We are in uncertain times — Writes Rosalyn Palmer, life coach.
In my previous PR and Marketing career, I was made redundant three times.
The first time as a young, loyal member of staff in a start-up business who had endured long hours and poor conditions, I felt incredibly let down. Angry and resentful too.
The second time I saw it coming. I was working for an advertising agency on Baker Street London, and in 1991 it was brutal in that world with whole departments being given cardboard boxes and asked to leave at short notice as the recession hit.
At the inevitable redundancy meeting, I asked if I could take clients with their blessing.
A week later with second-hand furniture in my spare bedroom, my PR agency was launched.
The third time was less pleasant. This was a slap in the face as I thought my position and personality meant that my challenging approach and innovation was valued. Seems not.
Yet this led to me working in charity marketing — one of the most satisfying experiences of my career.
What I now can see with absolute clarity is that when you feel you have some control over the situation and when you can take a ‘big picture’ view of what this massive change may lead to that you will come through the process quicker and more emotionally intact. Trigger emotions will be at the root of your reaction if facing any shock decision that is foisted upon you.
Perhaps your partner has said they plan to leave? Perhaps your child has expressed doubts about their life?
Whatever it is, it will trigger your primitive protection mechanism located in the Limbic Amygdala in the brain. This will tip you into fight, flight, or freeze to protect you from perceived danger.
For good measure, the brain likes what is familiar so the unfamiliarity or the ‘not knowing’ of what your future now holds will make this sense of danger and discomfort even more pronounced and thus intensify the reaction.
The main thing is to ensure that you grieve the loss of your job/status/rewards/perceived future just like you would a bereavement.
Do not supress your feelings. This is like creating a pressure cooker that leads to disease — both mentally and physically. Express them — go for a drive and scream inside the car (not in traffic) or use a healthy way of expressing them via journaling and getting your feelings on paper. You can calm yourself through breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, a walk-in nature, more vigorous exercise, a long bath, or whatever works for you.
Try this: breathe in (and in your mind say: Let) hold and breathe out slowly (in your mind saying: Go). This releases tension and lets the body de-stress. Breathe normally for a few moments and then repeat. Do this for five or ten minutes and feel the difference. Ways to deal with your shock and anger allow you to take your control back.
In an uncertain world that is the best defence you can possibly give yourself.