“18 Tips to Address Job-Loss Anxiety and Blues”

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which
you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”

 -       Eleanor Roosevelt     

ACTUAL “CASE HISTORIES”: There is no reason to  share any “case histories” with anyone who has ever been employed, is now employed, who wants to be employed or who experienced job loss. Losing your job hurts, and even the thought of losing your job gnaws at your inner self. Simply put, there’s barely a person among us in this job market who is truly job-secure. 

While we can do all we can to become employed and stay employed, potential or actual job loss is an ever-present and ever-painful fact of life. The feelings can be harmful, even debilitating. 

Each of us sometimes needs suggestions, reminders, pointers, tips and ideas of how to address difficult aspects of life. And, for this reason, we offer you these 18 Tips to Reduce Job-Loss Anxiety and Blues. 

LESSON TO LEARN: Keep these 18 Tips in mind, and consider how they might be of help to you now, and later. Share them with others. Just having available to you a number of steps to take, that are “there for the taking,” often helps keep the “wolf from the door.”    

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Starting this very moment, and not waiting until problems arise, do your very best to . . .

1. Keep things in perspective . . . There are others who, at this moment, are wrestling with civil wars around them, their child in pain in front of them, even their own imminent mortality facing them. Each of these others would do anything in the world to be in your shoes. Try to keep that in mind. Now and always.    

2. Make an “I Am Grateful For” list . . . Count your many and wondrous blessings. Have a home with heat? Enough to eat? Reasonably good health? Family? Clean water to drink? These are things that so many do not have. Imagine you lost them all tomorrow morning. Wouldn’t you be glad to then wake up, and find out your losing them all was just a bad dream? Appreciate all you have. Most have far less. And, too, be thankful for the blessings that are on their way to you.  

3. Increase regular physical activity, such as walking . . . I am not a physician, but I can tell you that increased regular physical activity somehow – seemingly magically – reduces pain, calms nerves, improves digestion, lowers swelling, aids sleep and produces a sense of well-being. And it doesn’t cost a penny. Start with a walk around the corner once a day. Begin with one push-up. Just get  your muscles moving and your blood flowing, and in response your body will express its “Thank  you” in more ways than you might imagine.   

4. Make a List of Your Resources, and not just financial . . . Knowing that you have things and people to “lean on” when you need, and people to help “pick you up” when you need, especially for those times you may get “wobbly” or worse, is reassuring. Your list of resources might include such various resources as your family, clergy persons, savings, your dog, friends, favors owed you, places you enjoy, and, most especially, your faith. Make the list, keep adding to it, and read it over, at least daily.      

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5. Begin reducing Obligations . . . Right now, do you really need all of your magazine, and satellite radio subscriptions? Might you do better by cutting down a bit on regular meals out, and instead share more home-cooked gourmet dishes? Do you really need ALL of those special cable channels? Lowering overhead, even a little, is a rather easy way to reduce your stress and address your anxiety. 

6. View your job-related worries as a Challenge, not an Obstacle . . . Sometimes we see the proverbial “glass half-empty” and sometimes we see the “glass half-full.” Similarly, we can bemoan the fact that the glass needs to be filled, or we can make filling it up to be a challenge, a game, a goal that, one way or the other, we are going to achieve. Yes, your job search can be something of a fun game, depending on how you view it, how you approach it, and how you “play” it. One thing is for sure: if you make something enjoyable, you’ll do it better and likely be more successful. Again, it’s all in how you see it, and how you see it is very much up to you.  

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7. Avoid Social Isolation . . . As the Dean Martin song goes, “You’re nobody ‘til somebody loves you.” When it seems no employer “wants” you, it can be humiliating, embarrassing and make you want to isolate yourself.  Don’t give in to that urge. First, your real friends will pitch in, give you a hand, or a shoulder to lean on – if only they know your situation. Second, if people don’t know you are seeking employment, they can’t and won’t help you find it. Third, and perhaps most importantly, human interaction is good for the emotional and physical health. In times of stress, it can only help to keep yourself actively involved with others in family, social, charitable, civic and other contexts. 

8. Reject any urge you may feel to get revenge . . . I have one particular client who becomes very angry every time he senses he is having problems on the job. Several times, he has simply made it worse for himself as a result, on two occasions almost forcing his boss’s hand to fire him. His anger and negativity is something you can hear, see and feel. My job with him is often to see the anger coming, and turn it around. I try to get him to use his anger less like a blaring tea kettle which only makes noise, and more like a rocket ship that goes somewhere positive using the same energy. I don’t doubt that revenge may feel good. I do know it leads nowhere but downward.   

9. Remember that your Mind is attached to your Body . . . I know that you have surely not forgotten that you have a neck. What I mean is that how you treat your body will inevitably affect how your mind “treats” you. Just like your car, “Treat it well and chances are it will be dependable and take you where you want to go.” Also, your body image is an important part of your overall self-image. Treat yourself a bit better than usual by eating healthy, get some extra rest and relaxation, and avoid the spikes and valleys associated with high-sugar foods. The positive physical and emotional results of treating the body well are beyond doubt.   

10. Accept that Serious Depression or Suicidal Thoughts MUST IMMEDIATELY be brought to a professional . . . One thing must be accepted and not merely considered: if you experience serious, immobilizing depression, or any thoughts of suicide, you must immediately consult with a mental health professional. There’s just no debate about it: serious illnesses – which these most certainly are – require the prompt help of those who are duly trained to provide it. Even if you are not motivated to do so, your loved ones deserve that you do so. There is no shame in needing help; there’s only shame in not seeking it.      

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11. Visualize a positive future . . . Visualization is a very powerful and universally available tool to get you through difficult times. It is very much applicable to job loss anxiety and sadness. Simply take a moment or two each day – three or four times a day if you can –  to imagine yourself finding a job you enjoy and being excited to get to work each day. Imagine the helpful hands of colleagues who are supportive of your efforts. Imagine being recognized, praised and rewarded fairly for your efforts. Imagine the feelings of security, satisfaction and serenity your new job gives you. Those “visions,” and your enjoyment of the feelings those “visions” give you can – if you let them – serve to carry you forward to finding and securing just such a job. “If you believe you can, you can,” and “If you believe you will, you will,” are both quite, quite true, and are at the heart of visualization.    

12. Beware of Abuse or Overuse of Prescriptions or Intoxicants . . . While a little bit of “this” and a little bit of “that” is sometimes said to take the “edge” off stress, anxiety and sadness, bear in mind that using “a little bit” can so easily proceed to “a little more” and then “too much,” and before you know it to the development of real dependence. Wise physicians are loath to prescribe pharmaceutical crutches because they know how habit-forming they can unknowingly become. Non-prescription intoxicants, legal or illegal, can do just as much harm, if not more so. There’s enough difficulty in losing a job, or in locating and keeping a good job, you don’t need to make it any more difficult for yourself in this way.   

13. Locate a Regular “Personal Sounding Board” . . . Whether he or she is a friend, a colleague, a member of the clergy or a therapist, it may pay great “dividends” to have one person to talk to and listen to who knows you, knows your hopes, fears, aspirations and concerns. It may be formal or informal, fee-based or friendship-based, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it “works” for you, and for the other person, as well for, as they say, “We were given two hands, one to give and one to take.”  

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14. If prior addiction difficulties exist, get right to a Group or Counselor . . . Some among us have through experience learned that they are more vulnerable than many others to dependence on outside “influences” to cope with the difficulties of life. For those among us who have had difficulties with addiction of one kind or another, the stresses and strains of possible or actual job loss can trigger self-defeating behaviors. If you understand that you are one such person, it may be wise to initiate communications with others who can support you in maintaining positive behaviors while you are experiencing the difficulties of job loss anxiety and sadness. This is one place where “An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.”    

15. Consider Prayer, Meditation, Yoga . . . I am surely no expert in any of these three activities, but I do practice them regularly. While my reasons for doing so are not related to job loss or job insecurity, I know that they are used by many people for those purposes, and to good effect. Though “getting into” them may seem insurmountable to the unaffiliated and uninitiated, finding local centers for all three is in most communities not a difficult task. While no one likes the feeling of being a “beginner” at anything, it takes comparatively little effort to begin these.  

16. Devote Time to the Less Fortunate . . . This step to reducing job-loss anxiety and sadness is so, so underappreciated and underutilized. Getting your “self” out of “your self” and devoted, even for an hour, to the needs of others – whether it is the infirm or the institutionalized – helping others less fortunate than yourself is an almost magically uplifting experience. Providing fellowship to those who are alone, attention to those who are ignored, and kindness to those who have not had enough of it, is truly the best self-care. As Mother Teresa said, “The worst disease is to be nobody to anybody.”   

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17. Smile. Yes, simply smile . . . I know it may sound silly, but I have read that smiling – even a forced smile – helps the body release chemicals that make you feel better. And, as one yoga teacher always reminds his classes, “It instantly increases your face value.” Works for me; might work for you.  

18. Take it one step each day, and one day at a time . . . “Yard by yard, its very hard. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch.”  While nothing works for everyone, chances are quite high that one or more of these 18 Tips will help you address job-loss anxiety and blues in your life. And bear in mind that, when success seems like a far distant dream, just trying something is, in itself, an instant success of sorts.  While the first step may seem the hardest,  it is almost always the most rewarding.    

P.S.: For those who might be helped by personal attention and counsel, Al Sklover is available for confidential telephone consultations of 30-minutes, 60-minutes, or two-hours. For more info [click here.] 

SkloverWorkingWisdom™ emphasizes smart negotiating – and navigating – for yourself at work. Negotiation and navigation of work and career issues requires that you think “out of the box,” and build value and avoid risks at every point in your career. We strive to help you understand what is commonly before you – traps and pitfalls, included – and to avoid the bumps in the road. Addressing job loss anxiety and sadness, to keep your “boat afloat” is just one good example of that.         

Always be proactive. Always be creative. Always be persistent. Always be vigilant. And always do what you can to achieve for yourself, your family, and your career. Take all available steps to increase and secure employment “rewards” and eliminate or reduce employment “risks.” That’s what SkloverWorkingWisdom™ is all about. 

*A note about our Actual Case Histories: In order to preserve client confidences, and protect client identities, we alter certain facts, including the name, age, gender, position, date, geographical location, and industry of our clients. The essential facts, the point illustrated and the lesson to be learned, remain actual.     

Please Note: This Email Newsletter is not legal advice, but only an effort to provide generalized information about important topics related to employment and the law. Legal advice can only be rendered after formal retention of counsel, and must take into account the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Those in need of legal advice, counsel or representation should retain competent legal counsel licensed to practice law in their locale.  

Sklover Working Wisdom™ is a trademarked newsletter publication of Alan L. Sklover, of Sklover & Company, LLC, a law firm dedicated to the counsel and representation of employees in matters of their employment, compensation and severance. Nothing expressed in this material constitutes legal advice. Please note that Mr. Sklover is admitted to practice in the state of New York, only. When assisting clients in other jurisdictions, he retains the assistance of local counsel and/or obtains permission of local Courts to appear.  Copying, use and/or reproduction of this material in any form or media without prior written permission is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. For further information, contact Sklover & Company, LLC, 10 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York 10020 (212) 757-5000.    

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