Grief can take on many forms. Losing a loved one can be particularly difficult around the holidays, and losing a job can also cause powerful feelings of grief.
If you are like many people, a job is not just a paycheck; it is a part of your identity. Losing a job can be worrisome for financial reasons, but it can also feel like losing a piece of yourself, bringing about many conflicting emotions, including: depression, anxiety, embarrassment, anger, self-consciousness and fear.
If you are unemployed right before the holidays, you may feel additional stress about buying gifts or trying to be in a festive mood when you’re feeling down. Other people close to you – family, friends, former colleagues—may unintentionally add to your grief by making insensitive comments or expecting you to “bounce back” immediately.
During this difficult time, turn to journal therapy for understanding, compassion and the reassurance that you will get through this.
Grief Journal Exercise #3
1. Start by letting it all out in your journal. Write down everything you are feeling without censoring yourself – vent, cry, yell, gripe (your journal won’t judge you). Talk about your worries, your fears, your regrets and your stresses. Give into your emotions and just write without limitation. Take a break from this journal therapy session and come back in a few hours or the next day.
2. Reread what you wrote earlier and try to isolate the main reasons you are experiencing these emotions. For example, if you are worried, is it because you are concerned about paying bills or buying presents or finding a new job? If you are angry, is it because you feel betrayed by the company you worked for or you feel you shouldn’t have been let go? On a separate page of your journal, write a sentence for each reason: I feel…. because…
3. Some factors will be out of your control, which is frustrating, but focus on what you do have power over. In your grief journal entry, make a note of the actions (no matter how small) you can take to get back on track. For example:
• I can maintain positive relationships with my former employers and colleagues because their references will be important in my job hunt.
• I can enjoy the holidays with my family and not blame myself for the current economy.
• I can be honest with my family about our financial situation and work on a realistic budget until I get a new job.
• I can keep the holidays simple this year and cook or make meaningful gifts that don’t cost much money.
• I can ask friends, colleagues and family members to forward me job leads.
4. Remember to be kind to yourself; turn to your inner coach to help you through your grieving period, and talk to yourself the way you would to a close friend.
Have you used journal therapy to cope with losing a job? What advice would you give to others going through a similar situation?
Having a hard time getting started with your job loss grief journal therapy? Maybe one of these Journaling Tips will help you get to the page on time. Want to talk about your specific situation? Contact Mari write here.