Feeling lonely can follow the loss of a job. It is very stressful and upsetting time.
You can feel isolated because no-one really understands. Often no-one really talks about “it” with you. It seems to be something you just "don't talk about”.
For some reason, people seem to find it uncomfortable to talk about job loss, which is a shame because sometimes it would be nice to have a heart-to-heart conversation with someone. Often the best conversations can only be had with a counsellor or psychologist.
Here will be explored what could cause your feeling lonely and how to overcome this feeling.
First and foremost, feeling lonely or feeling isolated, is just that, a feeling. It is not an unchanging fact. We know from our own experience that feelings change day to day, and even moment by moment.
The world is not against you
Notice and acknowledge your feelings. They are normal and there is nothing wrong with them. Most important is to understand the world is not against you.
We are all individuals, and we can feel lonely for many reasons, but there are possibly three main reasons for feeling lonely:
Changes in employment can reduces the number of social contacts you have.
When employed there can be interactions with many people including co-workers, clients, customers, supervisors, the canteen staff and more. Unemployment means that this social world goes away since it is less likely you will meet up with former colleagues associated from your old job.
But why not replace this social group?
Turn to your away-from-work social circle, or invent one.
It is always awkward meeting up with colleagues you once worked with. Why not find a new group? Volunteering can provide social contact, a fun time, and valuable expertise and experience you can use in your Resume for your next job application.
Volunteering can be as short or as long as you want. You don’t “clock on/off”, you can leave when you want, not like your old work, and most of all it can be much fun. You will be welcomed and generally not turned away when you enquire. Choosing a volunteer organisation that you relate to means your new colleagues will be reasonably like-minded to you.
The added bonus of a new social group is you do not have a shared history as you do with former work colleagues. It's a new beginning and as time goes on, your redundancy or loss of employment will become less significant to you as well as you plan your next career.
Once you set foot out in the world again, your withdrawal and feeling lonely will start to disappear.
Other possible social groups can also provide professional development you can use on a Resume
Toastmasters and Speakers Clubs
Lions Service Clubs
Remember to be determined. You need to seek out a Club that suits you and this can take persistence. It is said that it can take up to six visits to different area clubs to find one that you are happy with, so do not give up. Stay with it.
A second reason has to do with income. Without a regular source of income from employment, it can be more difficult to participate in activities with others, like going out to dinner, or to see a movie, since a lot of those activities require having money to spend.
So how to overcome reduced income impacting on social interactions?
Why not simplify the
interaction and possibly meet for a coffee or a beer other than a meal. Friends who know will understand and enjoy
the time with you. If a venue is expensive why not try something new, or even take a coffee to the park. Think laterally, but most important is to keep meeting.
After decreased social contact from work there can be withdrawal as you find that people don't really understand your situation, you can choose not to go out and interact.
Whilst there can be many impacting issues that cause loneliness after job loss, there are three main reasons: loss of social contact, exacerbated by loss of income which can lead to withdrawal.
So what can be done?
Regardless of where you are or how long you have felt lonely, the following is the action plan I undertook to overcome feeling lonely. It is quite simple, and most important, it is do-able!
Here is my Action Plan.
1. Realise that feeling lonely is just a feeling
2. Be kind to yourself
3. Go inside yourself and find something you can do – big or small
4. Now find somewhere to go where you can do
i. Clubs – Toastmasters, Speakers Groups, Investment clubs
ii. Volunteer groups like Lifeline in
Australia either as a counsellor or in
fundraising – I assist here in fundraising and it is the best!
iv. Classes like a tango dance class, learn the guitar
v. Social groups for craft activities, music appreciation and more
vi. Activity groups like a walking group
vii. If you have children why not a walking school bus group to school
viii. Learn - if you are a Senior consider the University of the Third Age (U3A)
U3A are all around the world and there are classes meeting near you.
5. Where you go will be best if you are with others
6. Enjoy being with these people – can be hard ... but is THE SECRET!
7. Are you still feeling lonely? If yes,
repeat from 1.
If you are a little less lonely, then it is time to celebrate and
plan your next step in your career.
This time of change can be a difficult time, but it is also a gift too.
How can this be?
Normally today’s work environment can be all consuming, at work, on the way to work, and at home too. There is just no time to think about YOU, and what you would “love to do” and how you might do it.
is your time! Enjoy this moment to reflect on what you really want to do now.
Best wishes to overcome your loneliness and be the new force in this changing world that you are meant to be.