6 Ways To Help Your Spouse Struggling With Job Loss

6 Ways To Help Your Spouse Struggling With Job Loss
Heartbreak

The emotional shock and sudden change that job loss imposes on someone’s life can be devastating and immensely stressful. It can trigger depressive thoughts, creating an array of negative feelings.

The loss is more than the job itself. It's also their identity, security, daily routine, and other important relationships. All are connected, and all must be grieved.

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Spouses play a vital role in support as an intimate partner, and can help lessen the struggle and reduce stress in this situation.

So, how can you play a positive role in your partner's life when they're reeling from losing their job?

Here's how to help support your spouse when they're struggling to overcome job loss.

1. Ask how they feel since losing their job.

You know them well, but their feelings about this loss may not be obvious. Ask them.

Whether they are numb or angry, heartbroken or confused, embarrassed or scared, validate their feelings by telling them it’s OK and normal to feel the way they do. Acknowledge each of the losses associated with the job and offer words of condolence.

Be empathetic and tell them you are sorry this has happened.

2. Be patient; they're struggling.

Don’t rush the process. Grieving isn’t linear, and it isn’t an event. There is no set end time.

Be patient as you listen and allow them to talk it through. This will help them cope and process the situation, and eventually diminish their emotional attachment to the loss and facilitate their moving forward faster.

3. Don’t make their job loss about you.

In other words, keep the focus on them and don’t take it personally if they can’t respond to your kindness with the gratitude you deserve. It’s a good time to practice being present, compassionate, and serving others.

At the same time, don’t play the blame game looking for someone or something to resent. Blaming the employer, co-workers, or the economy will only have you find yourself angry and unavailable to truly help your spouse.

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4. Become their cheerleader.

Be in their corner and "rah, rah, rah!" Remind them of their past wins and what it was about them that made them successful. Point out their strengths and how they have overcome adversity.

In a time of job loss, self-esteem is typically low and they may feel they have nothing meaningful to contribute without their job. Tell them otherwise.

5. Encourage a new routine during job loss.

There’s nothing like doing the same routine to highlight what’s missing, so change it up.

Sleep an hour later or get up an hour earlier. Fitness was in the evening before? Make it in the morning. In fact, encourage your spouse to re-focus on health during this transitional period and to redefine what makes them happy.

It’s a great time to try something on the bucket list, volunteer in an area they are passionate about, and take an online class to grow their skills.

Creating a new structure and schedule will help them stay mindful of time and give them a sense of control.

6. Ask what they need you to do now.

Now that you have shown them empathy, patience, compassion, and encouragement, ask them how you can help them prepare for what’s next.

Perhaps there are resources to tap into from the job they are leaving, or the resume needs updating, or the LinkedIn profile needs to be rejuvenated.

There might even be new side opportunities to help them transition into while they're looking for long-term work.

Discuss budgeting and finances, contacts and networking opportunities, and how you may be able to help make the transition easier in a practical way.

Job loss is like any loss — an emotionally devastating experience. The loss must be grieved before positive forward motion can take place.

The sincere support and encouragement of a spouse during the upheaval is crucial to set up a successful comeback. If life is a game, a rebound can be a complete game-changer. Cheer it on!

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Ann Papayoti, CPC, is a life coach and personal development professional helping people help themselves through losses and transitions as a relationship expert. For more information on how she can help you, visit her website.