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Job Losses Carry High 'Stress Tag'
Date:2/12/2009

two elements: One is danger, and the other is challenge or opportunity.

"Don't look through the danger lens only," McKee suggested. "Look through the challenge lens as well and try to figure out what you're learning from this experience, even if it's just learning how to deal with stress better."

McKee and Lieberman noted that it's not only those who've lost their jobs who are feeling stressed these days. Families of those who are unemployed, and even those who still have their jobs, are also being affected.

"Survivor's guilt is rampant in the workplace, and workplaces are much more stressful. Plus, people are supposed to feel grateful that they still have a job, even though they're being asked to do more and more," said McKee.

More information

Here's information from the U.S. Labor Department on handling sudden unemployment.

Coping With Job Loss

Experts say there are a number of things you can do to ease the stress of unemployment:

  • Tell your family about the job loss, and reassure children that it will be OK. Don't try to keep the job loss a secret, advises Dr. Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatric Institute.
  • File for unemployment benefits right away, and find out about continuing your health benefits.
  • Take a few days of "me" time and pamper yourself to get into a better mindset.
  • Turn your work day into a day of looking for work.
  • Take some time for reflection, and use this opportunity to figure out what type of work might really make you happy, says Dr. Jeff Brantley, director of the mindfulness-based stress reduction program at Duke Integrative Medicine in North Carolina.
  • Don't
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