How to Deal with Layoff Anxiety: Effective Coping Strategies

Updated on May 21, 2024 • 6 min read
Key Takeaways: It's normal to feel anxious and stressed when facing the possibility of a layoff Living in this constant fear can be paralyzing, affecting
How to Deal with Layoff Anxiety: Effective Coping Strategies

Key Takeaways:

  • It’s normal to feel anxious and stressed when facing the possibility of a layoff
  • Living in this constant fear can be paralyzing, affecting everything from focus to sleep quality
  • However, there is a way to reclaim control over your circumstances

Feeling uneasy about the possibility of a layoff? You’re not alone. The mere mention of downsizing or restructuring can send a ripple of anxiety through even the most determined employees. 

In March, layoff announcements in the United States surged by 7%, reaching the highest level since January 2023. The tech and government sectors led the way in job eliminations.

Everyone from Nike, Cisco, American Airlines, Morgan Stanley, and Google is cost-cutting and eliminating thousands of jobs. 

stressed person after layoffs

Living in fear of a layoff can feel paralyzing and can seep into every aspect of your life, making it difficult to focus, sleep, or even enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

However, by proactively confronting your layoff anxiety, you reclaim a sense of control over your circumstances.

Instead of allowing fears to dictate your actions, you empower yourself to face the unknown. 

So, let’s explore practical strategies to help you tackle layoff anxiety head-on, empowering you to weather the storm with resilience and grace.

Acknowledge Your Feelings 

It’s natural to feel a knot of anxiety in your stomach at the mere thought of a potential layoff looming on the horizon.

For most of us, our job isn’t just a paycheck. It becomes a cornerstone of our livelihood and, in many cases, our sense of purpose and identity. In other words, it’s a big part of who you are and what you do every day.

Admitting that it’s okay to feel anxious about a possible layoff can actually help you start to feel a bit more steady.

Thousands of people nationwide are going through the same anxiety every day, so take a deep breath and cut yourself some slack. Let’s just focus on what you can control. 

Focus on What You Can Control

When it comes to dealing with this fear and anxiety, one of the most empowering strategies is to focus on what you can control.

For example, why not work on updating your skills? Take some time to expand on what you’re already good at and/or learn new skills. 

This could be a good opportunity for a career change if you were already thinking about it. 

As someone who has changed his career half a dozen times, I can tell you it’s always exciting. You feel like you’re alive again as you’re stepping out of your comfort zone after many years. 

Consider what else you might be good at or interested in besides your current job. It could be something totally different, like starting your own business or working in a different industry altogether.

It’s always good to also reach out to old work buddies or people you’ve met in your industry. Shoot them a message on LinkedIn or grab a coffee. You never know who might have a lead on a job or be able to offer some advice.

Create a Budget

In times of uncertainty, one of the best things you can do for your peace of mind is to take control of your finances.

Creating a budget might sound daunting, but it’s a crucial step in helping you feel more secure and prepared for whatever comes.

Start by reviewing your income, expenses, and savings. Get a clear picture of where you stand financially and look for areas where you can cut back if necessary. 

I personally use the 50/20/30 budget rule. I divide my income after taxes into three spending categories: 

  • 50% for necessities
  • 30% for desires
  • 20% for savings

Research and think about where you can get money if need be. This could include unemployment benefits, government assistance programs, or community resources.

Find out about unemployment benefits in your area. It’s not a handout. It’s there to help you when you need it most.

For example, in addition to that, although my parents don’t have a lot of money, I know that they could cover at least one or two of our mortgage payments if I asked them.

Ultimately, when you make a budget and manage your money better, it can ease some of the stress and worry about possibly losing your job.

It gives you a sense of control and lets you take action to keep your head above water, financially speaking. Plus, it’s a big relief to know you have a plan in place if things get tough.

Stay Informed

Ignorance might be bliss, but it won’t help you when it comes to potential layoffs. Stay informed about your company’s situation by paying attention to:

  • Official announcements
  • Company communications
  • Industry news

This will give you a clearer understanding of the current situation and what it means for your job security.

But be aware that rumors can spread like wildfire. By staying informed through reliable sources, you can separate fact from fiction and avoid getting caught up in unnecessary panic or speculation.

Most importantly, by staying informed about your company’s financial health, market trends, and industry developments, you can better anticipate potential challenges and proactively position yourself for success.

Staying informed

Explore Your Options

As I already mentioned, this is also an opportunity to explore different paths and possibilities. Reflect on your strengths, skills, and interests. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?

Take the time to research different industries, job roles, and career paths that match your skills and interests. 

Don’t limit yourself to the confines of your current job or industry. Take this time to think creatively and consider alternative opportunities. 

For years, I found myself working for others, but deep down, my true dream was to work for myself. The idea of being my own boss and making a difference in the world had always been at the forefront of my mind. 

While my corporate job provided stability and a steady paycheck, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was meant for something more.

So, when I heard rumors of potential layoffs, I saw an opportunity to finally pursue my dream of entrepreneurship. 

Now, I won’t lie, the road to entrepreneurship has been challenging at times, but it has also been incredibly rewarding.

Looking back, I’m grateful for the uncertainty that pushed me to pursue my dreams. It was a reminder that when one door closes, another one opens!

remote job interview in coffee shop

Stay Positive

It’s totally normal to feel worried, but keeping a positive attitude can help you handle things better. 

Surround yourself with positivity and supportive influences, and take a moment each day to think about what you’re thankful for. Better yet, write it down

While the prospect of a layoff can be daunting, it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world. 

Getting laid off doesn’t mean it’s all your fault or that you’re not good enough. Layoffs happen for all kinds of reasons, many of which are beyond your control.

Instead of getting caught up in the negative stuff, try to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. Keeping things in perspective can stop you from going down a negative spiral.

Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best

Alright, we’ve covered a lot here. Remember, you’re not alone in this. Layoff anxiety sucks, but it’s temporary. Stay strong, stay positive, and keep pushing forward. You got this!

Our new Calmer app can also be a great tool for handling layoff anxiety. With features like guided meditations and stress-relief exercises, it helps you manage stress, boost resilience, and maintain a positive mindset during uncertain times like facing potential layoffs.

Above all, it’s a convenient way to incorporate self-care into your daily routine and tackle anxiety head-on.


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