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How to Handle Grief After Quitting Your Job

Conversations about grief tend to revolve around the death of a loved one. This is understandable but only addresses a smart part of how grief can manifest. We can mourn after a relocation, divorce, or seeing our child leave for college. Any major life change is enough to lead to bereavement. The causes can also be more abstract, e.g. losing one’s innocence or perceived youth.

But what if you’re the one who initiates the big change? Surely, most people don’t mouth when they voluntarily leave a job, right? On the contrary, job loss of any kind can leave a large hole in your life. Let’s take a closer look.

Why Does Quitting Your Job Sometimes Cause Grief?

For starters, quitting your job automatically increases uncertainty in your life. Rhythms and routines you may have taken for granted are suddenly gone — and it feels scary. A big part of that fear could be money-related. Just because you opted to quit doesn’t mean you’ll be immune to worrying about finances.

But the stress goes well beyond income. In a profit-driven culture, it’s not unusual for your job to become a source of your identity. After all, when someone asks what you “do,” they almost always are inquiring about how you earn a “living.” On top of that, the workplace is frequently where you have many of your social interactions.

Quitting your job can result in you wondering who you are and why you feel so alone. Such losses — despite being voluntary — are like any other losses. They need some time to be processed and digested.

Red Flags to Watch For

If you’ve recently quit your job, it makes a whole lot of sense to monitor your emotions and behaviors. Keep a sharp eye out for any of these patterns:

  • Feeling unable to navigate the loss of structure and identity
  • Being unmotivated to move forward with the plans that led you to quit
  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
  • Feeling guilty and ashamed about being unemployed
  • Self-isolation and social withdrawal
  • Not taking of yourself (hygiene, exercise, diet, etc.)
  • Losing interest in activities that you once enjoyed
  • Having thoughts of self-harm

man with head in hands looking downAny of the above is enough for you to speak with a professional. At the same time, self-help steps should be implemented to help shift the momentum.

How to Handle Grief After Quitting Your Job

Do Not Suppress Your Emotions

You may feel weird that a change you initiated has thrown a monkey wrench into your life. If so, it’s best to feel what you need to feel. Suppressed grief will resurface in other, more detrimental ways. So, allow yourself to mourn.

Reinvent Your Life

This can be an amazing opportunity to new things. Get creative and try the road not taken. You’re an evolving human and it makes sense that you’d want to have some new experiences.

Volunteer

Nothing raises our spirits more than helping others. Follow your heart and get involved with your community in ways that light you up and increase gratitude. You just may find a whole new career in the process!

Practice Self-Care

Create a daily, non-negotiable regimen. Safeguard your sleep patterns, make healthy eating choices, and engage in daily exercise. Connect with twisted friends and loved ones. Cultivate relaxation techniques.

You Don’t Have to Have All the Answers

Plenty of folks in your position find solace in joining a support group — in-person or online. A more personalized approach is to connect with a therapist who can offer a judgment-free zone in which you can openly discuss what you’re feeling. We’d love to help. Reach out to learn more about grief counseling or life transitions.

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