"Don't make choices that will make you feel good at night without first considering if you'll still feel good in the morning" - Dan Allen, TradeMutt
What happens if you’ve found yourself in a nice stable job that has allowed you to feel safe and secure and then suddenly without much notice at all, things are suddenly all over? Job security is something that so many people crave but very few have the luxury of. Having a steady reliable source of income gives us the foundation upon which to build so many other parts of our lives and without it, it can be difficult to see any kind of positive future.
We get the fear – it’s natural. Absolutely everyone has been there before. It whole-heartedly sucks and quite often the first thing we do is go into survival mode.
Losing a job out of the blue causes a huge amount of stress, fear and anxiety, with the overarching feeling of “what the hell am I going to do now?”
So much of our identity stems from what profession we are in or what kind of worker we identify as. For example, you’re either a tradie, a programmer, a pilot or a digital strategist. The second that you don’t have a secure job, you can also find yourself falling into the trap of feeling like you’ve lost your identity.
The first thing to remember is that you are so much more than a tradie. People should not be distinguished by what they do for a living. Losing your job does not mean that you no longer serve a purpose or have a place in the world, it is simply an unforeseen shake-up, and as a resilient person, you will adapt and overcome.
You have the opportunity to choose the difficult path and exercise healthy coping mechanisms rather than unhealthy ones.
When a sudden life-changing event happens, as we process the situation, we are faced with a series of decisions or crossroads. At each one of these intersections, we can choose to go left or right. Whichever way we turn will then lead to a different set of decisions at the next crossroad. Ultimately, as we continue on the decision-making journey, we start to carve out a path that leads to two very different destinations.
Now here's the kicker – instead of thinking about turning left or right and not being sure of the destination, think of each intersection as the hard path and easy path, and understand that there are two outcomes - positive or negative.
This is a massive opportunity for you right now. The fear that you feel is warranted, the uncertainty is justified, but you now have the ability to prove to yourself that you can take a tough situation and use it for positive personal growth. We are not made of glass.
The way that you do this is by making a really conscious decision to choose healthy coping mechanisms.
Don’t fight the feeling – If you’ve just lost your job, that sucks. Understand that the disappointment and fear that you feel is absolutely ok and that you are well within your rights to feel like shit. It’s about how you immediately deal with the disappointment that defines you.
Talk about it – Reach out to your trusted support networks as soon as you can and vent about what’s going on. Make sure that you consider who you talk to and how because some people will be better than others to talk. For example, if you’re talking to your best mate, have at it. However, if you’re letting your kids know, you need to take a far lighter and considered approach.
Control the controllables – that means you. The only thing you can have complete control over is yourself. You have the power to choose the hard or the easy path. The easy path looks like reaching into the beer fridge and consuming a depressant until you forget everything. Please note that keyword – depressant. A hangover is hard enough to manage after an awesome party, let alone after a hard session trying to forget why you were sad in the first place. The hard path means saying no to the temporary relief, with the strength of knowing that you’ll be able to handle tomorrow with a clear head.
Curate your world – Now is the time to think about what you’re consuming mentally and how it makes you feel. If your head is being filled with negativity and scary news, you can choose to consume it or not.
Turn off the TV and listen to music instead.
Curate your social media feed so you stop seeing sensationalised clickbait media. This will be the best thing you can do.
If you have toxic or unsupportive relationships, get rid of them.
Fill your cup – This does not mean pouring another schooner. It means choosing the decisions that make you feel good at night, and you know you won’t regret in the morning. The following is a list of decisions that WILL still have you feeling good the next morning:
Getting outside and going for a walk/run/ride/swim.
Eating something that doesn’t make you feel like crap.
Talking to loved ones on the phone
Tea instead of red wine.
Put your phone away.
Read a book before bed - it's a great way to make the eyelids heavy.
Get horizontal at a reasonable time – sleep is good.
Leave your alarm set as per usual, jump out of bed and go and make breakfast.
Above all else, remember one thing: Life throws curve balls all the time, and we can’t control the pace or the swing of it. But we can still grip onto the bat and throw the kitchen sink at the bitch.