How to Manage Your Self-Care After a Layoff

Make sure you have self care after a layoff

You’ve been laid off and it feels like you have lost all control. It can be hard to figure out the steps to take after a layoff while trying to process what just happened. Finding another job is likely at the forefront of your mind. However, it likely feels overwhelming and almost impossible while dealing with the grief of losing your job.

Managing your self-care after a layoff is crucial. Unfortunately, many job seekers neglect to stop and take time to process and heal before jumping into the job search process.

In this article I’m going to provide some simple ways to manage your self-care after a layoff:

Step One: Reflect

Experiencing a layoff can feel devastating. It’s totally shitty and it’s a loss. I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it and tell you that everything happens for a reason. Eventually you might find out it was the best thing to ever happen to you. But right now, it sucks.

Allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel. Angry, hopeless, depressed, sad. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Give yourself time and space to go through the stages of grief.

When you’re ready, you can start to do some self-reflection. Were you happy in your previous role and field? If not, why not? What changes (if any) would you like to make?

Do you want to keep doing what you were doing before or do you want to make a career change? Or maybe you’re open to starting your own business.

Step Two: Make a short-term plan

Figure out what the short-term looks like. Sit down and look at your budget. Do you need to make income right away or can you take time to look for a new job and/or figure out your next step?

If you need to make income right away, would you consider doing contract, freelance, or temp work? This is a great way to earn money and fill in your resume gap while you continue to search for a more permanent career opportunity and/or figure out your next career move. FlexJobs, LinkedIn Jobs, Monster, and ZipRecruiter all offer flexible, remote, contract, and freelance opportunities.

Working through a temp or employment agency can also allow you to get your foot in the door to a company and potentially secure a permanent, salaried position.

If your budget will allow you to take time to figure out your next step, you can invest in continuing education by taking courses, getting certifications, or even another degree while you job search. Again, this helps to fill in that resume gap and shows an employer you’re being proactive. Programs like LinkedIn Learning and Udacity offer online courses and certificates that can help you gain new skills and boost your resume.

Volunteering is another great way to make new connections and gain new skills. This is also a good way to test out a new career path or field if you want to make a big career change.

As you start to execute your short-term plan and goals, you can also begin to plan long-term.

You might know exactly where you want to go next in your career. But if you don’t that’s okay too.

It’s okay not to have all the answers right away. But try not to let the unknown paralyze you from taking action. Sometimes the best next step is just to take one step forward. Then another.

Step Three: Seek out help

Being laid off can feel isolating. Your spouse or friends might not be able to relate to what you’ve been through. Seeking out counseling or therapy does not mean you are weak. It takes courage and strength to ask for help. There are so many resources available. Check with your medical insurance (if you’ve got it) to see if mental health services are covered.

Once you have received mental health support, you can begin to start your job search. If the thought of updating your resume gives you indigestion (it does for most people) there are many free resume resources to help you rewrite your resume. Simultaneously you can begin to brush up on your interviewing skills.

In addition to professionals, it’s also okay to ask for help from your friends and family. Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or significant other will allow you to process your job loss and move forward.

In conclusion:

Being productive and launching your job search after a layoff is important. However, if you neglect your self-care, you might rush through the process and risk getting a job that is not a great fit for you. It’s okay to slow down and treat yourself well after a layoff. Take it one day at a time, and slowly you will get back on your feet and move forward again in your career!

  • Lee Cristina Beaser

    MS, CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer)

    Lee brings over two decades of expertise in guiding individuals towards career success. Having helped thousands of professionals in a wide variety of industries, she has a deep understanding of the intricacies of the job market. Lee founded The Career Counter, a platform dedicated to providing busy people, especially moms returning to the workforce, with tools and services tailored to their unique career goals.

    Our Founder has over 20 years of experience helping people like you

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