Any major life transition can be both exciting and scary – that is, whether planned or unplanned, changes to ones normal routine can often be anxiety provoking. One such chaotic life experience may be when you are faced with the prospect of unemployment or job loss.
In today’s society, occupation is so often linked to one’s self identity and even more importantly one’s self esteem, so it is no wonder when unemployment looms it can begin to impact on many aspects of life, including:
- Loss of self-esteem and confidence
- Loss to professional identity
- Loss of relationship/relationship
- Loss of routine or structure
- Loss of income/financial concerns
With all these loss words, it may not be surprising that when dealing with unemployment it is common to experience feelings of loss and grief. Loss and grief can encompass feelings of anger, rejection, hurt, panic and fear but the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone.
Statistics suggest that an average person will change careers between 5-7 times within their working lifetime.
There are two ways of looking at a new life change such as unemployment; generally these are as a negative or a positive life event. Being faced with unemployment can be a great opportunity for personal growth and development. The opportunities are endless when the shackles and restrictions are lifted, from returning to school to complete that one class you always wanted to finish to relocating to a new city with a fresh start. Understandably, it may not be as simple as looking at it positively, so here are 5 helpful coping skills to help you deal with unemployment and job loss:
- Turn to someone you trust: As mentioned, temporary unemployment is a common life event faced by many people throughout their lifetime. Having someone to listen to you and the simple act of sharing your experiences can be extremely beneficial in times of great uncertainty.
- Be open with yourself about your feelings: Being aware of and open about the way you are feeling can be a powerful tool in dealing with uncertain times. Writing down your feelings may be a great way of expressing yourself. This is also a great way of letting go of the past; going over what could have been or what you could have done differently is not productive.
- Accepting the reality: As with other forms of loss and grief, new unemployment can foster feeling of denial. Acknowledging the difficulties of unemployment or the job hunt is important, as is allowing yourself to accept your current situation without dwelling or being too hard on yourself. The sooner you are able to accept your current situation the sooner you are able to move on to the next step in your life.
- Do try to find the silver lining: Try to reflect on what this job loss really does mean for you, beyond the initial fear and uncertainty, reflect on what possibilities this may have opened up for you and how best to make the most of them.
- Seek professional help if needed: Any major life change can be distressing and it is important to keep in mind that services do exist because people do often struggle with the challenges of unemployment.