How to Deal With Depression After Losing a Job

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Losing a job can be devastating, not just to the bank account, but also to the psyche. The psychological blow of losing a job can affect anyone, whether single or married, sole bread winner or part of a two-income family. According to Healthline, the unemployed are twice as likely to have psychological problems as those who are employed. Before you allow yourself to sink into depression, take positive steps to capitalize on your situation to build yourself a better future.

Put It in Perspective

  • Losing a job can be a traumatic life-changing event that may be likened to a death or divorce. Many people in this predicament experience stages of grieving – shock, fear, anger, bargaining and depression -- before coming to accept their job loss. Consider what you have lost. While job identity is important to many, remember that a job is what you do, not who you are. The circumstances that led to your termination were quite likely beyond your control. If you pity yourself, you will find it harder to rebound. Instead, take the opportunity to evaluate your situation and make positive plans for your future.

Take Care of Yourself

  • Make physical and mental care a top priority. Since unemployment can bring a loss of contact with others, consider joining a gym where you can not only keep yourself trim, but also establish social contacts which might lead to employment opportunities. If being at home brings more time with your children, enjoy it. Take the kids to the park or a museum – you may gain some personal insight along the way. Be selective in the people you meet. Networking meetings for the unemployed can be discouraging if the mood is doom and gloom. Find positive connections and spread the word through your network that you are looking for introductions and contacts with potential employers. The more positive steps you take for yourself, the stronger your mental outlook will be.

Looking for a Job Is a Job

  • Without the rigorous schedule of a job, it is all too easy to slip into bad habits – sleeping late, whiling away time on the Internet, and brooding over the past event. Your job search is now your full time job. Just as you had to organize your time on the job, you must do the same with your job-hunting job. Observe normal working hours. Prioritize your activities – emails, networking meetings and calls to prospective employers. Consider what skills you need to refresh or to acquire to compete more effectively in the job market. Take advantage of continuing education courses that you can find at a local college or online.

Volunteer Your Time and Services

  • No matter how dire you may consider your circumstances, there are likely others who who are in greater need, and you can help yourself by helping others. Volunteer opportunities are everywhere – local food banks, professional organizations, civic groups and religious organizations all have activities that help those in need. Helping others can also expand your network of contacts, while showing would-be employers that you are a resilient, self-motivated person. Forbes magazine reports that acts of kindness are scientifically proven to lift spirits as much as anti-depressant drugs.

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