It happens to all of us. Everything’s going according to plan and BAM, we get the shocking news. Whether it’s a layoff, a breakup, or illness, these unwelcome changes can be devastating.
Change is one of my favorite topics in the life skills classes that my husband, Jer and I teach. Someone once said there are only two guarantees: death and taxes. I am going to go ahead and add change to that list.
There are three main types of change:
- change we can control
- change we can influence
- change we can’t control
Each type of change has something in common. In each one, we can control how we respond. Although we can’t control the type of change we’re discussing today, we can certainly control how we respond. And that response greatly affects our wellbeing.
The Grief of Job Loss
I’ve witnessed a lot of unexpected job loss in my circle this summer. As a bystander, it’s so painful to watch people be blindsided. You know everything’s going to be okay, but there’s nothing you can say that will make it better. You just have to be supportive through the grieving process.
Yes, I said grieving process. It’s not just losing a job. For many people, their job is their social outlet, their income, and their identity. It’s a pretty big deal.
You might be going through this right now. Maybe you know someone who is. Perhaps you just need to bookmark this for the next time you receive unwelcome news. While these 10 tips are tailored to job loss, they can be applied to any unwelcome change in your life.
10 Tips to Cope with Unwelcome Change
1 – Embrace Your Emotions but Don’t Get Stuck
Rejection is HARD. It’s okay to feel sad, hurt, and betrayed. Maybe you feel relieved, excited, and grateful. You may even feel all of these at the same time, and that’s okay.
Work through your feelings but don’t allow yourself to dwell on the negative. Our thoughts affect our outcome. If you get stuck in the negative – I suck, I failed, I’ll never win – you can expect that’s how it’ll turn out.
2 – Have Faith that it’ll All Work Out
Everything will work out. It always does. Do what you can to convince yourself of this.
You can build your faith through the wisdom found in spiritual teachings. If you’re spiritual, set aside time to study your guide. If you’re not, be open to talking to someone who is. I assure you that there is plenty of peace to be shared.
As it pertains to job loss, it always works out for the best. It takes longer for some than others, but eventually it works out. When I worked for The Worst Company in America, one of their motivation tactics was to cut 10 percent of the workforce each December – Merry Christmas! I’ve stayed in touch with many of these people over the years and they’re all doing better than had they not been cut.
It might not seem like it now, but it always works out.
3 – Be Proactive
Get the word out immediately. And keep it positive.
A friend recently told me that she left her job unexpectedly. I said, “Great, now you can focus on growing your own business. Have you contacted former clients to let them know you’ve transitioned to your business full-time and have availability?”
A positive spin goes a long way. Get creative and put yourself out there!
4 – Write Your Best Story
You are the author of your own story. Whatever you write for yourself becomes your reality. It’s not about lying to ourselves or others. It’s about changing your perspective.
Job loss is typically a negative thing. We tend to write really long and negative stories. My boss was a jerk, my coworkers were crazy, nobody understood me …
Remember that you can choose how you respond. You can choose to write a positive story. That wasn’t the best fit for where I am in my life. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to start fresh with something that better aligns with my dreams and values. I really learned a lot from being in that situation and I can use what I learned to help others.
It’s your story and your choice.
5 – Recognize the Opportunity
You’re scared and things seem uncertain, but this might just be your chance to do all of those things you wanted to do. Have you always wanted to teach English in Spain? Have you been dreaming about getting your certification to become a golf pro? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to start your own business. If there was ever a perfect time to take that leap, this just might be it.
Since we’re on the topic, here’s an awesome resource for low-cost business ideas.
6 – Get Active
Exercise is the magic cure for whatever ails you. Exercise has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety while increasing energy. You’ve got some time on your hands. Get outside and walk, hike, run, swim, bike. It’ll change your life.
7– Eat Right
The tendency in our culture is to turn to food when we’re feeling down. Watch any sitcom and I guarantee that when the main character gets dumped, she’s going to cry over a quart of ice cream. Nothing against ice cream, but I’ve never seen it fix a problem.
As someone who’s a proponent of healthy eating, I feel the responsibility to tell you that unhealthy foods are just going to make you feel worse. Not only that, many processed foods are addictive and can send you into a downward spiral.
8 – Feed Your Mind
Just like diet and exercise, what you put in your mind is what you get out. Sit and watch daytime television and your life might start to look like the midday drama.
Fill your mind with positive content. Listen to podcasts while cleaning. Spend your evenings reading good books. Take this opportunity to learn a new skill or trade. Whatever seeds you plant in your mind are the ones that will grow.
9 – Give Generously
Money might be tight right now but I bet you can find a little extra free time. Get out and volunteer. Volunteering will replace many of the things you lost with your job like social interaction and your sense of value. Plus, you’ll be out networking and getting closer to your next opportunity.
10 – Prepare for the Next Storm
When everything works out, just as I said it would, it’s time to think about how you can prepare for the next storm. It’s not a matter of if there will be another storm, it’s a matter of when.
It’s a lot easier to get through an unwanted change if you’re not worried about finances. I suggest having six months’ worth of living expenses available at all times. Six months might seem like a lot, but it’s the difference between panic and peace. Plus, you’ll really be able to go after the opportunity we discussed in tip 5.
If you’re a little light in the bank account, don’t worry. Start small. First, build up and months’ worth of expenses, then three, and finally six. It may take a little time but trust me, you’ll be grateful when you get there.
This is also a great time to think about what you learned. Is it possible that your behavior helped create the situation? How can you learn and grow from the way things went down? There are probably some lessons to be found.
Change can be scary, but we get to choose how we respond. These 10 tips will help you to respond positively and healthfully so that you can get back on your feet in record time.
What tips do you have for dealing with unwelcome change?
Share in the comments below.