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Loving Yourself During a Lay off

Loving yourself during a layoff, woman looking upset at computer

As if the past three years weren’t enough with a whole (ongoing) pandemic, continued reminders of racial injustice and inequities, an insurrection, and the downfall of Twitter (to name a few – there’s sooooooo much more), 2023 is determined to add to the foolery with an impending recession. And with a recession comes the unfortunate reality of layoffs. 

The internet is full of resources and support for what you should do after a layoff (things like brushing up your resume, creating a job-search schedule, and networking). These are all useful, and I want to address how you can take care of you beyond the need to get a new job because we live in this wild capitalist world. Here are some ways to show yourself some love while navigating a layoff:

Don’t Take it Personally

Friend, this isn’t about you as an individual or your job performance. Layoffs are about numbers and risk reduction. Companies typically look at places they can trim expenses, and that means letting talented people go. It’s not a reflection of your work or your value to the team. And while it’s natural to feel expendable, try not to internalize that as a definition of your worth. You are intelligent, talented, valuable, and worthy of meaningful (well-paid) work. 

Name Your Feelings

Layoffs come with a myriad of feelings which can include anger, anxiety, uncertainty, sadness, grief, and/or dismay. Whatever emotions come up for you, know that you are entitled to your feels. There shouldn’t be an expectation to just “grin and bear it” when you’re simmering with angst inside. To get through these acceptable emotions, you need to process them. That could mean journaling, talking with a friend or therapist, hiking and screaming into the void (try it – it’s hella cleansing), or whatever processing means for you. But do take some time to process these feels, otherwise they can potentially cause other problems like physical illness.

Be Kind to Yourself

You spend the majority of your time with, well, yourself. So it’s a good idea to practice speaking kindly when you address yourself. While positive affirmations seem kinda’ cheesy, there’s tons of evidence that positive self-talk can help reduce stress hormones and increase positive outcomes. It also helps curb ruminating and negative spiraling. These can be short, concise statements to recenter yourself when you start to feel some type of way. Consider phrases like:

I am talented.

I am open to new experiences.

I am worthy of good work.

I am valuable.

I am smart.

I am capable of change.

Let Others Be Kind to You, Too

Let’s face it: you are a badass at what you do. Being laid off doesn’t change that. And while your badassery is still fresh in the minds of those you worked for, be sure to have them document it in a reference letter. Even better, ask if your (former) manager or supervisor would be willing to tap into their network for potential employment opportunities. Sometimes just reading the value that you brought to the team from the perspective of a former leader can do wonders for your self-esteem as you venture on to greater things.

Count Your Coin

Part of loving yourself is knowing where you stand financially, especially if you don’t have anyone else to lean on or if you’re taking care of others. So take an honest look at your finances and what you can (temporarily) cut out while you search for a new gig. Maybe you don’t need all of the streaming services (do we really watch all of them anyway?) and can reduce it to just one, or rotate and sign up when that show you want to binge has finally released all the episodes. Perhaps you can learn how to make your fav latte at home and scrap your daily trip to the coffee shop (or allow yourself to buy one only if you stay and apply for jobs for an hour). Consider pausing expensive memberships and look for free things to do instead. You know your coin better than anyone else, so see where you can save a little while you’re in between jobs. Once you get a solid idea of where you are, you can determine the length of time you can truly “make it” without a job (and probably have some extra motivation to get yourself back out there!).

Give Yourself Some Grace

Again, this isn’t your fault, friend. Layoffs happen to the best people, so please don’t let it tarnish how you feel about yourself. Consider taking some time to nurture and be easy with yourself. Maybe there’s a hobby you’ve abandoned that you can revisit or a movement practice you can start (walking, running, yoga, etc.). Or you can lean into your artistic side (I love a good paint-by-number!). Whatever you decide, may it serve your #1 – you.


If you’re looking to learn more about ways to love yourself unconditionally, set boundaries, and be in community with others who want the same thing, join us for the Breaking Barriers Program!