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Keeping your sanity in tough times


How do you stay sane in the face of job loss and the effort it takes to locate new work? It’s tough—your mind may be reeling with anxiety and fear from the stress of what feels like an unfortunate and unending situation. Here are some tips to help you calm down long enough to focus and do the hard work of finding a job.

Take care of your finances
How can you think straight if you don’t know how you’re going to pay the rent? Start by looking at what you need and what you have. How long can you go without employment? If time is short come up with a strategy that will keep you solvent. Can you get a part time “bread” job? Can you renegotiate the terms of loans and credit cards? What expenses can you cut?

Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford offers free money coaching to help anyone create a financial strategy on Wednesdays from 9-4. Call 860-236-1927 to set up an appointment.

Stay healthy
Nothing is more important in this world than your health. Eat food that keeps your mind and body feeling well. Sleep enough to feel rested and refreshed upon awakening. You need strength to fight stress and conduct a job search. Even if money is tight, see your healthcare providers when you need them.

If you can’t afford your doctors’ fees and they won’t negotiate a payment schedule (many will), contact Community Health Services at 860) 249-9625 or go to the emergency room of a local hospital.

Seek Job Search Training and Support
You wouldn’t drive a car or fly a plane without training unless you were prepared to crash and burn. So why look for jobs when your skills aren’t sharp and you aren’t receiving encouragement and support? In this instance, crashing and burning won’t kill you, but it will drain your energy, hurt your confidence, and waste your time. Some job and career development coaches--including this one--offer rates based on income. Also:

Lucy Robbins Welles Library in Newington is offering free job search assistance. Call 860-665-8700.

Exercise is a natural antidepressant, relaxant, and stress-buster. Do what feels good to you.

West Hartford Yoga is offering 10 classes for $10 to new students. Call 860.953.YOGA

The Farmington Valley YMCA has a “membership for all” program where fees are based on income. Call 860-653-5524.

Have fun
Having fun is a fabulous stress-reducer. Shove the job search aside for a while and take time to enjoy life. The summer offers so many low cost activities. There’s nothing like a hike in the woods or a day at the beach to get your head straight.

Check out the free Wednesday evening concerts (6:30-8:00 p.m.) at Hartford’s Elizabeth Park and while you’re there, visit the ducks and geese.  Pack a picnic or first have dinner at the Pond House Cafe.

Seek Professional Help When Needed
Stress and loss can overwhelm anyone and lead to depression and anxiety. If you think you would benefit from professional help, take that step. You deserve to feel well and your job search will go much more smoothly if you do. Here are some resources:

Naomi S. Lufkin, MA, NCC, LPC offer counseling and support to people in transition. Call her at 860-561-4021. See

The Institute of Living in Hartford has an outpatient clinic and offers referrals to mental health professionals. Contact Susan D’Ambrosio, Psy.D. at 860-545-7104 or 545-7330 for information.

Volunteers in Psychotherapy, Inc. provides assistance with mental health issues in exchange for volunteer work. Contact Richard Shulman, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist at 860-233-5115.

I welcome any other ideas and suggestions for staying sane in a difficult time.


  • Patrice 5 years ago

    Very helpful article. I like the way you give local suggestions and phone numbers. And, I took a walk at Elizabeth Park the other day and it was so beautiful, it made me forget the stress associated with looking for a job (at least for a little while).

  • Sue 5 years ago

    Good article with concrete ideas and resources!!

  • Miriam hyman 5 years ago

    I appreciate these comments!