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Just Been Laid Off? Here’s What to Do First

Adults |

Processing the news

Being laid off can be shocking, challenging, and can leave us feeling totally adrift. Besides the obvious economic and emotional consequences, we can compound the problem by thinking that in some way we brought this on ourselves. I thought I was doing a good job. How did I let myself get in this position? What am I going to do now?

Remember that you have been laid off, not fired. Being laid off happens when a position is eliminated due to circumstances beyond your control, while being fired is when you lose a job because of the perception that your work is not good enough. There’s a big difference.

Hold your head up high, do your best not to take it personally. Repeat this to yourself either in your head or out loud as needed – “It’s not my fault.” As frustrating as it is, these things happen. Beating yourself up serves no purpose and can actually make the situation even more difficult.

You don’t have to get back on the horse right away

Take a deep breath, take a break, do some of the things you haven’t had time for until now. Most importantly, remember that you have seen tough times before and that you got through them. You have the strength to get through this too. Think about the things you have accomplished in your life and the challenges you have faced and overcome. You are strong and you are resilient.

Talk to your human resources representative to see what benefits are available to you and your family and how long they will last. Go online to the Government of Canada website to learn about the procedure for applying for EI benefits. Even if you have been on EI before, recent policy changes may affect your eligibility. Focus on things that you can control and use the resources being made available to you. You are not alone in this.

Moving forward

To avoid sliding into bad habits at home, find ways that you can maintain a healthy schedule with a focus on self-care:

  • Try to get eight hours of sleep a night – do your best to avoid under or oversleeping
  • Continue to wake up/go to bed as if you are still working
  • Get outside for fresh air and exercise
  • Use technology to remain connected with friends/family
  • Eat at regular times and try to eat healthy foods whenever possible
  • Be kind to yourself and don’t allow negative thoughts to occupy you
  • Do something you enjoy, like reading a book, playing board games or working on a puzzle
  • Learn and practice relaxation strategies
  • Avoid overindulging in alcohol or drugs

Tell family and friends what’s going on. Talk about any changes or adjustments that might need to be made. You are not in this alone, so let the people around you who want to help, help. Remember that this is temporary – this too shall pass.

How FamilySparks can help you

During this challenging time, you can easily access Video, Chat or Phone Counselling and Coaching, as well as online mental health resources. We also offer in-person therapy, but that is currently on hold as our office is closed and our therapists are working remotely. Learn more about getting professional help at a reduced rate due to the COVID-19 crisis here