Losing a job can be a very difficult time for anyone. Regardless of whether you have been made redundant, furloughed or an SME who lost clients due to lock down, the emotions we would be going through are very complicated. Financial uncertainties, guilt, embarrassment and loss of purpose are amongst some of the main emotions that people could be faced in a situation like that. If the job you had been doing is something that you have trained your entire life for, you may feel a loss of identity that could lead to feeling fearful and confused. You may be asking ‘what does my future hold?’, ‘I am not sure where to begin’, or ‘I am not looking forward to retrain from the scratch’.
I have been through similar situations in my life more than once and let me reassure you that despite the nightmare you are living right now, there is growth at the end of this process. I am going to share a few tips that could help you in the process.
Understand What and How You are Feeling
Anxiety is our body’s natural response to feeling stressed. When we are faced with a threat (historically, this was more likely to be a sabre tooth tiger), our body responds with ‘fight’, ‘flight’ or ‘freeze’. Loosing a job is a threat and our body’s natural response activates in a situation like this. Sweating excessively, difficulty sleeping, raised heartbeat, irritation, feeling extremely tired, not taking joy in anything you do are some major symptoms of anxiety. Although, it is our primal response, prolonged anxiety could cause our body’s immune system to shut down. It could also lead to anxiety disorders. So, if you are feeling any of the above symptoms, it is time to take care of yourself. After all, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
Regulate Your Emotions:
It is vital that we allow ourselves to regulate emotions. Suppressed emotions could drive us without our awareness.
Cry: The power of tears is underrated. Crying soothes ourselves, release pain, helps us sleep, releases toxins and relieves stress and it is a signal for others to help us. So, allow the tears to roll down, sob if your body is telling you to do it. It is body’s normal response to emotions we feel.
Exercise: Exercise boosts physical and mental energy, release stress and most of all it is an effective and a natural anti-anxiety treatment. Dancing, running and walking are some of the easy steps anyone could take during lock-down. These activities don’t cost any money and could easily be done at home, whilst going to the supermarket or doing your laundry.
Meditation: Research has found that during meditation our prefrontal cortex lightens. Prefrontal cortex is responsible for highly cognitive activities of our brain. It is ineffective when under stress or feeling anxious. So, it is important to calm our prefrontal cortex to function effectively.
Talking: Talk to someone about your experience, how you are feeling, what you want to do. If you want to talk to someone anonymously, Samaritans are very helpful (https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/)
Tapping: Emotional Freedom Technique is a highly effective, easy to learn and easy to practice technique. It reduces anxiety symptoms immediately. You can find YouTube videos (I highly recommend watching Karl Dawson who is a Master Trainer and the creator of Matrix Reimprinting; a highly powerful technique of treating anxiety. I had the privilege of training under him). There are so many helpful information on EFT on my blog ( https://www.coachingwithnisanka.com/post/how-effective-is-eft-emotional-freedom-technique-in-managing-anxiety). Working with an experienced practitioner will help you get to the root cause and manage anxiety long-term.
Make a Short-term Plan
Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Enquire in to any support you can get, burrow from friends and family, get an overdraft, apply for Universal Credit (https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit), sell unwanted things on eBay are some of the quick decisions you can make. Speak to the bank to get holidays on payments. Debt Relief Order (seek professional advice as there are pros and cons) is also another other option you may want to look in to. What skills do you have (cooking, baking, innovations, singing, helpful advice etc) that you can share with others on YouTube or other platforms? These videos may generate a passive income for you whilst you are successful in a new job. Minimising uncertainties about things can help you reduce your anxiety.
Make a Long-term Plan
Staying focused on future is important even during adversity. Allow your brain to experience success as it has already happened and your brain will create new neural pathways. This process helps reduce anxiety levels. Create a vision board, connect with what you want to do in the future and write down a future focused action plan to be working towards. Get professional help if you need it. A little bit of investment in yourself could be the difference between continuing to live in the current situation or changing it for the better. I highly recommend John C. Parkin’s ‘F**k it: Do What You Love’ and other books in the series or Richard Carlson’s ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’. They are easy reads and extremely motivating.
Whatever it is that you decide to do, it is important to remember to look after yourself. Thriving during adversity is extremely difficult but it is possible. Once, you have successfully navigated a phase like this, you will come out at the other end feeling more connected, having found a purpose and with a brand new identity with more awareness of your skills that you didn't even know existed. I wish you all the best!