When you are unexpectedly fired or your company closes, grief and depression can threaten your mental health. Job searches bring a roller-coaster of stress of their own, triggering anxiety and other mental health challenges, even when you need to be at your best. Short-term therapy after job loss can help you process what has happened and evaluate your options for the next chapter of your life.
Job Loss and Grief: You’re Not Just Being Lazy
Being fired or laid off isn’t just a bump in the road. For many, losing a job takes with it their:
- Day-to-day routines
- Social circles and friends
- Financial security
- Professional identity
Any of these can cause distress. When they all happen at once, it can trigger grief and depression that affect you physically and emotionally. Older workers are especially susceptible to depression after losing a job. You may find it hard to motivate toward finding a new position, experience overriding sadness or anxiety, or find yourself ruminating on what occurred, why you, and what you could have done differently to stay in your position. It is somewhat normal to experience symptoms of grief and sadness after a job loss. This could include:
- Insomnia, fatigue, or lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in weight
- Loss of concentration
- Executive disfunction around decision making
Grief is natural and appropriate, but it can also interfere with your ability to move forward after a job loss. If you find yourself grieving too long, it may be hard to bring yourself to apply for new positions or get excited about potential job prospects. When this happens, working with a therapist can be a good short-term solution to move you through your grief and pointed in a new direction. Your therapist can give you a safe space to express your feelings about your past employer and yourself, and help you develop coping mechanisms and strategies to move on beyond the job loss.
Get Help Bouncing Back After Job Loss
Work with a psychotherapist in short-term therapy focused on overcoming your grief, depression, and anxiety, and getting you back to work.
Job Seeking and Anxiety Go Hand in Hand
Once you start job seeking, you may experience a different set of emotions. Fear, anxiety, and self-esteem issues can be triggered by the up-and-down nature of any job hunt. Every new application builds hope and anticipation, and every rejection or silent day can pull you down into depression of its own. Building up a support network, including working with a short-term therapist, can be key to handle these highs and lows. A therapist can help you:
- Make a plan for your search
- Keep from losing perspective
- Evaluate your feelings about possible positions and offers
- Manage emotions caused by rejection
By acknowledging that job searching is a difficult and stressful way to spend your time, you can make smart choices about your personal approach, and make meaningful decisions about the direction of your life.
Tactics for Handling Anxiety and Depression After Job Loss
Admittedly, in America losing your job often means losing your health insurance as well. That can make hiring a short-term therapist expensive. If you can’t afford to work with a therapist one-on-one, there are still several tactics you can use to combat stress and bounce back after job loss:
- Keep a schedule. Set a time every day when you will work on finding a new position.
- Take days off. Don’t obsess over finding something, leave time to rest and recharge.
- Start a journal to log your feelings and keep track of the various positions’ pros and cons
- Reach out to former coworkers to maintain your friendships and social connections
- Spend time thinking about your ideal job or career, and researching what skills or experience you need to get there
- Try a new hobby. You have time to fill, so the job search is a great chance to explore something you may have put off while working.
- Doing community work can help bring meaning to your time between jobs and promote positive mental health.
- Take care of your body. Exercise, eat healthy, and get plenty of sleep.
- Focus on what you can control. Don’t dwell on what can’t be changed or get hung up on what someone else will do or decide.
Any of these tactics can help reduce anxiety and lift you up from depression after job loss. If you still find yourself struggling, short-term therapy can give you personalized guidance and accountability to help you stay on track.
David Stanislaw is a psychotherapist with over 30 years of experience in long and short-term therapy solutions. He provides adults with solutions to respond to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues after job loss. Contact David Stanislaw to get help today.