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Last month I read many articles advising you what to do if you get laid off and how to stay motivated when you face set-backs. There are emotional and practical methods to get yourself back on your feet. It’s incredibly difficult to get through those “to-do lists” when you feel like knocking people’s hats off or lounging in front of the TV all day. But it’s do-able and frankly, when it really comes down to it, you simply have to do something to pay the bills. Currently I’m applying to both regular jobs at Kroger, etc. as well as jobs related to my field.

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Motivation post-it notes on my closet door.

Accepting the fact that I may have to work behind a cash register for a while after having such an exciting newspaper job was the hardest thing I had to do. An old friend of mine helped me getting there: “There’s your job and there’s your career, and sometimes you need a job while you work on your career.” It’s become a mantra in my daily life as I fill out applications, rewrite cover letter after cover letter, and read my resume at least five times in a row.

From what I gathered in the articles, here’s a list of things that help you get through the sudden change emotionally.

  • Mourn the loss, then move on.
  • Rediscover your interest: They advise that you write a list of 25 accomplishments to get an overview of what you’re good at and what you enjoy.
  • Have things to look forward to… 1 year from now, 5, 10, 15… 40.
  • Don’t let fear or anger be your life coach (or make any rash decisions).
  • Get someone to keep you focused.
  • Resist temptation to hide out at home.
  • Avoid “self-medicating” yourself.
  • Make an effort to spend time with friends and family.
  • Dive into a good book.
  • Meditate.
  • Exercise.
  • Keep your sense of humor.

As for the practical steps to take after getting laid off, one article said it’s vital to negotiate severance pay and check logistics, such as how long the health insurance coverage will last. Talk with your (former) employer if you may use them as a reference and/or if they can write a letter of recommendation. Get help finding a job and file for unemployment. (For more tips and details in the article, click here.) Since I live in Michigan, I’ve signed up for Pure Michigan Talent Connect, but I think if you file for unemployment in whatever state you live in, they will point you to a site where you can search for jobs.

Another good thing to do – especially if you work in the media industry – is to update your online status: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, an online portfolio if you have one.

I personally have discovered it helps to accomplish something every day. It can be something as simple as doing laundry and making yourself a good meal to start with. As time goes on, you can set bigger goals for yourself: It’s healthy to stay busy somehow until you got a job again. For example, I’ve dedicated more time and energy to my writing, and I have done some indoor gardening. Today I bought some canvas so I can paint more and sometime in the week, I plan on taking a walk in the woods to snap some winter photos.

If there’s a lesson in losing a job, I would say as much as it sucks to have no control over it, you have power to make the situation better. Maybe you can find a cooler job somewhere else. Maybe it allows you to spend some time on things you haven’t been able to do for a while. Maybe it gives you a chance to reflect on what you want out of life.

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