You are not alone. And it is essential that you don’t attempt to go it alone at this time, even though you may be tempted to do so.

Allowing yourself to call upon the support of others may be difficult for you initially. Mainly if you have always seen yourself as “a pillar of strength,”; but by allowing others to give you encouragement and support, you may well reduce the length and intensity of your adjustment period considerably.

Benefits of Developing Your Support Network

Members of your support network can potentially:

  • Provide encouragement
  • Offer suggestions
  • Give feedback
  • Share relevant personal experiences
  • Offer resources such as a book, the use of a computer, etc.
  • Assist/expertise
  • Direct you to resources/services you were not aware of
  • Listen.
  • Provide distraction and laughter.
  • Teach you new skills.

So, who is your support network? Well, that depends on you. For some, it may be your family and friends; For others, it may be a group of strangers you meet at an outplacement agency who get together regularly to encourage each other. It may be a minister, or it may be the waiter/waitress at your local coffee shop who lends an ear and offers suggestions.

Ideally, your support network consists of more than just one or two people, so that you are less likely to “bum them out”.

Do you depend on just one or two people for support? If so, consider ways to expand your support network.

Activity: Identify Your Support Network

In column A: list of people who support you now and those who might be.
Willing to help.

Personal SupportsCommunity and Public Supports

Each community has some supports that are available to the public at little or no cost. Many cities have created directories of these support services to increase the public’s awareness of them and to make the services more accessible.

Of course, research the Internet.

Note: Living in a small town, you may find that the services you require are available in the nearest city.

While it is essential to seek support from others, it is equally, if not more important, to be a support to yourself. Feelings of guilt, failure, and inadequacy can lead you to be extra hard on yourself, which is counterproductive. While it’s quite natural for you to question, “why me?” And search for things you may have done wrong that could have contributed to being laid off, this type of behaviour is useful only to a point. If you find yourself doing this, take the time to assess your past actions, learn from any mistakes you’ve made, and move forward. It is a critical juncture to avoid the tendency to “beat yourself up.”.

Be kind to yourself. Permit yourself to have bad days, and allow yourself some recovery time. Be understanding of your moods and attend to your needs.

Label your self-defeating behaviors and resolve to replace them with positive, self-affirming patterns.

Consider ways to make yourself feel better. Different strategies work for different people. Some options may include:.

  • Write a list of the accomplishments you’ve made in the past five years.
  • Re-read your positive performance appraisals from work.
  • Take some time to look back over awards, certificates, letters of recognition, etc. you’ve received in the past.
  • Make a list of things you like about yourself.
  • Make a list of helpful things other people say about you.
  • Flip through photographs of good times.
  • Visualize beautiful things happening for you.
  • Engage in an activity you enjoy.

On the following page make a list of activities you can do to make yourself feel better during this period.

Supporting Yourself

Activity: Support Yourself

List a minimum of 10 activities that you enjoy doing on your own.

List a minimum of 10 activities that you enjoy doing with others. Be specific about who you like to do each activity with.

Schedule at least one activity from each list above, to do once a month, (once a week would even be better – you deserve it!).

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