StressStop Blog

Advice for Those Going Through Layoffs and Downsizing

Jim Porter, M.A.L.S., President, StressStop.comSaturday, April 3rd, 2010

In the last blog we talked about the health risks associated with job-loss and the threat of downsizing. According to a recent article in the New York Times, after a steel mill in upstate NY closed, within six weeks, three of the workers in the plant had suffered a heart attack and two of those cases turned out to be fatal. Several studies quoted in the article, showed that heart disease, depression, and other stress-related disorders were not uncommon in people whose jobs had been terminated.

man being fired with box of items cleared from his deskSo what advice can you give someone going through downsizing?

Don't forget the effect of "persistent perceived job insecurity," for people who endure a period of downsizing. Even survivors of job cuts are at risk for health problems. So if you fall into this first group - of job cut survivors - the following advice may pertain to you too.

Take a Stress Test now to determine your level of Resilience >

  1. Get some exercise. Even though the money may be tight, if you are laid off, consider joining a gym. You actually may have more time to use it, and the daily workouts may be a lifesaver in terms of your physical and mental health. (You may be pleasantly surprised by the networking opportunities you find at the gym as well.) Also remember, any movement like walking, vacuuming or raking the leaves, sustained for at least ten minutes, counts as exercise.

  2. Monitor drinking and smoking. If you see a surge in either of these two unhealthy activities, get some help, or try your best to cut back.

  3. Seek support. This is the time you need it most. Maybe you'll find this through a support group, maybe you'll find it online or maybe you'll find it through a religious organization. Where ever you find it, just attending meetings and connecting with others, will counteract the natural urge to shut down and become depressed.

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