We all know you have a choice in how you react to a layoff. You can commiserate with others and feel sorry for yourself or you can work to bounce back as quickly as possible. Should you decide to take control of your situation and figure out what direction you want to go, here are some tips from people that have been through multiple (as in 7+) layoffs. Yeah, it sucks, but they survived and you can benefit from their experiences by heeding these tips!
Get out of your house/apartment/condo at least one time per day!
We know it’s easy to curl up in a ball and pretend like this is just a nightmare. You’re going to wake up any second, right? You’ll wake up all right, but only when you get your bum moving and get out of the house!
Ideally, you can get your blood pumping in some form or another. Even better, if you can get into nature, there are some additional benefits we came across in this article! No matter what you do, just get moving as it’s a wonderful way to manage stress by getting adrenaline moving through your body. If you’re not close to an outdoor park or open space, at least go somewhere to move about and see other people, It will help you feel human. By the way, don’t worry about looking your best…just get up and get out. We’re talking about things people can’t see anyway!
Tip: If you go out walking, hiking or ride a bike, leave the music at home and be at peace with your thoughts. Let your mind wander! You might start thinking about things you’ve never thought about before or you might discover something you wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s ok to let your mind wander when you’re out in the open. Some great things can emerge if you let them.. (I swim a few times a week and I don’t own waterproof headphones. I always say it’s much more about mental health than physical health for me!)
Set mini goals and use your time wisely.
Yes, you now have time to reflect on what you want to do next but you’ll also have plenty of time to lose yourself as well. Be careful. It might be tempting to binge on Netflix/Amazon/Hulu shows, but don’t lose track of time. Before you know it, an hour may turn into eight hours and then one day will turn into one week. It’s amazing how fast time will fly by! (BTW, we’re not saying to cut out all TV, just don’t get sucked into it.)
Tip: If you choose to binge on something, keep it to one or two shows versus a whole season per day. Make plans to do something so you don’t have the option to sit on the couch all day. (Trust me when I say I’m on a complete NON-planner. I assure you having something planned for each day has made me feel better during this uncertain time.)
Purge your thoughts but don’t post them with your real name!
It’s good to get your thoughts out of your head and we’ve talked about that a bit. There’s something about writing things down that makes everything a little more bearable. Don’t just take our word for it. Check out this study we found from Harvard. You are more than welcome to write your thoughts in one of the discussions here (while remaining anonymous).
Tip: When you feel like you’re ready, open up a document/note on your computer or phone and start writing out your thoughts and feelings. It may sound silly but give it a shot and see how you feel? (I used to write a lot in college but work got in the way of that. I can attest to the power of writing these posts and articles. It’s certainly making me reflect and think about what I’m going through!)
Don’t do anything that makes you feel worse about yourself.
Huh? How could you feel any worse?! Yeah, we get it…you feel about as low as you can go, but don’t chance it! Your first instinct may be to cut anything and everything that is not necessary for survival. Yes, it’s good to look at your budget but be realistic about how you’ll feel once you cut these things out. If it will make you feel worse about yourself, see if there is something else that can give or find a way to hold on to some joy in your days!
Example: One person we spoke to for this for this post shared her story about wanting to cut cable after a layoff. In speaking with her sibling, she was asked, “How is that going to make you feel? It’s just $35.” After thinking about it, she realized she was going to feel worse about herself if she didn’t have basic cable so she found something else to cut. Just have a REAL think about it and don’t make any rash decisions.
Keep normal hours and keep moving.
Yeah, this one is hard for me too as I’m a sleeper! I was actually looking forward to sleeping in but having thoughts racing through my head is a sure-fire sleep disruptor for me. This one is pretty straight forward…figure out some “normal” hours for you and stick to that schedule. Again, this will help maintain your feeling like a normal person!
Tip: Set an alarm from time to time. If you don’t want to set an alarm because you don’t have anything to do, find something to do. (This actually brings back a saying my mother would say to me when I complained of being bored as a child, “There is ALWAYS something to do.” *sigh*)
Network when you’re ready (and don’t force it if it doesn’t feel right).
You’ve likely read EVERYWHERE that networking is the way to find your next job. You must do it if you ever want to work again. While that may be true, many people simply suck at networking so this will go against every willing hair in their body. Not fun. If the networking event just doesn’t feel right, don’t force it. If you don’t feel comfortable in a face-to-face layoff support group (yeah, apparently they exist…?), don’t do it. What matters is you do what feels right for you. If you force something, it’s going to be painfully obvious you’re not comfortable and that’s not the impression you want to leave on a new contact, is it…?
Tip: A key point here is “when you’re ready”. I put some tips in the “10 Things to Do When You’re Being (or Have Been) Laid Off” and the “It’s a just a job. Why Can’t I Get Over It?” articles, so have a read through these if you haven’t already!
It’s going to take a lot of strength to follow these tips but when you’ve had enough of feeling down in the dumps, go ahead and give these a try and see how you feel. Chances are, you won’t feel worse and you might even feel better…
What are you doing that’s helping you cope with your new ‘day to day’? Do you have any other tips you’d like to share that helped you bounce back after a layoff? We would love to hear your thoughts/tips in the comments below!