How Layoffs Affect Your Mental Health And 7 Tips On How To Cope


“I was laid off last year,” Susan told me. “I did not announce it widely, and it was a lot to process, but I chose to make a big change . . . to do what I said I’d NEVER do. I joined a start up, to learn, face the unknown and be part of a small team with a BIG vision. The silver lining to what felt like a dark cloud. There is hope. Yes, be sad a moment, but then remember you are awesome! Then leverage your skills and your network.”

The Tables Have Turned

With over 70K tech layoffs at big tech companies such as Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Meta, the power is shifting once more between employers and employees. An Insight Global survey signals that the ball may be landing in employers’ courts, as nine out of 10 managers in the U.S. say they would likely lay off employees in the event of a recession. And with growing concerns among employees for their jobs, 54% are more willing to take a pay cut to avoid a potential layoff, according to the survey.

There have been almost 60,000 layoffs in the tech industry alone since the start of the new year. Daily increases in massive layoffs keeps the list of companies laying off workers getting longer. And statistics show that close to 47% of employed Americans admit they’re not prepared for a layoff. “It’s unfortunate we’re already seeing some companies turn to mass layoffs because I believe layoffs should be the absolute last resort,” asserts Bert Bean, CEO of Insight Global. “Instead, I encourage leaders to consider other solutions, such as building a plan that avoids layoffs and helps you grow through a recession. Get your employee base executing on that, because when you bounce back from a recession, you’ll need your people more than ever . . . I realize not all leaders have the will to do this, but if you do, you will be shocked and amazed by the performance of your people when they feel this kind of safety and loyalty,” Bean explains.

Tips For Taking Care of Yourself After a Layoff

Layoffs are scary. They displace us physically, mentally and financially. So the question becomes, what do you do if this happens to you? Initially the first reaction is just chaos and confusion. Next comes the google searches of How to cope with layoffs and Jobs near me. “When and if you’re unexpectedly laid off from work it is reasonable you may experience negative impacts to your mental health that include feelings of depression, shame, anxiety about the future, lowered self-esteem and a lack of motivation,” says Courtney Cope of BetterHelp. “Additionally, unless you have been able to save an emergency fund for such an occasion, a layoff can cause housing instability and food insecurity, if you are also unable to pay your rent or feed your family while looking for another job.” Cope offers four actions you can take to care for yourself:

  1. Give yourself permission to be upset but with timed boundaries. Take a defined period of time (72 hours, 1 week, etc.) to wallow in the low feelings that may be coming up for you—those feelings deserve to be acknowledged–yet don’t let them run the show. It’s important to soon begin taking steps to stabilize your future.
  2. Take action. Whatever you do, keep moving forward in one area of your life or another. Continue to exercise daily, stick with a hobby you recently started or get up and go to networking events and continue to meet people. Just keep putting things on your schedule and remind yourself that there is a life worth living beyond this current and immediate situation.
  3. Ask for help. Choose to speak to peers who may have been through something similar or talk to colleagues who are familiar with your industry or have similar skill-sets about how they were able to find jobs quickly in the past. Be purposeful about who you confide in and seek advice from.
  4. Consider online therapy. It’ a great way to access help in a quick, easy and cost-effective manner. Many licensed therapists are also trained in career counseling and can help you create a basic game plan for how you want to approach finding your next job, updating your resume and networking. From an economic standpoint, online therapy is generally affordable, and you’ll be saving on transportation costs by attending therapy from the comfort of your own home.

Michelle English, clinical director of Healthy Life Recovery, believes it’s important to keep a healthy mindset post getting laid off. She offers three tips to stay on track. “First step to change your mindset is to begin looking for new jobs, don’t allow yourself much time to dwell, pour your energy into the optimism of a new opportunity,” English suggests. “Secondly, revise your resume and write down all of your accomplishments and skills. Don’t forget that you are a skilled, intelligent and desired employee. A revised resume will help engrave this confidence into your mind. My last tip is to have a schedule for applying to new jobs/networking. This can easily get overwhelming and lead to prolonged unemployment. A schedule could be an hour each day or five new opportunities a day, adjust numbers to what feels comfortable for you!”

You Are Not Alone

Susan isn’t alone, nor are you. If you have been personally affected by a layoff, you, too, could be experiencing a roller coaster of emotions. It’s important to internalize that you are not alone and that you’re in a temporary state of affairs. While her emotions were fresh in her mind, Susan shared with me her four-point personal plan. If you haven’t been personally affected by recent layoffs, Susan requests that you share these four points with someone who has:

  1. Make a list of the contributions you made that you’re proud of. Susan says it helps to build a more positive self-view and to identify what you’re most passionate about.
  2. Make a list of what you learned about the environments you excel in and what doesn’t work for you in order to explore opportunities that are the right fit.
  3. Take time to reflect, upskill and look for ways to invest in yourself—such as learning a new skill, volunteering in the community or making plans to meet with people in your circle who are supportive and value you.
  4. Remember that YOU are capable, talented and equipped for another opportunity in the right organization that prioritizes your growth and well-being.

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