you've been laid off, there are some ways that you can be very productive and keep your mental and physical health on track. During your off time, you can do all of the things you've been putting off, such as going to the doctor and dentist for checkups, starting that exercise routine you've been putting off, or start eating healthier and preparing more food at home.

In addition, during this time of transition, you may also find yourself establishing a healthier routine that can include anything from skincare, yoga, journaling, and more. Adding things such as meditation to your day is also a way to keep your mind calm and combat the negative thoughts that go along with getting laid off.

This could be an opportune time to focus on better sleep habits as well. Getting into a better sleep schedule is great for your brain health and will allow you to think more clearly, be more productive during the day, and have you ready to tackle whatever life throws at you as you figure out your new normal.

Prepare yourself for what's to come

Being laid off from your job is a difficult situation to come to terms with. Instead of letting your emotions dictate your actions, being proactive may set your mind at ease. After the dust has settled, sitting down and getting a good understanding of your finances will allow you to come up with a plan for the time that you are out of work. Knowing your situation will make it less scary and give you an idea of what to expect going forward.

Meanwhile, doing things such as reaching out to your contacts and others in your network to put out feelers can let people know that you're looking for a new job and could bring some great opportunities your way. Revamping your resume, getting letters of recommendation from previous employers and co-workers, and honing your interview skills may also help you feel more in control of the situation. In addition, now could be the time to start that side hustle you've been thinking about.

No matter who or what you encounter during your layoff, staying positive and making your mental health a priority will allow you to navigate the ups and downs of the situation with a clearer head and have you ready for whatever comes next.