When life gets really stressful, sleep is usually the first thing to go. Few things cause more stress than losing your job. There’s a lot to worry about and it can very quickly start to get on top of you.
So, how can you sleep after losing your job? The best things to do are accept the situation as a temporary setback and plan for what’s next. You will want to work through the stress, ensure you do not lose your daily routine and utilize your social circle for support.
I know that’s much easier said than done. Losing your job affects so many areas of your life. In addition to the obvious financial worries, your self-esteem and self-confidence take a hit. You lose a big part of your identity and your daily routine and social circle change instantly. Basically, nothing feels the same.
It’s really easy to tell yourself the situation is impossible, but there is hope. There are plenty of things you can do to work through the stress that comes with losing your job. Once you do, you’ll be able to get the sleep you need to write the next chapter of your life.
How Can You Work through the Stress of Losing Your Job?
The first few days, it’s important to grieve. Grief is a normal response to any loss, especially one that leaves you feeling so unstable. Work through your feelings. Whether you’re mad, depressed, or scared, feel it. Just try not to be too hard on yourself.
It’s important not to take the job loss too personally. This is something that happened to you, not a sign of your worth. If you start thinking that you’re not good enough or let the job loss define who you are as a person, moving forward is going to be even more difficult.
In my research, I found that it’s much easier to move forward if you treat the situation as an opportunity for growth. Reevaluate your future plans and update your resume to help take away any feelings of powerlessness.
Be good to yourself. Don’t sit on the couch eating junk food and watching television all day or stay up all night and sleep until noon. Instead, go for a walk or run, take a hike, or even just walk around the block. Keep a regular schedule and routine as best you can.
Do something worthwhile that makes you happy like volunteering, playing outside with your kids, or doing something creative.
It’s also important to think practically about the future, both short and long term. Adjust your budget by cutting expenses where you can and update your resume so you can start searching for your next job.
How Can You Maintain a Healthy Daytime Routine?
It’s okay to take a few days to do whatever you need to do to get through the initial shock but the only way to get a good night’s sleep again is to feel like you’re moving forward. That means establishing and maintaining a new routine. How do you do that when you don’t have to go to work? Here are some ideas:
- Get up at the same time every morning
- Shower every day
- Eat regular meals
- Schedule time each day to get out of the house
- Follow a cleaning schedule
- Allow yourself downtime in the evenings
- Get to bed at the same time each night
One very important part of managing this specific type of stress is to focus on getting a new job. In my research, I found that it’s best to treat this process as a job itself. Why? Because you’re more likely to stay focused and driven if you dedicate time to it every day.
Every weekday you should set aside time to do something to help your job hunt. Update your resume. Search for openings on the internet. Connect with people on LinkedIn. Reach out to former coworkers for leads. Contact anyone at your previous job who would be willing to give you a good reference.
By doing something each and every day, you’re not only giving yourself more structure, but you’re also regaining control of your work life. Instead of feeling helpless, you’re the one making things happen.
To keep from feeling overwhelmed, the best thing to do is break everything down into small steps. Give yourself manageable goals every day and when it’s time to go to bed at night, you’ll feel like you really accomplished something.
How Can Your Social Circle Help?
First and foremost, it’s important to turn to your friends and family for support. You don’t have to tell everyone you know or share the news on social media but it’s important to reach out to the people you can trust.
While you need to be around people who empathize, it’s important not to throw yourself a pity party. It’s okay to feel bad about things and wallow a bit for a few days but, after that, surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good. Basically, you need to be reminded of your awesomeness. not encouraged to feel sorry for yourself.
Reaching out to help others is important, too. You might be wondering why you should be trying to help other people when you’re having a tough time yourself. Well, everyone knows that it feels good to help other people, but do you know why?
Scientists have discovered that helping other people releases chemicals into your brain that actually make you feel good. Plus, doing something for others gets you out of your own head for a bit and helps you realize that there are a lot of people struggling. Some of them likely have problems that are a lot worse than yours.
Wondering what you can do to help? There are so many options! Here are a few ideas for how you can volunteer:
- Offer to help at your local animal shelter
- Clean up a local park
- Join a neighboorhood group that focuses on bettering the community
- Work a shift or two a week at a soup kitchen
- Visit residents in a nearby nursing home
- Rake leaves, mow the lawn, or shovel snow for a neighbor
- Get involved in your child’s school
Networking is important, too, especially when you’re looking for a new job. A lot of people find opportunities through word of mouth and personal recommendations so it’s important to let people know that you’re looking.
One thing you can do is make a list of all the companies you’re interested in working for in any capacity. Then, figure out if you know anyone at those companies. LinkedIn is a great way to find out if you have any connections.
Manage Your Stress, Manage Your Sleep
Stress is one of the primary causes of sleepless nights and there are few things that cause the same level of anxiety as losing your job. That said, it’s a very specific kind of stress and is manageable if approached in the right way.
Your first goal should be to accept the situation. I know that’s not always easy to do and it doesn’t happen overnight. It helps to keep reminding yourself that losing your job is something that happened to you. It’s not a sign that you’re a bad person or that you don’t deserve to be happy.
Remember that this situation is only temporary and keep moving forward. If you can, try to see it as an opportunity to do something new or search for your dream job. Ask around – there are a lot of people who will tell you that losing their job was a blessing in disguise because it freed them up for the next big thing.
Once you’re able to accept the situation and move on, stress slowly becomes more manageable. Making a schedule and taking deliberate actions to move forward helps immensely.
Don’t forget to reach out to close friends and family for the emotional support you need and take advantage of your network for leads on potential jobs and opportunities. While you’re waiting, volunteer your time because it always feels good to help other people.
By following this advice, your stress should become more manageable and soon you’ll be sleeping like a baby. It’s a good thing, too, because you’re going to need the rest to prepare for all those job interviews coming your way.