Coping after a layoff: Tips for nurturing your mental health

21 March 2023
Neha Jain Written by Neha Jain
Neha Jain

Neha Jain

Neha is a freelance writer passionate about providing well-researched and empathetic mental...

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Ankita Magdani Reviewed by Ankita Magdani
Ankita Magdani

Ankita Magdani

Ankita Magdani is a Mental Health Therapist, Career, and Mindset Coach based in Dubai. She...

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In November 2022, Neelima Agarwal joined Meta in Canada after leaving her job with Microsoft in Hyderabad. She went through a lengthy visa and joining procedure, only to be laid off within a few days.

Many people have shared their experiences of getting laid off since the tech layoffs began in 2022. 417 tech companies have laid off 1,19,034 employees so far in 2023, according to An India Today report determined that 30-40% of the people laid off by tech giants like Google and Amazon were Indians.

While job loss can affect financial stability, its psychological impact often goes unseen. Many studies have linked poor mental health with unemployment, including one conducted in 2022 (Junna, Moustgaard, and Martikainen). The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, a tool that measures the impact of life events on the stress levels of an individual, also rates job loss in the top 10 most stressful life events that can impact people’s health. 

With the rising number of tech layoffs, MyndStories talked to Pavni Chopra Gupta, a Psychologist and the Founder of Positive Minds Wellness Centre, about what people can do to manage their mental health during this challenging time. 

But first, let us understand how layoffs can impact our mental health. 

The impact of layoffs on mental health 

Losing a job can be a setback in both professional and personal life. According to Pavni, layoffs can cause low mood, self-doubt, feelings of worthlessness, and anxiety. These feelings can stem from financial instability and loss of a routine. The stigma associated with unemployment can also play a role.

Layoffs can also impact our self-worth and identity. Anne Wilson, a professor of Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University, in a report by the BBC, describes how we tend to make jobs a part of our identity. “For people who have a certain type of job and certain class, it (their job) often becomes how you identify yourself and how others identify you,” says Anne, “If you tie your self-worth to your career, the successes and failures you experience will directly affect your self-worth.”

Tips for caring for mental health after a layoff

There is no one way to care for your mental health after a layoff. However, Pavni suggests the following tips. 

Acknowledge your emotions: Identify your emotions. What are you feeling? Are you feeling sad, upset, or annoyed? Or are there any other emotions? Give them space. Try to understand why you are feeling that way. Let yourself know that it’s okay to feel that. 

Seek social support: Staying connected with your loved ones is incredibly important during this challenging phase. Do not hesitate to lean on them for emotional support. Let them know what you need. Some people may want advice, while some may want a space to be vulnerable. 

Rekindle your interests: With many worries, it is not easy to make a new routine, much less focus on rekindling your interests. However, it can be pretty valuable to do it. Utilize this time to try the things you have always wanted to do but never got the time before.

Stay active: A 2021 study also suggests that a healthy lifestyle can reduce the mental health impacts caused by job loss. Exercising can also reduce anxiety and symptoms of non-clinical depression. Therefore, do some form of physical activity daily. It can be anything – exercising, yoga, doors, or dancing. 

Remember your accomplishments. Another thing you can do is to look back on your accomplishments. Reflecting on your wins has improved mental well-being (Ryff, 2014).

Losing a job can often make you doubt your abilities and skills.

“However, it’s important to understand that layoffs result from poor managerial decisions of over-hiring people. And you should not question your skills and capabilities due to someone else’s poor choices. Believe in yourself and your abilities,” Pavni says. 

We hope the tips we shared in the article help. However, if you continue to struggle with your mental health, do not be afraid to seek professional help. 

Further reading 

Platforms providing free counseling in India

Union Government’s Tele MANAS – Toll free numbers to contact a counselor

Indian mental health apps for well-being


Liina Junna, Heta Moustgaard, Pekka Martikainen (2022). Current unemployment, unemployment history, and mental health: A fixed-effects model approach. 

Ryff C.D. (2O14). Psychological well-being revisited. 

Cillian P. McDowell, Matthew P. Herring, Jeni Lansing, Cassandra S. Brower, Jacob D. Meyer. Associations between employment changes and mental health.

Cornelia Herbert, Friedrich Meixner, Christine Wiebking, Verena Gilg (2020). Regular physical activity, short-term exercise, mental health, and well-being among university students: The results of an online and a laboratory study. 

Shaojuan Hu, Lorelei Tucker, Chongyun Wu, Luodan Yang (2020). Beneficial effects of exercise on depression and anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic: A narrative review. 

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