Job Loss & Finances: Learning to Cope through the Gulf Oil Spill
Family and Consumer Sciences/4H Agent
Due to many changes in society over the past few years, many people have begun experiencing more stress; especially in the areas of job and financial security. With the Gulf Oil Spill, emotions of stress and concern grew, but for many it provided them good paying jobs. Now that the leak has been plugged and much of the oil has been cleaned up, many employees are being laid off and/or terminated. This sudden and sometimes unexpected job loss can be very frightening and stressful. Many people experience some or all of the following stages: shock and denial, anger, resistance, sadness, and finally acceptance. Not everyone will experience these stages, but remember if you do, this is normal.
Beach clean-up workers like these are now being laid off. Photo Credits: Andrew Diller
Not surprisingly, many studies show that more people are likely to experience depression, anxiety, other mental health issues and even physical health problems after a job loss. Here are a few ways to care for yourself during the stress of job loss: eat right, aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, get daily exercise, get emotional support from your network of friends and family, find time for yourself to do something enjoyable, and try to maintain a positive attitude. Taking a proactive approach for your health and finances will help alleviate some stressors.
UF IFAS Extension agent Dorothy Lee teaches financial management workshop.
These proactive actions also include knowing your monthly expenses, setting aside extra funds for an emergency, and reducing your expenses to help lesson your financial stress. First, be certain to get your own feelings under control and share the problem with the family, so everyone can help with the solution. If you are uncertain if you qualify for unemployment benefits, apply anyway. You never know what you may qualify for. Next, be sure to take a financial inventory. You need to know what your family owns and how much your family’s net worth is. Everyone in the family needs to agree to put off buying anything that’s nonessential at the moment. Together make a list of the income you still have coming in and what must be paid out each month, so you know where your cuts will need to be.
The family will also have to learn to cope with the decreasing income. This can be a shock to some people at first. To help regain control of your finances, you can try these ideas: use your savings and credit, develop new sources of income, decrease your living expenses (cut out and cut down), and adjust debt payments. Think through each of these possibilities very carefully to see which ones you should use. Each of the above ideas can begin to help those suffering start to feel more positive and in more control of their financial situations. For more information contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent your local UF/IFAS Extension Office.
Source: Radunovich, Heidi Liss (2008). Coping With Stress During a Job Loss. Department of Family, Youth, and Community Services. UF/IFAS. Publication #FCS5265.