I was reading in the paper today that the stress of job loss and financial turmoil is taking its toll on people. More and more individuals are seeking support from agencies or private therapists to help them cope during these difficult and challenges times. As bad as this is for younger adults, it is equally as difficult for the baby boomers who will be retiring soon. What if you lose your job before then? What if your company is down-sizing because of the economy and your specific job causes you to be laid off? What do you do?
Recognize that you are experiencing the loss of a way of life and the security it provided. You may feel numb and be in disbelief, but it is important to feel your feelings, as with any loss, because it is all part of the healing process. Feelings of frustration and helplessness are common, since the situation was not initiated by you.
Here are some things you can do to cope better and make the transition easier:
1. Realize that to return to the quality of life you had before, you have to make changes. This means you must focus on the future and make a personal business plan you can follow.
2. Identify your skills, interests and abilities. Perhaps this will enable you to find a new career or direction that will be even more fulfilling than the one you had before. Look into distance learning programs to hone your skills or to learn some new ones. Don’t let procrastination sabotage your incentive to find or create new work.
3. Develop your support system or networking system, letting everyone know that you are looking for a job.
4. Talk things over with someone you trust. This helps you realize the reality of the situation, and offers input into things you can do or things you are good at. Join a support group to help you manage your feelings so they don’t control you. Understand what you are going through so you can move through the grieving process easier.
Coping with job loss is devastating at any age, but even more so when you are older. It is especially compounded when you are close to retirement, since it is a forced departure. You have a choice, however. As with any loss, you can stay fixated at the same point or choose to move on.
Learn to take ultra care of yourself during this time and you’ll be renewed with hope and energy. What seems to be a terrible setback, financially and emotionally, can actually be a catalyst for a hopeful new future and an exciting, new beginning.
Amy Sherman, LMHC, is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice. She is the author of "Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer's Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life" and "The Joy of Optimism" 10 Lesson eCourse.
Go to http://www.bummedoutboomer.com to sign up for her inspirational weekly eZine and receive a Special Report on Overcoming Adversity.