For over 33 million Americans who’ve filed for unemployment since mid-March, the coronavirus pandemic’s emotional stress includes dealing with the emotional trauma of job loss.

Being laid off can be an overwhelming, emotional, and stressful experience. For some people, a layoff could be a welcome relief from a demanding job or an opportunity for moving on in their life. But for most, a job loss carries a significant emotional impact.

Emotional Impact Of Job Loss

Unfortunately for many, losing their job may feel like the end of the world. Although millions of Americans are going through the same thing, losing a job often feels personal.

When you lose your job, do you feel like your life is still meaningful? Many individuals feel as though their success and worth are measured by the career they have. So when they lose a job, it’s so much more than losing income. Job loss also means losing a routine, a sense of regularity, relationships, and a purpose.

Because of this connection between self-worth and work, it’s common for people who’ve lost their jobs to experience emotional stress. Often, people who have lost their jobs blame themselves and wonder what they did wrong. They may also feel shame for not being able to provide and support the people in their lives.

These feelings are all common, natural, and completely okay to feel. But no matter how bleak things feel, there is hope. With time and the right coping techniques, you can ease your stress and anxiety, and move on with your working life.


Coping Strategies After Job Loss

Going through a layoff or job loss is an emotional experience, but there are coping strategies to survive the trauma and plan to move forward.


Address Feelings First During Layoffs

Layoffs are painful, and the experience can leave you feeling disoriented about your career and your future. Feelings of shame, rejection, sadness, and fear are common. It’s essential to address the emotions and identify them. Acknowledging your feelings and then challenging your negative thoughts will help you cope and move on.


Recreate Daily Routines

After losing a job, take time to recreate the daily patterns that you experienced before the layoff. Wake up at your usual time, get out of bed, and start your morning routine. The sooner you can recreate your prior regular patterns, the better your mental health will be. 


Focus On What You Can Control

Refocus from what is out of your control to what is in your control after losing a job. So, while you may no longer have control over your income, you have control over your budget. Make a short-term plan to cover your housing, food, bills, health, and other essential needs. Know who to contact to ease financial stress and emotional stress. 


Reach Out To The Right People

Sometimes, it can be helpful to bring a neutral third party, such as a therapist or emotional first aid coach, to talk through personal challenges. A neutral third party who is familiar with emotional trauma and stress may be able to guide you through your own experience.


Shelly Pinomaki, the founder of Seeking Hope, offers emotional first aid coaching in person and online. Click here to learn more! 


Stop The Spiral Of Self-doubt

A layoff can be isolating, especially if you had been sheltering in place and working remotely. Remember that you’re far from alone, and most people experience employment gaps at some point. 

One study found that 40% of American workers have been terminated at least once. You’re not alone in what you’re feeling or experiencing

So reach out to your network and talk. Look for ways to provide value, to solve problems. The refocused mindest can set you on a positive cycle rather than a vicious and negative spiral of self-doubt.


Look Ahead

There may come a time where it’s helpful to think about the long-term. For so many people, these trying experiences contain growth opportunities. It’s not comforting when you’re in the middle of a personal crisis, but it’s true, and there are opportunities in every disappointment.


When you’ve worked through handling the immediate impact of losing your job, you may be able to take a step back and reconsider the next phase in your career.