written by Lori Thiessen

We are currently living in tough times. Everyone says so, even President Obama. According to a recent news report 69,000 jobs were lost in my province of British Columbia over the last few months. I’m sure there are similar terrifying reports where you live. Perhaps you have become one of the unemployed, or your business revenue is dropping at an alarming rate.

What can we do to cope with these tough times?  While I openly admit I’m not a counsellor, I do have a few suggestions.

1. Cry

Life sucks right now and I think it’s a good thing to just admit that. If you’ve lost your job, then I think it is important to grieve that loss and everything that goes with it. Once you’ve acknowledged the reality of your life then you can go about changing it. Be prepared that the change might be slow, but don’t let yourself get stuck at the grieving stage.

2. Get Emotional Support

Check your local community resources for free or low cost counselling services. If you live in a university town, see if there are any free, public counselling services provided. The University of British Columbia offers free counselling services as a way for their psychology graduate students to practice what they’ve learned.

Also, call friends and family. They love you and want to help you through your bad patches. But just be aware that you can wear these good folks out. They aren’t trained counselling professionals usually, and there comes a point when, as much as they want to, they just can’t help you anymore. Even if some of your friends and family are trained professional counsellors, there should be a clear boundary between your friendship and their professional activities.

3. Get Career Support

Check out the programs offered through your government’s unemployment agency. In the Vancouver area, there are career support programs like Transitions Career Explorations Program which will guide you through a planning process to either change your career path or help you to make your current career path more successful.

4. Keep Regular Hours

In my experience, if you start sleeping in and staying up all night your life really does go out of wack. I would highly recommend setting regular hours for yourself. Get up and go to bed everyday at the same time, including weekends. Get yourself properly dressed everyday. No jogging pants unless you are jogging!

5. Reflect

It sounds rather cliche, but a period (God willing, a short period) of unemployment can be a great time to take a moment to do a ‘life review’. Here are some questions to help you with your life review.

  • Is what you have been doing up to this point really what you want to do?
  • Have you been wanting to go back to school?
  • Are you really interested in another career path?
  • Are the goals that you have been working for still current?
  • What are the things that you really value now?

This is an activity you may want to do on your own or perhaps with a close friend who is going through something similar.  Having someone to work with on getting through this tough time can make it less tough.

And remember, tough times don’t last forever, it just seems like they will.

Q: What suggestions do you have for coping with tough times?

Thanks for dropping by and I’ll save your seat until next time!