Strategies for Coping with Job Loss

Diane Sasser, Tucker, Jeanette A.  |  3/12/2005 4:37:41 AM

unemployed worker

If you or a loved one is facing the loss of a job, it's important to keep a variety of factors in mind as you attempt to cope.

In the wake of disasters our state has experienced -- hurricanes, flooding, economic downturn -- tens of thousands of Louisianians have faced either the reality or threat of job loss. If you are the person facing job loss, it is important to realize you will probably need to rebuild your emotional strength before you can begin working on the road to recovery. Losing a job under any circumstances is a traumatic event for most people.

You will naturally go through a grieving process. Let yourself grieve and recover emotionally. Don't be afraid to take time out from your concerns. Go for long walks. Rest more. Relax more. Try to refresh your spirit with whatever books, music, activities or rituals you find comforting and inspiring.

Another way to cope is to nurture positive thoughts. Positive thoughts do lead to positive action. Know that you will be successful. You have been successful in the past, and you will be successful again.

Reach out to family and friends and let them help you. Use this fateful event as an opportunity to refocus your values and redefine your goals. Identify what's most important in your life, and define your goals accordingly. Don't dwell on the things you can't control, but work on the things you can control.

Then, as soon as you feel strong enough, it's time to take the steps you need to take to survive hard times:

  • Notify creditors of your situation, and inform them regarding your ability and plans to make payments. But don't make promises you can't keep.
  • Sit down with the members of your household and list all expenses. Determine which expenses can be eliminated, reduced or deferred. Make cuts that count.
  • Develop revised, written budgets covering the next several months based on the new information you develop. Control your spending accordingly.
  • Use new credit only for absolute necessities that cannot be delayed, forgone or paid for in any other way. Keep a careful account of the credit used.
  • Take steps to regain employment, and take advantage of available programs, benefits and insurance to supplement income. Seek the help you need, and follow through in using it.
  • Make use of community resources to maintain health, vitality and a positive outlook. Eat well, sleep well and maintain social contacts.

It's vital for friends and family members of a person who has lost his or her job to remember that grieving is a natural process. Grieve with the person. Don't try to cheer the person up before he or she is ready. Support them emotionally with your presence, your assurances and your willingness to listen. Be a good companion, providing sincere interest, compassion and positive talk. The best motivation is often the high regard and high expectations our friends have for us.

Friends and family can provide sincere compliments, exciting challenges and positive expectations. Above all, provide the practical assistance your family member or friend will need while recovering emotionally. Help do the tasks that need to be done, and help shoulder the concerns that need to be shouldered so recovery can proceed in a timely fashion.

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