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COVID-19 had detrimental effects on many Americans. For months, people experienced long periods of isolation, excessive media consumption, and the passing of friends and family members. Perhaps one of the biggest losses was employment. Quarantine restrictions led to the closure or downsizing of many businesses across all industries, especially those related to live entertainment, food service, and hospitality.

Though some companies have been able to restart, some never recovered. This has left many Americans jobless. The stress from piling unpaid bills and the uncertainty of income can cause someone to overindulge in substances. Some signs of addiction are using to deal with job-related stress or coping with feelings of failure and disappointment.

Losing a job doesn’t have to be the onset of addiction or depression. It can be the start of a new chapter in your life. Below we’ll look at five ways to rebound after losing a job.

Current U.S. Unemployment Rate

The past couple of years have hit America’s economy and workforce hard. The loss of jobs and the sharp drop in spending from COVID-19 led to a recession between February 2020 and April 2020. During this time, the unemployment rate rose to an alarming rate of 14%. However, since that time, it has dropped back down.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an unemployment rate of 3.6% as of June 2022. This number has stayed consistent over the past four months. Just under six million people were unemployed in the U.S. in June 2022.

What Is the Psychological Toll of Losing Your Job?

Even though we’re no longer in a recession and COVID-19 restrictions are mostly lifted, their effects still linger. Those who lost a job, career, or business may still be recovering. The toll of job loss leads not only to financial struggle but physical, mental, and emotional hardship.

Some of the possible effects of losing a job are:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • loss of satisfaction in things that once brought you joy
  • high amounts of stress
  • loss of identity
  • disrupted schedule
  • loss of social interactions
  • troubles with relationships

Experiencing job loss or job insecurity can make you feel as if you alone are to blame, tarnishing your self-confidence. This can prevent you from taking the necessary steps to regain employment. Below we’ll look at five ways to bounce back from job loss.

5 Steps to Take After Losing Your Job

A job provides many things. Besides income for food and shelter, it gives many a sense of purpose, expression, and camaraderie. Losing a job can feel damaging, and finding a new one can seem daunting. However, there are five steps you can take to recover from job loss and help you find a new occupation.

Five steps to take after losing your job:

  • Reflect and forgive yourself
  • Develop a routine
  • Connect with others
  • Take a financial inventory
  • Explore job sites and apply

Let’s explore each of these steps.

  1. Forgive Yourself

People put a lot of stake in their job because it provides many things. When a job is lost, it can feel like your world’s flipped upside down. Some feel it is their fault, leading to low-self esteem.

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It’s important to remember that job loss isn’t a reflection of your moral character or intelligence. Job loss has happened to people of all races, classes, and colors. Be kind and forgive yourself. There is always another opportunity.

  1. Develop a Routine

The workday gives people a schedule to base exercise, social meet-ups, and food preparation around. When a job ends, it’s easy to feel disorganized. This may lead to feelings of uneasiness, anxiety, or boredom.

Try creating a routine that can maximize your time and lift your spirits. Reading, exercising, or meditating in the morning may set you on a productive day. Going to sleep at the same time every night creates better sleep.

  1. Connect with Others

Past co-workers, friends, or family members may want to help you find the next exciting opportunity. Utilize these people as connections or references when applying to new jobs.

Connecting doesn’t only have to be for occupational benefit. You can confide in these trusted acquaintances. By letting go of stress, you may feel a sense of relief and comfort.

  1. Take a Financial Inventory

Taking a look at your finances is never fun. However, when job loss occurs, it’s usually beneficial to account for how much you are spending and saving. There is no certainty how long it may take for a new job to be secured, so fully understanding your financial state can help you maintain food and shelter.

Some ways to look at your finances are:

  • tracking your spending through bank statements
  • knowing how much debt you owe, which can include credit cards, mortgage loans, and student debts
  • exploring other sources of income, such as signing up for unemployment, looking into lines of credit, and if you’ve received all of the stimulus checks (if you were eligible for them)
  • trying out gig jobs, such as courier applications that deliver food, medicines, and everyday household items
  1. Explore Job Sites and Apply

Several job listing and recruiting sites connect thousands of people to new employment opportunities. Exploring websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter can show you the current job market. It can also show you job qualifications.

Before applying, you may want to review, update, and customize your resume. It can benefit you if a friend in a similar workforce looks over your resume. They can point out what to improve upon and tell you what is working.

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Next Steps

After applying for jobs, reward yourself by watching a favorite movie, listening to music, or reading a book. If you feel nervous about the outcome of an interview, try reaching out to a friend with job searching experience. They can help calm your nerves with reassurance and tips.