Losing your job is hard, and maybe even more so when you’re a mom. But how do you deal with it, both carer-wise and mentally? Diane Lang’s advice can help you get through, whether you’re worried about getting laid off or if it’s already happened to you.
I just lost my job a few months ago but I already feel the stress of being unemployed. I know my family is feeling stressed and concerned also. Any thoughts on dealing with being unemployed and keeping my sanity?
We know that the country’s jobless rate is more than 9%; this is a very scary number. We have the highest jobless rate in more than ten years and many living in fear of losing their job. Here are a few career and mental health tips to help you move forward if you lost your job or know layoffs are coming.
1. First things first – File for unemployment, If you have been laid off and you qualify for unemployment, make sure to take advantage of it. This money can help you make it through the tough transition of finding another job. It could take six months to a year to find a new job. The unemployment check can make you feel more secure and cover your necessities until then. Unemployment can now be filed for online from your home so there is no excuse not to file immediately.
Also, know that it will probably take two to three weeks to get your first check so the quicker you file, the quicker you will receive your first check.
Remember, to be eligible for unemployment, you had to lose your job due to no fault of your own. So, if you quit or got fired, you can’t receive unemployment benefits.
2. Options – You don’t need to have the same position or same salary to work. Remember, this is a transitional time. The next job you take doesn’t have to be permanent. Try other options such as temp agencies, part-time, consulting and freelance jobs. This can help you make extra money, keep your skills fresh, and feel confident while looking for the right job. A bonus to freelance work, temping, consulting, etc., is that it allows you to build on your resume so you don’t have to worry about the “gap” on your resume.
3. School – Use this time to go back to school to finish your degree, learn a new skill, get a certificate or just to refresh your skills. There are many affordable options, including financial aid. There are certificate programs at community colleges, adult programs and non-credit courses. Libraries offer classes in computers at a very affordable rate, if not for free.
4. Volunteer – There are many organizations that need volunteers. You don’t get paid but it’s a great way to get training in a new skill, keep your resume updated and feel confident while helping others. It’s proven that the happiest people are altruistic so get to volunteering and boost your happiness level.
5. Positive – Stay confident. Employers can sense low confidence. If you’re feeling embarrassed by your jobless situation and it effects your self-esteem, it will show on interviews. Positive attracts more positive and it’s the same for negativity – it attracts more negativity. Use this time in a positive manner. Volunteer, spend more time with friends and family, find your true passion by temping and freelancing at different companies, go back to school and remember, this situation is only temporary — you will find a job!
6. Network and be patient – Finding a job takes time and even longer that may be typical in this economy but you will find one. Just keep at the search and network. We know that most people find their jobs through networking. Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a job, what type of job and your experience.
7. Be prepared – Make sure to have an updated resume on your computer to send out ASAP. Be prepared for the interview by doing your homework on your trade, the company you’re interviewing with and its history. Make sure to practice interviewing — mock interviews are a great way to warm up for an interview.
Mental Health tips:
8. Find Support – Having the right support group there for you through these tough times is key to beating unemployment stress. Make sure to have friends and family members that are supportive and non-judgmental who will listen. If you don’t know anyone in your situation, there are support groups for unemployed individuals, where people in the same situation discuss their feelings and offer suggestions on how to cope. You can also get professional counseling if you would rather have one-on-one support.
9. Keep to a routine – This keeps a sense of normalcy. Since work has been taken out of the picture, try to structure a day around other activities. Wake up at a designated time and carry out tasks on a schedule to stay occupied. We are happier when we have a daily routine/schedule. We feel more organized and productive. Looking for a job is a full-time job in and of itself so treat it as such by spending your work day searching, networking, and planning your next steps.
10. Exercise – Start moving around! Three or four times a week of walking or running is enough is reduce your stress hormones and increase your endorphins, which naturally makes you feel happier.
Exercise will also help keep you healthy, mentally and physically, especially if you’re not eating or sleeping well due to depression and stress. It’s important to make sure your basic needs are met.
11. Have fun – Take the time to enjoy life. Call up a friend, indulge in your hobby, read, cook — whatever you want! Looking for a new way to have fun? Try volunteering for a local charity. Volunteering also brings us joy and allows us to meet new people and take risks. You can also volunteer with your kids, a great way to spend quality time together while helping others and teaching respect. It also helps kids develop self-esteem.
12. Communicate – Make sure to talk with your spouse and kids. Have an open dialogue with them about your struggles and triumphs during unemployment. This will keep them informed about what you are going through and how you are feeling. They are probably feeling stressed and worried, too. It’s normal for both the unemployed spouse and family to feel stress and concern BUT if there is no communication it can lead to arguments, resentment and isolation.
Bio: Diane Lang is an educator and Life Coach. Diane has dedicated her career to helping people turn their lives around and is now on a mission to help them develop a sustainable positive attitude that can actually turn one into an optimist, literally. A therapist and educator of Positive Psychology, she has seen that it can provide a strong foundation for finding great happiness and is gratified that it is becoming a mainstream method of treatment. As an expert in her fields of therapy, Diane has been featured in the Daily Record and Cookie Magazine, seen on NJ 12 TV and the national television program “Fox & Friends”. She has also participated in a reality based Internet show, ourprisoner.com, hosted Generation X-tinet and appeared in various educational videos. In addition Lang writes a bi-weekly column “The Balancing Act” at www.thealternativepress.com and sharing her expertise on parenting and living a positive lifestyle on The WTBQ Expat Show.
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Photo credit: Coins by Peter Griffin