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Fear getting fired from the job? Here’s how you can tackle it

Getting a pink slip whether expecting or not always causes a debilitating effect on one’s self-esteem, confidence, motivation, drive and enthusiasm. Being fired or getting laid off pops up a stream of negative thoughts that challenge one’s identity and sense of self-worth. If these thoughts persist for a long time, it may lead to severe psychological, emotional, and psychosomatic issues, that could incapacitate the prospects of finding a new job also. If not controlled quickly, this could turn into a vicious spiral leading to anxiety, depression, or even suicidal thoughts.
  1. A whirlpool of negative thoughts: It is common and reasonable to get inundated with negative thoughts after a job loss like, “Why me?”; “Am I not competent enough?”; “My time is not right”; ‘What If I do not get a new job? How will I take care of my liabilities/loans/family?” While it is normal to have these thoughts initially, it is imperative to understand that it is not the right frame of mind or the apt situation to label oneself with these overwhelmingly negative thoughts and certainly not the best time for major life decisions. Sometimes there is nothing much one can do to put aquell on annoying after-hours emails or task sespecially if coming from superiors.
  2. Topsy-turvy emotions: Chaotic emotions like jealousy, anger, guilt and shame are common after job loss. Understand that its just a phase and it too shall pass. Be benevolent and help others to overcome these emotions.
  3. Expression of grief symptoms: It is observed that emotions after job loss are akin to major losses like demise and separation and are expressed following Kubler-Ross’s model of grief. Emotions like shock and denial; pain and guilt; anger and bitterness; depression and reflection are prominent initially but subside after acceptance with an upward turn of adjustment, forward-planning, hope and optimism.
  4. Onset of anxiety and panic attacks: Overthinking and being overwhelmed with negative thoughts of fear and worry trigger different types of anxiety issues like panic attacks, generalised anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder. To keep it at bay is to streamline your thoughts towards creativity, improving cognitive control and mindfulness/meditation.
  5. Sliding into depression: Comparing one’s current situation with peers and relatives with a job in hand pushes oneself into depressive mode by demeaning confidence and motivation. To curb it, get involved in cognitive exercises that improve mental flexibility, perception, and other cognitive functions along with motivational, self-help affirmations.
  6. Focus on health: There is a high chance of ignoring physical health and exacerbating the lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, chronic pain, arthritis, asthma, insomnia etc. It is a must to take care of your physical health by involving mindful eating, adequate sleep, exercise, or sports and learning new things.
In today’s hypercompetitive and uncertain world, it is always judicious to assess and plan financial assets and liabilities periodically to not overextend. Try to have a financial buffer for next six months, a medical insurance plan and keep yourself updated with job loss insurance/visa schemes etc.
Above all, give some time to evaluate what has happened, how to improve oneself and make changes to grow and evolve. Last but not the least, it is always advisable to seek professional help in case there seems a high chance of sliding into depression or anxiety, to learn how to channelise negative thoughts, chaotic emotions and cognitive distortions.
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