How to Cope with Being Laid Off

Published on: 28 Jun 2023
Clinically Reviewed by Elizabeth Keohan, LCSW-C
How to Cope With Being Laid Off_

Getting laid off can be a devastating experience, but it doesn’t have to define you. It’s essential to recognize that being dismissed from your work is not an indicator of your character. Job cuts can cause workers emotional and physical reactions, including anxiety, fear, feelings of worthlessness, headaches, sleep disturbance, and changes in weight. 

Knowing how to deal with being laid off means acknowledging and accepting any anger, sadness, or fear that may arise — then moving on and focusing on what comes next. These feelings can be hard to manage, but turning to friends, family or online therapy can help you get through this difficult time.

Understand that it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions after being laid off. It’s never easy, but with the right attitude and a healthy mindset, it can be an opportunity for growth. Don’t let the dismissal get you down — let’s explore some tips on managing your feelings during this time. 

Top 8 tips for how to deal with emotions after a layoff

  1. Acknowledge your feelings
  2. Try not to take it personally
  3. Be kind to yourself
  4. Talk to a therapist
  5. Avoid unhealthy coping skills
  6. Adopt a new outlook
  7. Don’t burn yourself out looking for a new job
  8. Be open to new experiences

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

A big part of knowing how to handle being laid off is learning to acknowledge and process your feelings rather than trying to ignore or push them away. Doing so will help you move forward in a healthy manner.

The first step is accepting that it’s okay to feel sad, angry, scared, frustrated, or any other emotion that comes up for you. You may even feel multiple emotions at once — rest assured, this is normal.  

It might be helpful to talk about your feelings with someone who understands what you’re going through. This could be a friend or family member, therapist, support group leader, or another professional. Talking about your experiences can offer insight into why certain emotions come up.

2. Try Not to Take It Personally

It can be tempting to take the news personally when you’ve been laid off, which can contribute to layoff anxiety. You may feel like you failed or that your employer doesn’t value your contributions, which may cause anxiety about going back to work. It’s important to remember, though, that a layoff doesn’t necessarily reflect who you are as an employee or even a person. Layoffs are often due to a number of reasons that have nothing to do with affected employees or their performance.

“Allow yourself some time to absorb what has happened and to deal with the initial emotional reactions you and significant others might have. It’s not a matter of personal failure to lose one’s job due to cutbacks.”

Talkspace Therapist Famous Erwin, LMHC, LPC

3. Be Kind to Yourself

It’s easy to be hard on yourself when laid off, but it won’t help. Criticizing yourself can exacerbate feelings of hopelessness, making it even more difficult to manage the situation. Instead, focus on being kind to yourself during this difficult time. Take this time you have to practice self care, especially if you felt overwhelmed at work before the layoff. 

  • Partake in activities that spark joy: When you can, try to take a break from work-related activities like job searching or networking. Make an effort to engage in activities that bring you joy, like going for a walk outdoors, playing music, or flipping through a novel. Giving yourself an escape from stressors is crucial for you to recuperate and reorient.
  • Reinforce positive thinking: Be mindful of how you talk about yourself, too — don’t let negative thoughts take over. When unhealthy or unhelpful thoughts arise, try returning with positive affirmations such as “I am capable of finding another job” or “I will get through this tough period.” You may find it helpful to write these mantras down and keep them somewhere visible so you can refer back to them as needed.

4. Talk to a Therapist

Coping with the sudden loss of a job can be overwhelming. Though it may be understandable if you’re experiencing negative emotions in response to a job loss, dwelling on these feelings for too long without seeking professional assistance is not beneficial.

Consulting a mental health professional can be helpful if you want to express and understand your feelings so you can develop effective ways to manage emotions and make progress.

5. Avoid Unhealthy Coping Skills

Knowing how to cope with being laid off can be difficult, and finding healthy ways to manage your emotions is important. Unhealthy coping skills such as excessive drinking or drug use might provide temporary relief, but they’ll ultimately make the situation worse. 

Tips for avoiding unhealthy coping strategies after a job loss:

  • Find your triggers: Identifying your triggers can help you manage them. If you know that certain people, places, or activities tend to lead you toward unhealthy behaviors, avoid or limit your exposure to them.
  • Look for alternatives: When faced with an urge for unhealthy behavior, take a few moments to think of alternative options that can provide similar benefits without negative consequences. For example, instead of having a drink when stressed out, try going for a walk or talking with someone you trust.
  • Get support: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who understand what you’re going through and won’t encourage bad habits. Having somebody there who listens without judgment can be incredibly helpful during this time of transition. Consider seeking professional help from a therapist who can offer advice on dealing with stress in healthy ways as you look for new employment opportunities.

“Spend time with people who are confident in you and your future and have positively worked through their crises. Share thoughts and feelings in a support group.”

Talkspace Therapist  Famous Erwin, LMHC, LPC

6. Adopt a New Outlook

Feeling disheartened is a normal reaction to being let go from a job, but instead of letting your circumstances define you, try adopting a new outlook on life. This helps you stay positive and motivated while searching for new employment opportunities.

Reflecting objectively on what happened in your last job might help you learn from the experience. It can be tough to assess a situation that caused such an emotional toll, but looking back and recognizing why things unfolded as they did can lend insight into how to best move forward.

7. Don’t Burn Yourself Out Looking for a New Job

Of course, you want to find a new job as soon as possible — especially if you’re feeling stressed about lost income. However, you mustn’t burn yourself out in the job search process. As important as securing a new job is, don’t forget to take care of yourself and be mindful of how much time you devote to your search.

As a job seeker, it can be tempting to spend hours scrolling through job postings or networking with contacts or prospective employers to land an interview. While finding the next role is important, try not to become overwhelmed by the task. 

On your new job search, set reasonable daily goals and don’t forget to take breaks throughout the day — even if they’re short ones.  

8. Be Open to New Experiences

Being open to new experiences can help you figure out how to cope with layoff anxiety and depression as you work to find new opportunities and move forward on your career path. This may be difficult, especially if you feel you were wrongfully terminated or weren’t given enough notice about your job ending. Dwelling on these negative thoughts won’t do any good, though — instead, try to focus on things you can change and look forward to a healthy work-life balance on the horizon.

Get Support Through Talkspace

Talkspace is an online therapy platform that supports anyone dealing with stressors in life, including job loss and layoffs. If you need help learning how to deal with being laid off, Talkspace offers a safe, secure environment for you to discuss your feelings and concerns without fear of judgment or stigma. Talkspace allows users to work with professional therapists who are experienced in managing the psychological repercussions of job loss.

The Talkspace platform includes tools such as video chat, messaging, text-based communication, and audio recordings to allow you to communicate however you feel most comfortable. You can even access personalized therapy from mental health professionals so you can learn how to deal with layoffs, coping strategies for your mental health, and more.


  1. Coping with the emotional impact of a layoff. Stanford | Faculty Staff Help Center. Accessed March 24, 2023. 

Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

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