How To Protect Your Mental Health From The Looming Layoffs

When the father of a newborn gets laid off, he might try to look at the positive side of the story and think he’ll get to spend more time with his child. Or he may become overburdened with anxiety about his and the child’s future. Both are completely normal responses to a life-changing shift. What’s undebatable is the immense impact of layoffs on the employee’s mental health.

While the world is in the grip of yet another wave of layoffs, it’s imperative for everyone involved to be empathetic and compassionate to others and themselves. The mere possibility of getting laid off can create a lot of anxiety among employees, and when it actually happens, they see their worst fears coming to life.

If you’re someone who just got laid off or are dealing with the possibility of it, you need to know that your mental health is above everything else. Your feelings of hopelessness are valid, but they will also be short-lived. Life has a way of turning things around; how you deal with crises will change how you come out of them.

Let’s get a few things straight first

  • You’re not a failure: These days, the economy is something of a force of nature. We don’t have much control over it. And how could something you have no control over make you a failure? If anything, the fact that you’re going to get back on your feet is a testament to your resilience.
  • The value you bring is beyond the layoff: We know you’ve spent months and years working yourself to exhaustion. You’ve dedicated your time, efforts, and sometimes your mental health for the good of the company. That was not all for nothing! Look back and reminisce how much value it brought to them, how much it taught you and how incredibly well you juggled your personal and professional life.
  • Getting laid off doesn’t mean you’re not talented: We mean, really? Since when did economic currents start to decide if you’re good at something? Extraneous circumstances like downsizing, recession, and restructuring are common causes of layoffs. And let us tell you, these factors have nothing to do with your talent. You will eventually find a workplace where your skills shine. We’re willing to bet on it, and you should too!
  • It will take time to process the whole thing: We’re not saying that it won’t hurt you. You’ll probably have sleepless nights and days filled with worry about managing your finances, finding another job, and supporting your family. Having coping mechanisms in place is going to make all the difference. Emotional First Aid can help you work out what coping mechanisms work for you. Who knows? It might even help get over it quickly.

Also Read: What is Emotional First Aid: 5 Ways to Practice It

There is a way forward

Of course, there is! There are literally thousands of options for you to choose your next adventure from. Pull up your socks and start applying to places you always dreamed of, the places you wouldn’t otherwise think of applying. The only good thing about a shock to the proverbial system is that it gets you out of your comfort zone. If you don’t have to work right away, you might even want to enrol in new courses and upskill yourself.

Quick fixes are not going to help you get over this one. Getting laid off can make you feel like you’ve lost your place in the world. It can make you feel directionless. Surmounting financial stress, judgement from friends and family, and self-blame will definitely take a toll on your mental health. This emotional shock will lead to psychological injuries that can feel impossible to overcome. But we’re here to help get through to this.

Emotional First Aid is meant to deal with situations exactly like this one. The psychological injuries resulting from layoffs need to be addressed and dealt with swiftly before they lead to emotional bleeding and hurt you deeply.

Here are a few tips for practising emotional first aid while dealing with a layoff:

  • Reach out to your support system and share your problems. Nothing soothes the mind like a loved one’s empathic ear.
  • Take care of your body and mind. You might want to see to it that you’re eating healthy and eating enough. Nurture your mind with books you’d put off reading, postponed movie nights, and long walks.
  • Write your heart out. It helps our brain consolidate information and reflect on it. Sometimes, it may also prevent you from taking it out on yourself or someone else.
  • Think positively. Tell yourself that it’s going to be a smooth ride from here on out. The universe has a way of manifesting your inner reality.

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