"It’s important to keep socially engaged, instead of withdrawing and isolating ourselves."

Losing a job can be really stressful. Our work is often part of our identity, a point of status or pride, and a source of income that allows us to provide for our loved ones. For many men, work contributes to a sense of meaning that promotes positive masculinity.[1]

Losing employment can disrupt all this, hit our self-esteem and leave us at risk for depression, anxiety, substance misuse, and even heart disease.[2]  Losing a job can be particularly difficult when it’s unexpected or when our industry is in a downturn and future employment feels uncertain.

While job loss is hard, there are strategies for success. Below are six tips for maintaining well-being through job loss and unemployment.

1. Take time to process the loss

Losing a job can bring up a lot of difficult thoughts and feelings, including anger or frustration, fear of future uncertainty, sadness, and shame. Many of us go through a grieving process as part of accepting that our job is gone.[3] For some of us, there may also be relief, particularly if the job was difficult or stressful.

It is helpful to take time to process the experience of losing our job, by reflecting on what we have lost and our emotional reactions to this loss, even if we plan to dive into a job search pretty quickly. Processing the loss will help us understand what was important to us about the previous role so that we can plan and strategize for our next career move.

Taking time to reflect, through activities like journaling, and speaking with people we trust about what we’re going through, can help us understand the impact of this change on our well-being.

2. Build social support

Getting support from the people around us is key to responding to job loss. It’s important to keep socially engaged, instead of withdrawing and isolating ourselves.

  • Talk to trusted family and friends about your experiences and their impact on you
  • Join a support group, such as an unemployment support group or a peer support group
  • Engage with your professional network and organizations in your industry to share experiences and to build community

Getting support helps us feel less alone at a time when we might be predisposed to feeling isolated. Making connections can also give us insights into future opportunities.

It can be particularly important to lean on social connections if many of our daily interactions came from coworkers at our now-previous job. Social support has been connected to more effective coping following job loss and a higher likelihood of being re-employed sooner.[2,4]

3. View the situation as an opportunity

Job loss can bring an opportunity to find something new and exciting. Viewing our situation from an abundance mindset that emphasizes potential and opportunity can help us pursue and land roles that are ultimately more satisfying and rewarding.

Set a strategy for pursuing new opportunities, which may include:

  • Exploring new career trajectories
  • Learning new skills
  • Seeking career guidance

This doesn’t mean we ignore or deny our difficult feelings about the job loss. Instead, it means we focus on positive aspects of our new situation. Frederick Douglass said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress”.[5] Keeping a positive mindset that embraces possibility and growth will help us stay motivated through the process.

4. Create Structure

Replacing the structure and routine we lose when a job ends is important to maintaining our wellness and productivity. Build a new routine by making a schedule with regular wake-up and sleep times, work times, and relaxation/fun times.

Create goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based (SMART).[6] SMART goals help us to stay on track, evaluate our success, and adapt future goals based on our evaluations. Prioritize tasks by their importance and urgency. It can be easy to get distracted by tasks that might be easier to complete but aren’t as crucial or necessary, so be aware of the natural tendency to put off important but challenging tasks.

5. Taking Care of Ourselves

We need to set aside and protect time to take care of our minds and bodies.

  • Staying active with exercise, maintaining good sleep habits, and doing mindfulness practices will help us maintain our well-being
  • Seeking coaching or counselling that helps us navigate our internal world and identify our values can also be beneficial
  • Getting involved in a hobby we didn’t have time for when we were fully employed can fill our schedule and bring a little joy and fun!

All of these will help to maintain our well-being, allowing us to stay motivated during our job search and increase our chances of finding an awesome new role.

5. Review and Manage Finances

Re-evaluating our budget and making financial decisions that fit our new reality is essential following involuntary job loss.

Make a budget with a list of expenses and a plan for covering those expenses. Seek support from an advisor or professional, if needed. We may have to make a short-term shift toward saving money and settle for meeting our needs, not our wants.

Having an emergency fund can be helpful for times like this, and looking into unemployment benefits and other government measures is also important. Doing this will help us maintain financial stability, plan for our financial future, and reduce financial anxiety as we navigate this transition.[7]

Resilience and determination in the face of difficult circumstances is a hallmark of humanity that each of us carries within us. While involuntary job loss is often a difficult part of our life journey, we can take care of ourselves, rise to the challenge, and come out the other side wiser and stronger.

Next Step:

Guest Author:

Dr. John Jurica (rhymes with eureka) is a licensed psychologist and men’s mental health expert. John is the Founder & Director of Eureka Psychological Services, where he supports men in working through anxiety, relationship issues, and substance use concerns. He also has clinical product management experience in healthtech and has provided clinical product and content consulting for digital mental health companies.


1. Kiselica, M. S., Benton-Wright, S., & Englar-Carlson, M. (2016). Accentuating positive masculinity: A new foundation for the psychology of boys, men, and masculinity. https://doi.org/10.1037/14594-006

2. Solove, E., Fisher, G. G., & Kraiger, K. (2015). Coping with job loss and reemployment: A two-wave study. Journal of business and psychology, 30, 529-541. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-014-9380-7

3. Climent-Rodríguez, J. A., Navarro-Abal, Y., López-López, M. J., Gómez-Salgado, J., & García, M. E. A. (2019). Grieving for job loss and its relation to the employability of older jobseekers. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 366. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00366

4. Canavan, M., Gallo, W. T., & Marshall, G. L. (2021). The moderating effect of social support and social integration on the relationship between involuntary job loss and health. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 40(10), 1272-1279. https://doi.org/10.1177/07334648209210

5. BlackPast, B. (2007, January 25). (1857) Frederick Douglass, “If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress”. BlackPast.org. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/1857-frederick-douglass-if-there-no-struggle-there-no-progress/

6. Bailey, R. R. (2019). Goal setting and action planning for health behavior change. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 13(6), 615-618. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827617729

7. Laker, B. (2023, August 4). Job loss: Understanding the emotional impact and coping strategies in a recession. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/benjaminlaker/2023/08/03/job-loss-understanding-the-emotional-impact-and-coping-strategies-in-a-recession/?sh=79d9f60d4ac3