Provided by Shannon Webb, LICSW, Director of Whatcom County Outpatient
- Sleep – Practice good sleep hygiene by sticking with your bedtime routine, including the times you normally go to sleep and wake up,. Work life balance is important, and when there’s a loss of a job, that balance becomes askew or, sometimes, completely reversed. Try to remain consistent with your sleep schedule and get eight hours a night minimum.
- Self care – Wellness rituals are good for you and can calm the mind. Going through a major life event such as a loss of role or identity can trigger flight/fight/ freeze responses. Engaging your senses through scent, for example, can evoke good memories and allow you to calm and center yourself. Light a candle, put essential oils in a bath, or do whatever gets you to “zen” and enjoy time set aside for you to simply be.
- Keep a schedule and a to-do list – Those who have become used to a busy schedule or are high achievers professionally have a difficult time going from a fast-paced lifestyle to an unstructured, slower pace during their downtime. Creating a list of items to check off – even chores around the house – help provide a sense of normalcy. This also reinforces the value of your personal wellbeing being as equally important to your professional identity.
- Allow time to grieve – Many Americans have a strong sense of self tied to their professional identity. Taking time to grieve and process a major life change such as loss of a job and income is important. Just as we go through the stages of grief with death, any major loss triggers the same emotional process.
- Sharpen your coping skills – Find ways to channel your energy such as making time to exercise and get your body out of flight/fight/freeze mode. You can also journal, do breathing exercises or mindful meditation, enjoy the outdoors, ask for support from a friend, or create a self-care or to-do list as mentioned above.
- Reconnect with yourself and your community – Take time to reconnect with parts of your life that you may have lost touch with while in your previous role, including yourself and your community.
- Volunteer – Aside from keeping your resume “active,” volunteering can instill a sense of purpose and routine as well as keep you engaged in a structured setting. This creates an outlet for new social connections as well.
- Get Help – Inow when the above is not enough and you need professional help to process the major life change of losing a job and income. Resources are available.
For immediate mental health crisis support, call or text 988.
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