These days, it’s unfortunately becoming more and more common to hear about companies that are laying off employees. Losing your job can pose financial challenges for you and your family, but what isn’t talked about as often is that job loss can seriously affect your mental health as well. Sadness and grief, feelings of worthlessness, lack of energy and motivation, guilt, and high stress are several of the many signs of depression following a job loss. Dealing with this difficult time in your mental health should be as much of a priority to you as getting a new job. Luckily, there are some simple but effective ways to battle depression after a professional setback like this. Here are some things to keep in mind!
Take Time to Process Your Emotions
“Feeling your feelings” is often far easier said than done, but it’s a crucial part of accepting and moving on from a job loss. Think of losing your job in the terms that you might think of losing a loved one. In a way, they’re not too dissimilar. If you try to push past the loss of a loved one without letting yourself feel the grief, sadness, and anger that comes along with that event, you’ll never feel better and you’ll never truly move forward. Taking the time to sit with your emotions and process them is crucial.
A job loss is a bigger emotional blow than it gets credit for. You might be feeling as if you’ve lost part of your identity. You may feel that you’ve lost friends and a social support network that you used to have through your job. You may also be feeling extremely guilty, and you may be blaming yourself for being laid off, even if your performance at work had nothing to do with it. While these aren’t pleasant emotions or thoughts, and few of them are true, you have to give yourself some time to sit with them in order to move on.
Lean on Your Support Network
No man is an island, and there is no reason that you should have to go through this difficult time in your life alone. Reach out to the people that you know can support you– friends, family, and any loved ones that can help you through this. Whether they’re listening to you vent every so often, helping to distract you and move your thoughts to pleasant things, getting you out of the house, or any other form of support, having people to help you carry this burden will make a world of difference.
Keep a Routine
Falling out of your daily routine can be a big contributor to depression. Instead of getting up in the morning to be at work on time, you lay around in bed feeling terrible. Instead of eating regular meals, you either go long stretches of time without eating or you graze too much, leading to fluctuating energy levels and sluggishness. You avoid your regular exercise, and with nothing to occupy your time, you continue to wallow in the misery of being laid off. In the end, losing your routine can become a never-ending cycle of depression.
While it can be extremely difficult to do, shaking off the cobwebs and keeping a routine can be one of the most helpful things you do in combating depression. Keep a regular sleep cycle, stick to your exercise routine and usual diet, stay hydrated, and find things to do throughout the day. It will help you to feel productive and keep you from sinking into negative thoughts!
In the same vein as keeping up a regular routine, finding things that you enjoy and can occupy yourself with throughout the day is a great way to keep yourself from feeling too low. Whether you’re crafting, cooking, writing, hiking, or learning a new skill, a hobby will help you to stay active in either body, mind, or both, and taking the time to do something that you genuinely enjoy is always good for your mental health, whether or not you’re currently struggling with depression. Additionally, you might even find something you love to do that can become a marketable skill down the line, like speaking a new language!
Consider Therapy and Medication
Depression in the wake of a job loss is not that different from any other kind of depression, so seeking out traditional depression treatments like therapy and medication will definitely help you out. Engaging in talk therapy with a professional a few times a month and considering antidepressants can make a world of difference in your mental state, so don’t neglect these options.
If you’ve previously tried treatments like antidepressants and found that you didn’t have much success with them, TMS therapy might be a good option for you. Here at the TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley, we specialize in treatment-resistant depression, and our methods might be able to help you! Contact us to learn more.