UI Employee Assistance Program

Campus Address
121-50 USB
Mailing Address

121 University Services Building, Suite 50
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
United States

Email or call to schedule an appointment
Stress is a normal reaction to the change, challenge, and uncertainty that comes with losing a job. While a certain amount of stress can motivate action, common stress reactions—especially those that immediately follow a layoff or furlough notice—can feel debilitating.

This section offers advice and resources for anyone dealing with layoff- or furlough-related stress. Following are some first steps you can take deal with bad news and start charting a path forward:

Give yourself time to adjust. Take time to absorb what's happened and manage initial emotional reactions. Be open to support from and discussion with colleagues at work. 

Tell your family and friends as soon as possible. Opening up will the most important people in your life a chance to lend support. Some may also become sources for job information.

Keep open communication with your significant others. Spouses, partners and children also feel the effects of job loss. Give them permission to talk about their reactions and concerns. Have a family meeting to discuss coping strategies. Explain the economic forces that led to the job loss and reassure children that the family will get through it together.

Think of potential job loss as a temporary setback. How we frame what happens to us has everything to do with how we cope and move forward. Look at job loss as a challenge, not a failure. Don’t compare yourself with others in similar situations—everyone deals with things differently. Think positively, for example "I can handle this if I take it one step at a time."

Use the university’s Career Development Advising Services.  Advisors can help you assess your goals, understand what prospective employers are looking for, and review available resources with you. They also can help you tailor your resume to the positions that you’re looking for and develop ways to present your skills and experience to your best advantage.                

Use every available community and networking resource.  Now is not the time to go it alone.  Reach out and use everything offered by the university and the community. A situation like this gives you permission to get help.

Share your feelings with trusted family and friends. Admit your feelings of anger, fear, frustration, and sadness to the people in your support system. Being open will help you regulate your actions and stay motivated. Keeping a written journal also can provide a release for your feelings. 

Deal with your fears directly.  Clarifying what you are most afraid of and working on a plan to address your fears can reduce anxiety. Identify incremental steps toward a goal so you can see progress.

Avoid negative people and ways of thinking. Spend time with people who are confident in you and  have worked through their own crises in positive ways. Talk to those who have constructive ideas and advice.

Take care of your health. Sleep, exercise, relaxation, and good nutrition are especially important during stressful times. Try to avoid using drugs and alcohol to deal with stress. Take scheduled breaks and allow time for activities you find fun and relaxing. Consider contacting liveWELL and setting up an appointment with a health coach who can help you identify small steps that you can build into your hectic schedule. 

Get professional help when needed. If you are feeling sad or “stuck” and things do not seem to be improving, or if you find your sleep consistently disturbed, make a connection with your Employee Assistance Program professional. Job uncertainty can also lead to relationship problems at home—we can help.

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