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Redundancy? You’ve lost a job – don’t lose the plot as well…

With all that time on your hands, and with everyone you know at work or looking for work, it’s easy to feel isolated and so ‘of little worth’ to the world. This can have the knock on effect of diminishing your status and leaves you with long periods of time to ruminate on your so called ‘failures’. To do this daily, is the path to depression. Because your money, your work, your freedom to eat/spend/go – is no longer in your control, those elements of your life that you still ‘can’ control become all the more important to you. It is no wonder then, that you will do all you can to ensure these few freedoms stay within your grasp. You might do so by adopting the status of ‘policeman’, ever vigilant to the idea that someone is out to get you/let you down/do you down/make matters worse.

Let’s get back to basics here.

You’ve lost your job, not your right to a normal life. When you have time to catastrophise, you most surely will in the absence of a ‘reality check.’ Apply some structure to your day and the time will be contained so you can then only do your catastrophising between the sessions of ‘enrichment’ that you have planned for yourself. You will find that you start feeling better, not worse. Anxiety lessens.

  • Find your other identities
  • Ditch the shame
  • Use your time to develop and improve on your other identities
  • Try to not measure your worth in currency – you’re human, and so much more than that…
  • Structure your enrichment sessions and pace them throughout the week
  • Transmit these simple truths to family members who may not understand the world as you now do…..

Story Exercises – for people who are feeling anxious/depressed after redundancy

Exercise 1 -Find your other identities

What other roles do you have in life? Write them down in a list. Cross off the roles you least enjoy and keep the ones that you value.

You might have mother, friend, bridge player, fisherman, tv critic, rambler, writer, literary critic….

Pick out your top 2 roles and write for five minutes each, on why you enjoy these roles the most – what value do they give you? what would happen if you couldn’t ever do carry out these roles again? what talents allow you to excel at these roles? Or to simply enjoy these roles?

After ten minutes of writing, stop. Turn over your page or ‘sleep’ your computer, and daydream your role – daydream yourself being the best you can be at that role – now when you feel rubbish, remember that this is really who you are.

Exercise 2 – Ditch the Shame

Don’t write for longer than fifteen minutes in total for this second exercise.

You feel like a failure. You feel ashamed because you have to sell the car, tell the kids there won’t be any holidays, you won’t be buying a season ticket this  year, that’s a fact. Your hair extensions won’t be replaced. Your garden fence needs fixing. People have noticed you don’t have the money to keep up the lifestyle you were used to. You feel ashamed.

What’s happening here is ‘change’. You are moving through a transition. What you have lost is significant. It is having an impact on you. Of course it is.

Write down a list of everything you have lost and pick two things you feel most sorry to lose.

Write for ten minutes – what do these things symbolise? how do they help you to be ‘you’.

What other elements of your life can stand in their place/do stand in their place? Write about something you haven’t lost and describe for yourself the value you get from this thing/person.

Compare the greatest loss with your greatest item/person of value…you see, you are moving through a transition. All is not lost. There are new beginnings to come. Acknowledging your loss and accepting it is the first stage to healing. It is a kind of grieving.


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