How to deal with job loss and stay on top of your health
Losing your job is up there with some of life’s most stressful events such as moving house or going through a divorce. Whether you were made redundant or things just didn’t work out, leaving a job when it isn’t your choice is the pits.
Not only can it reduce your self-confidence, but there’s also the stress of paying bills and putting food on the table. Plus, there’s the ever-present worry of finding another job.
All of these worries start to pile up… which can have a serious impact on your health, both mental and physical. However, there are simple steps you can take to cope with job loss while also staying on top of your health.
Start with your financial health
First things first: one of the most important steps to survive losing your job is to get your finances in order.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for financial support from the Federal Government. If your job loss was due to redundancy, you may also receive a redundancy payment from your employer.
Whatever your situation, now’s the time to sit back and make a budget. If finances are tight, look at what non-essential expenses you can cut from your budget. It can be confronting to make those decisions. But as long as that financial burden stays on your shoulders, your health is more likely to suffer.
The government’s Money Smart website has a helpful budget tracker tool that’s free to use. You can assess your current financial position and see exactly where your money is going. You may also be able to access free financial counselling through the National Debt Hotline.
Prioritise your mental wellbeing
Resilience is a crucial skill during any time of stress – and coping with job loss definitely counts. Many people’s self worth is linked to their employment. So when you suddenly find yourself having to cope with unemployment, your self-confidence can take a hit. If this is true for you, developing resilience will play a big role in your mental wellbeing.
The key to happiness in life isn’t maintaining a positive mindset by ‘sucking it up’ and magically seeing the good in every situation. Mental wellbeing takes work, especially when you’re figuring out how to survive losing your job.
So, what can you do?
- Keep a daily gratitude journal to help you to see the good in your day when everything else looks bleak. This can be as simple as writing down one thing you’re grateful for every night before bed.
- Use switch words to encourage positive thinking and interrupt some of the negative self-talk that may be hindering your job search.
- Try meditation to help you focus on being in the present moment, instead of your worries about the future.
Improving your mental wellbeing may also help you to be more productive in your job search.
Keep your physical health in check
When you’re dealing with job loss, activity may not be top of your priority list – but it’s essential.
However much you want to curl up on the couch and stay there, physical activity can benefit your mental wellbeing. It could be as simple as a daily walk or dancing in the living room to some catchy music with your kids. Either way, moving your body releases those feel-good endorphins that can help to lift your mood.
The other important part of your physical health is eating well. A well-balanced diet of wholefoods can help you to put your best foot forward every day.
Surviving after you lose your job
No one should sugar-coat job loss. Yes, sometimes losing a job does have a silver lining because it opens up new opportunities… but let’s be real: that’s often not the case.
But regardless of whether or not your job loss is a blessing in disguise, you still need to look after yourself. Get your finances in check and prioritise your health so you can get back on your feet and into the next chapter of your career.
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board August 2021.