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5 Self-Care Practices After Job Loss

A Guide for Black Professionals

Let's face it. Job loss is hard and it seems to be happening everywhere. There is no convenient time to lose a job, but these challenging economic times make it even harder. With pay gaps and everyday inequities at play, being a Black professional makes the mental and emotional toll of job loss even heavier. The following blog post is written with you in mind. Share it with a colleague or others in your network who may be facing the same struggle. Most importantly, stay encouraged. Here are five tips for practicing self-care, prioritizing wellness, and preserving your mental health while figuring out your next move.

1: Honor your feelings

Losing a job is a form of loss just like the loss of a friend, relationship, or person you love. The specifics may be different but losing a job can be just as painful as losing other things. With loss comes grief, and its wide range of heavy emotions. 

It is okay to be angry. It is okay to feel discarded. It is okay to cry. Allow yourself the space and grace to feel each and every wave of emotion as it comes. Just don’t get stuck in the sadness for too long. If that happens, don’t be ashamed to speak up and seek help. 

2: Rest your mind and body

While stressful and often unexpected, one of the few perks of losing one’s job is that it affords you an opportunity to slow down. When my job was eliminated in 2023, I didn’t realize until a few weeks into my unemployment season, just how much I needed to rest. So, I did. I took naps. I slept in. I rediscovered my love for books. Most of all, I moved at my own pace. The freedom to do so made me feel guilty, even though I knew that I deserved to take a breath. 

As Black Americans, our lives are framed around idea that idle time will cost us the ability to survive. If I’m sitting still, I’m not working; if I’m not working, I’m not making money; if I’m not making money, then my family and I cannot afford the food and things that we need to survive. Other communities don’t get it, but those of us who know, truly know how real that looming weight of worry is. 

I’m here to tell you that rest is not an indulgence like unhealthy foods or travel. Rest is a NEED. Just like food and water, we need it to survive. Black folks statistically don’t get enough rest as it is.  So, allow yourself to sit still and take the nap. There is no reason to feel guilty for taking advantage of the rare opportunity to make up for lost time.

3: Make a plan

Between taking time to rest and be kind to yourself, you will still need to prioritize your affairs strategically. Take time to assess your financial resources and needs now that your main income source has been cut off. Whether your termination was voluntary or involuntary, you will need to start budgeting as soon as possible in order to gauge how long you can make it with the money you have. If you’re fortunate enough to receive a severance package or vacation payout, be sure to factor those payment dates into the equation. Also check into your eligibility for unemployment. Hopefully, your state plays less games than mine.

Be sure to take stock of your needs vs. the luxuries that you enjoy but can temporarily live without. Cut unnecessary costs wherever and however you can.  Consider limiting streaming services, subscriptions, and eating out. Additionally, pause before pouring funds into new hobbies or buying expensive ingredients to recreate Tik-Tok inspired meals. This is the time to go back to the basics; reach back to those strategies that our moms, aunts, and grandmothers used to feed big families on a budget. Don't sleep on the basics, either. Pantry staples like flour, butter, sugar, vegetables, and meat can easily be remixed into many meals that go a long way. It’s not a long-term solution, but one that will allow you to get by until the income needed to fund your normal lifestyle is restored.

4: Stick to a Routine

On-the-spectrum, ADHD, and otherwise neurodivergent readers stand up! This one can be helpful for anyone, but it’s especially included for you.

Even though we all need to rest and rejuvenate, those of us living with neurodivergent conditions usually need some form of routine to keep our lives together. When my job was eliminated last year, I kept going through self-imposed cycles of guilt because I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t motivated to tackle the things on my mental to-do list; not even the things that I needed to do the most. This year’s job loss is different because I now have a confirmed ADHD diagnosis. That's another story for a seperate post, but it explains why I’m not likely to accomplish much if I approach each day with no direction. To work with my diagnosis instead of against it, in the words of my therapist, I utilize written lists that allow me to cross off my tasks for the day.  The visual confirmation of my accomplishments helps me to stay productive. I also try to stick to a “morning” routine that allows me to get out of bed, dressed, and out of my bedroom to start each day. Since I tend to be a night owl when the 9-5 routine isn’t anchoring my existence, my "morning" routine happens whenever I wake up.

You don’t have to copy what I do, but find and use the tools that you need to create the routine(s) that work for you. It may take some trial and error, but it will make a big difference. It doesn’t matter what task(s) you complete, especially on the hard days, as long as you make yourself proud by doing something. 

5: Lean on your village/network 

Where I’m from, Black folks are raised with a certain sense of pride that can often be exercised to our own detriment. We are conditioned to celebrate successes loudly, but stifle struggles with silence fueled by shame. Even when we need help, we hesitate to ask for it because we either feel obligated to prove that we can do it on our own or we don’t want to let anyone see us sweat. I’m sure the same can be said about other Black communities across America, but a friend of mine who hails from New Orleans recently pointed it out to me after seeing my social media post asking my network to assist in my job search. He called and essentially said, “Girl you need a job, you’re not asking for a kidney. Why would you not want to ask for help? Y’all Kentucky folks are something else [with that]!"

I laughed at the shade, but he had a valid point. Why do we build up networks of amazing people who love and support us, then shy away from leaning on them when we need their support the most? As professionals, we often hear about the importance of cultivating genuine relationships to aid our strides for professional development. Why not leverage those relationships in times like these? I encourage you to counteract the instinct to suffer alone by reaching out to your connections. Some of the best opportunities can present themselves through the people we know. Don’t let pride or fear of judgement prevent you from asking for what you need. Ask for job leads. Ask for help. You're worthy of the people around you and the support they offer to provide.  


There will be rejection. The job application process will feel draining some days. The job market will be competitive, and may even feel a little crazy. But guess what? What’s for you is FOR YOU and sooner or later, it will come. Take breaks between the applications. Pace yourself. Catch up with family and friends. Do budget-friendly things that you enjoy. Enjoy the rare freedom to live your life at your own pace. Keep going until the next opportunity finds you. Whatever you do, don’t give up! 

Sending you love and well wishes. #StayKultured.



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