Navigating a Lay-off with Well-being: The Three “E’s”

Last week, I was unexpectedly laid off. My position had been eliminated. It was the first day back from a lovely week-long vacation and the last thing that I expected. After my initial disbelief, I went into stress-default mode and began what was a bit of an obsessive job search to see what the job landscape held in store. After a couple of bleary-eyed days on the computer, I knew that it was time to lean into my well-being expertise and immediately put it to use. Thankfully, I have some pretty good strategizing skills and put them to use as well. The result – the three well-being “E’s” to navigate a layoff: Embrace, Engage, and Endure.

Embrace: The first thing that I did was to accept my new reality without going into panic mode. I reminded myself that I wasn’t fired, there’s a big difference. My position was eliminated and had nothing to do with my performance. Next, I got stock of my financial situation. My partner was exceedingly supportive and reminded me that we are thankfully on stable financial ground. Sure, I would have to cut back on extracurricular spending and be more mindful of saving, but there was no need to stress about a situation that didn’t exist. We made a plan. What I did have to be very mindful of was some of the default catastrophic thinking this all triggered – the “what if’s” such as what if I can’t find a job in six months, what if I have to leave my field, etc…This is all a long way off, and I used the next strategy, “Engage” to combat this.

Engage: Within one day of my layoff news, I did the one thing that I knew would make me feel better – exercise! And I could do as much of it as I wanted since I now had the time. I am definitely a social sweater and love group fitness classes and activities. I am very lucky to have an amazing community-driven YMCA right in the new town we moved to last year. I got laid off on a Monday and Tuesday morning, after some early morning strength training, I dove right into a Zumba class at 9:00am and had a ball. I am making sure to take full advantage of all of the YMCA’s offerings. In the event I don’t find work right away, I also reached out to the wellness manager for potential opportunities to pick up work in the fitness center, and even do some personal training and teaching like I did in the old days. I’ll also offer to give well-being presentations! This way, I can keep one foot in the industry and make sure I have something to keep me anchored if my job search takes longer than anticipated.

Next, after a few days, I reached out to my best friends and family and let them know I was laid off. It was so great to have their support. Hearing their words of encouragement immediately gave me a boost and reminded me that I am not alone. As I mentioned above, I am grateful to have a remarkably supportive partner who believes in me 100%. I also reached out to new friends to make plans to get together and continued to do social activities like a weekend Zumbathon and my weekly improv class. It’s so important to leverage your social networks, especially during challenging times.

Lastly, aside from my daily job search (which I am learning how to manage less obsessively), I reached out to my former bosses to share the news and serve as references, connected with Gympass colleagues I wasn’t already connected with on LinkedIn, and now posting about my layoff publically on the platform. This leads me to the last of my layoff strategy, Endure.

Endure: So now that I’ve embraced my current situation and engaged socially, I need to lean on those resiliency skills I’ve been working on for years! Learn more about it in my blog post “8 Ways to Thrive with Resiliency.” I am using the word “endure” to remind myself to stay centered and strong during my job search – which may or may not take longer than I want it to. I want to build my endurance for the long haul, just like I would training for a marathon. What are some things I can do to endure? Keep up the physical activity, re-engage with my daily mindfulness practice, seek mental health support (I have a great therapist!), stay socially connected, and most of all, keep an eye on my mindset, and make sure that it’s set to “growth” mode. Lastly, I am taking stock of the projects and hobbies that were on the back burner due to work, and seeing what I can schedule into my day.

Please feel free to connect, especially if you’ve been laid off, and share your strategies with me!

3 thoughts on “Navigating a Lay-off with Well-being: The Three “E’s”

  1. I used to work with Adeline, and saw your post on the three “E’s”. I was unexpectedly laid off 2 weeks ago. I am having difficulty adjusting and redirecting. Silly little things present road blocks (like transferring phone accounts) and I find the rest of my day gets hosed. This week I tried a new approach. I am only assigning myself one task per day. I have a master list of “to-do(s)” but each day I am only picking one of the items. This way I don’t feel so overwhelmed by pitfalls or additional steps. So far, somewhat better.

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