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How do I get over the stress of losing my job?

Joanne Besser says ...

Being pro-active is one of the best stress relievers – try to keep busy and have a to-do list each day to focus on… include tasks such as refining your C.V. and searching for jobs online and at the job centre with activities that focus on your own well-being.

Exercise

Exercise is a natural stress reliever as it releases endorphins into your blood stream which give both a natural high and a calming effect.  Make sure you set aside some time each day in your diary for exercise, even if it’s just 10 minutes.

Volunteering

Research shown that volunteering and carrying out other selfless acts adds purpose to your life and increase feelings of self worth. Maybe you could combine exercise with this by taking someone who is less able for a walk in the park?

Healthy diet

Finally – try to eat as many different colouredfruits and vegetables as possible – the different coloursrepresent nutrients and these will help to keep your moods controlled.  Avoid sugary and highly refined carbohydrates as these will have the opposite effect and may create lethargy in addition to mood swings due to sudden changes in your blood sugar.

Joanne Besser, Health and Fitness Expert, Oomph Fitness

Gary Miller says ...

The pain of losing a job is not only about a large dent in your income, but it can also devastate your iwn identity and the way we feel about ourselves. Many of us define ourselves by our work. We assess our self-worth by what we achieve or do not acheive, what we earn or don’t earn. Thus, if a project fails, then we construe ourselves as failures. If a project takes off, then we are great.If we are out of work, who are we?

The most typical reaction is to ask ourselves, “Why me?” or to place blame at the doorstep of the powers that be: “My boss doesn’t like me,” “This is company politics,” or “My co-workers are afraid of my ability and have plotted against me.” However, anger is an energy drain and will leave us without the energy to look for a solution. Whatever pushes our buttons, shakes us up, has something important to teach us. If we do not assume responsibility for our actions, we play the part of a victim. When a manager criticizes us, we might want to listen to the critique and question ourselves: “Is this true, some of it, all of it? How can I improve?”

The loss of a job might be so destabilizing that the person experiences:

  • Difficulty waking up in the morning or experiencing sleep disturbances
  • Craving and eating the wrong foods, particularly stimulants
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Cocooning at home
  • Loss of ambition; the perception that there are no other jobs out there
  • Submissive or abusive behavior.

Similar to Dr. Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief for a death, losing a job requires processing each stage in order to adapt to the changing work/home life. Everyone falls down, but not everyone picks himself up.

Here are some suggestions to navigate the stages and turn failure into triumph.

Denial

The psyche needs to protect itself and absorb what has happened little by little, instead of all at once. Recite the job loss story over and over to take the sting out of it; distract yourself with positive friends, outdoor activities or your community center.

Anger

You can turn the anger outward and play the victim, or twist the emotional sword inward. Either way is an energy drain. Reinterpret the scenario compassionately; be kind to everyone, especially to yourself! Release anger in a healthy way through exercise, visualization and breathing. Exercise intensity or length of time should correspond to your anger level. A ten-minute walk might not be enough. Go to the ocean or a lake and spend some time to cool down your thoughts. Sit still near a fountain.

Bargaining

This is “the what if or I should have” stage. The mind is engaged in negative streaming, brain-locked in an upsetting point in time. Be aware of negative thought streams to objectify them; have a logical discourse with your thoughts. Then you can invest your energy into a solution.

Depression

The sadness sets in and the feelings need to come out. Crying is good; there is great truth in the saying, have a good cry. Watch movies with a similar life crisis to bring out suppressed feelings; see how the main character resolves his unemployment crisis. Then laughter is a wonderful pick-me-up after the crying. It will release feel-good chemistry. Watch all the comedies you can, even 12 hours a day! This will help reset a realistic optimism. Tap into positive friends to have a good time.

Acceptance

This is the point where we think and feel that the loss really happened. We accept our disappointment and the blow to our self-esteem. This is the time when we are ready to rebuild our work/home balance. It is how we handle this failure that will determine our next success. Because we are acquainted with loss and failure, we will not fear it again like the first time. We are ready to network, update our job skills, take classes and rewrite the resume. We might even say that losing that job was the best thing…

Gary Miller, Health and Lifestyle Expert, Excellent Ways to Lose Weight

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