What to Expect after Sudden Job Loss


March 14, 2024, 10:16 am | David Brown

Updated, March 20, 2024 – This news release is now available in additional languages: Spanish, Arabic, Burmese, Tigrinya and Haitian Creole.

AMES, Iowa – For some people, a sudden job loss might be a welcome relief from a difficult situation or may offer the time to reflect on their career and what they really want. But for most, a job loss can have a significant emotional impact, says David Brown, behavioral health state specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“Losing a job due to a plant closure or some other sudden layoff can be overwhelming and stressful,” Brown said. “There might not be a simple fix following sudden unemployment but there are ways to help manage the emotional impact of such a loss.”

People holding hands by Nola V/peopleimages.com/stock.adobe.com.He offered the following suggestions that may help individuals to cope positively with stress and loss.

  • Find social support. Social support plays a critical role in helping people manage adversity. Such support from mentors, family and friends is critical because anxiety and depression can sometimes accompany job loss.
  • Take care of your needs. Keep a regular sleep schedule and eat nutritious meals and snacks. Exercise is also an important remedy for stress.
  • Take a break. Turn this into an opportunity to get away and visit friends or family. Participate in or start an enjoyable hobby.
  • Maintain a routine. With unstructured time, you may feel like you are a little lost. You then need to set your own routine. Every morning, get right out of bed, take a shower and get dressed. Just doing this can get your day off to a better start.
  • Give it time. Grieving the loss of your job and adjusting to unemployment can take time. Learning to manage your experiences and feelings is a continual process.
  • Apply for jobs, but don’t overdo it. It is easy to look at career websites or job boards and apply for everything. But, when applying for jobs, choose quality over quantity. Again, this is an opportunity to consider those jobs you might truly want.

“If stress, anxiety or depression are hindering you or your job search, you may consider seeking professional help. Many community mental health centers or nonprofit mental health providers offer a sliding pay scale or financial assistance on the basis of your ability to pay. You can find local mental health professionals by going to www.iowamhdsregions.org/,” Brown said.

Consider calling the Iowa Concern Hotline. This resource from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers confidential assistance and referral for stress, legal questions and financial concerns. Iowa Concern can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-447-1985 or at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/. Interpretation services are available.

Iowa Workforce Development is responsible for overseeing workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and job training services. Many resources may be available from https://workforce.iowa.gov/.

Photo credit: Nola V/peopleimages.com/stock.adobe.com

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