Redundancy – Self Care & Emotional Coping Strategies

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There’s no way to dress it up - being made redundant from your job is hard. Whether or not you saw it coming. Whether or not it was a voluntary decision. Whether or not it has dire financial consequences for your or your family. To hear that you’re being given redundancy/let go/laid off is sad at best, devastating at worst.

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Image: Canva; Words: Rachel Forchella

When a company issues redundancy notices, they generally give a lot of practical support to employees (CV writing etc.). However, emotional aftercare is often lacking – and the emotional fall out of such a major life event can be huge.

Redundancy can bring up feelings of worthlessness, disappointment, rejection, self-doubt and abandonment. Even if you find a new job straight away, or choose to wait a while, these emotions and thought-processes can prevent you being truly able to “move on”.

Read on for our guide to looking after your emotional health post-redundancy.

10 Ways to Care for Yourself after Redundancy

  1. Give yourself time to grieve. You’ve experienced a big loss - do what you need to do. Go for a run. Cry into a pillow. Watch 17 episodes of The Real Housewives of Wherever back to back whilst mainlining tea and biscuits. Take some time out to just “breathe”.
  2. Set yourself a new routine. Obviously, this will be easy if you’ve already started a new job, but if you haven’t this step is vital. Giving yourself a “purpose”, even if it’s just talking the dog out for a long walk or walking to a café to enjoy your favourite cappuccino will give your day structure.
  3. Commit to completing one “positive action” every day. This could be researching courses, updating your LinkedIn profile or reading a chapter of a personal development book.
  4. Find or create a support network – and ask for help if you need it. Don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside for fear of burdening (or boring!) others. When your partner, family or friends ask you how you are, tell them. Expressing yourself is important, especially when the “wound” is raw. However, remember that continuing to talk negatively about a situation can stop you moving forward. When you have come to terms with the redundancy and are beginning to rebuild your life, talk about the positive things in your future that you are looking forward to, rather than the bad things that have happened in the past.
  5. Whilst talking to others is healthy and good for you, be careful of your own “self talk”. We all have a constant inner dialogue, but when that voice is telling us that we’re useless, worthless or pathetic for letting things get on top of us we need to censor it ASAP. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend or loved one – don’t say it to yourself.
  6. Whether you like it or not, your comfort zone has been stretched. Take advantage of this and try to see the situation as a brand new opportunity to rebuild a life that you truly love. Could you now start the small business you’ve already dreamt of? Could you go freelance so that you can travel the world at the same time as working for your clients? Could you retrain in a field that you’re really passionate about? Don't be afraid to start over.
  7. Sign-up for volunteering opportunities that will boost your confidence and build your skillset. Forward Ladies supports the charity Mosaic. Mosaic deliver mentoring programmes in schools and prisons which aim to create opportunities for young people growing up in some of the UK’s most deprived communities. For more information, see HERE.
  8. When you do get a new job, let go and let yourself move on. Don’t keep telling your new work colleagues how amazing your old work colleagues were. Give new relationships the opportunity to bloom. As they say, “you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”.
  9. But at the same time, take your experience with you. Employers nearly always welcome a fresh viewpoint on the way they do things. Sharing industry insights and know-how will help you to regain any lost confidence.
  10. Finally, do not underestimate your ability to adapt. And even if everything seems terrible right now remember – this too shall pass. However, if you feel as if the redundancy is taking its toll on your mental health, please seek professional support. You can find resources HERE.

If you know someone who you feel would benefit from this article, please share it with them.

Are you are currently entering a new life phase following redundancy and are looking for training or to meet new people? If so, have a look at our upcoming training seminars, or why not join us at one of our monthly Power Business Breakfast Clubs held in cities across the UK? For full details see here: http://forwardladies.com/networking-events/

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