7 Ways to Calm Unemployment Anxiety

7 Ways to Calm Unemployment Anxiety

I’m easily anxious and have to work hard at neutralizing my habit of worrying. Naturally after I was laid off, I noticed a spike in my anxiety and had to pay attention to when and how it manifests in my life, which is typically a lot of ruminating, clenching of muscles, and holding my breath. Here are 7 actions I take to combat the gnawing anxiety that lurks around the corner as I search for a new job.


  1. Do What You Can
    One of the best things I’ve done that relieves my anxiety is to apply to jobs. I know this is obvious but it serves more than just the pragmatic “income to live” need. The act of applying to jobs helps quiet the panicking voice in my mind. I couldn’t control the fact that I was laid off but I can control what I do about it and the most important thing is to find a new source of income. Every time I’m faced with an obstacle, taking productive action helps me feel better.
  2. Socialize
    Being isolated during a hard chapter for a prolonged amount of time can cause a downward spiral. My first instinct was to hole myself up and throw pity parties for myself, which admittedly I indulge in every now and again. However, seeing my friends and catching up on their lives and laughing have been especially beneficial to me during unemployment. Moreover, your social network can be of great service to you during this time! I’ve scored a couple of interviews because I reached out to people I know. My friends also keep me in mind when they come across job leads!

  3. Journal
    I’ve journaled since grade school but for a while I only did it weekly. Now I strive for three long-form pages a day first thing in the morning. If I can’t do it in the morning, I try to complete it before the day’s over. The concept of Morning Pages is to rid your noisy thoughts and worries on to the page to clear your mind and face the day. If you do it long enough, you may even have moments of creative inspiration as it’s hard to write about nothing for three pages every day.

  4. Develop New Skills
    Now is a great time to learn a new skill. I’ve been focusing more on photo editing. I used Photoshop very sparingly pre-layoff. Now I force myself to stop using easy phone apps and to open up Photoshop. I find myself getting into the zone and giggling to myself maniacally when I learn a new trick or hack. In fact, I might have done that when I edited out an entire human from the header photo of this post. You can also now list your new skills on your resume!


  5. Exercise
    When I’m running or working out my mind is quiet and I can be present and stop forecasting trouble. Also, delicious endorphins!


  6. Enjoy
    There are perks! I’ve taken more walks with my dog in the middle of the work day, had more lunch dates with Sugarface, and even went on a few trips (they were already mostly paid for or planned). If you had money set aside for a trip that you didn’t want to squander your PTO on, now is the time! It’s such a freeing experience to travel without worrying about what’s happening back at the office.

  7. Be Frugal
    After I’ve had my fun traveling, I started to buckle down on my budget. I reduced the amount of meals eaten out drastically and started cooking more. It was fun to make some of my favorite recipes for Sugarface. I also started to do small odd jobs, used up years worth of gift cards I’ve accumulated, and chose economical or free events to attend for fun.

Questions: What would you add? How do you calm your anxiety?

  • lisasyarns

    This is a really good list. I am also someone that struggles with anxiety, especially when I am going through something challenging. Staying active, getting out to see friends and family and talking about it are key for me. I really really hope that this phase of your life ends soon!!

  • Looks like a good list to me. I’ve never been laid off, but I did take a couple of months off between jobs once. I really loved the feeling of freedom that accompanied that time off. I don’t think I was quite as productive as you though. :)

    • You actually specifically reminded me a couple of times to enjoy. So thank you for that! I have a friend of mine who is in between job. Her time between contracts was two months and she took a trip to Iceland! I think it would be fantastic if I had a planned time out from work. Oh the traveling I’d do!

  • I, too, struggle with anxiety. I’ve never been laid off, but I imagine it would feel quite defeating and incredibly difficult. You are handling this time in your life with so much grace! For me, I know being vocal about what I’m going through helps. Allowing myself time to get used to this change. Crying when I need to cry. Being active and getting out also helps me to be less in my head and focused more on the present.

    • You are in the midst of a big life change as well! I can’t imagine your anxiety right now. Best of luck with controlling and mitigating it!

  • Great list. I struggle with anxiety and tend to bottle it up. It helps to have a place to vent/discuss. Or talking it out. Or crying. I do all those things. Haven’t been big on journaling, but that should really be a thing.

    • Oh man do my eyes pay for it the next day but a good cry can be so cleansing! It feels really indulgent like eating a whole box of chocolate and then the next day you’re hung over and ready to stop the indulging.

  • I’m in the same boat as of mid-August! Are you receiving unemployment? I almost lost my mind attempting to fill everything out online. I qualify but can’t apply for the jobs online that I’m supposed to. It’s so frustrating. I also haven’t been open about it to a lot of my friends. I’m embarrassed. :(

    • I’m so sorry to hear. I obviously empathize and sympathize. Unemployment benefits are tricky to navigate, so many rules! I’m sorry you feel embarrassed. I get that too. My friends have been really awesome though when I chose to share that. They also are great at making introductions for me and sending me leads. I bet your loved ones would be happy to be there for you if you choose to open up to them!

  • I can’t stop thinking “I am so proud of you”

    • <3 thank you love!

  • I recently got laid off and definitely agree with a lot of these! Unfortunately I’m in a new city, but I’m finding out now how important a social circle can be so I’m making more of an effort to find those people! I’m also using the time to check off a lot of my “new city” bucket list things to do and see.

    • My heart goes out to you. I hope we both find new positions soon and good luck with establishing a social circle!

  • I did a lot of these things, too, when I was unemployed and know how helpful they can be. Great post!

  • You are handling this with such grace. I am proud of you! You already know I struggle with anxiety, so all these points apply to me ten fold!

    • Thanks friend! It’s funny how I **feel** like I’m flailing and my friends are like, “oh, you’re handling this very well!”