Coping with redundancy
Whether expected or sudden, redundancy can cause huge uncertainty, stress and anxiety, and can make existing mental health problems worse. On this page, you'll find some ways to look after your mental health during the redundancy process.
Know your rights
If you're made redundant, it’s important to know your rights. You can only be chosen for redundancy fairly — never based on your age, gender, disability or mental health status. If you’re legally classed as an employee and have worked there for 2 years, you have certain rights.
Check out ACAS’ information on redundancy.
Take stock of how you’re feeling
Losing a job is a huge adjustment and it’s normal to experience lots of emotions. You might feel shock, anger, resentment, and relief, all in a short period of time.
Give yourself space and time to think about and express these feelings. You might find it helpful to talk to other people about what you're experiencing. Being made redundant is nothing to be ashamed of. You're not to blame. Having some social support might help you to cope.
Being out of work can have a big impact on your self-esteem and sense of identity. If your job has always been a big part of your life, you may wonder who you are without it. Be kind to yourself during this time. You could use it as a chance to reflect on what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. Perhaps you could write a list of all the skills and qualities you have, and take a moment celebrate to them.
If you need help with your mental health during this time, take a look at our A-Z of mental health to help you get started.
Manage your money
If you're made redundant, your finances are probably one of the first practical things you’ll be thinking about. Money can be a huge source of stress and worry, especially during this time.
Money and mental health are often linked. When we’re struggling with our mental health, it can be hard to manage our finances. And if we’re worried about money, it can make our mental health worse.
Creating a budget can be a good first step if you’re not sure where to start – the Money Advice Service can help with this. Some people find it helpful to choose a regular time each week to look at bills and other spending. This can help to stop things piling up. Or, you could take out the amount of money you intend to spend each week, to help you stick to your budget.
Check out our other tips for staying on top of your finances on our money and mental health pages.
Coping with uncertainty
Redundancy can lead to lots of worries about the future. Life might feel really unpredictable right now.
If you’re struggling with feelings of uncertainty, try to focus on the things you can control. You may not be able to get your old job back, but you could spend some time polishing your CV and reaching out to recruitment agencies. If you're feeling too stressed or worried to think about a new job yet, that's OK too – take things at your own pace.
Keep busy, or take some time off
Adjusting to a change of routine after redundancy can be difficult. It’s likely you’ll be spending a lot more time at home than you usually would. You might wonder how to fill your time, especially if you aren't able to find another job yet.
If you’re someone who prefers to keep your brain stimulated and challenged, you could try listening to podcasts, watching films and doing puzzles. You could also consider volunteering or learning a new skill. Keeping yourself focused and setting yourself challenges can help to improve your self-esteem for when the right role comes up. FutureLearn and OpenLearn have free online courses you could try.
If you need some time out to relax and unwind, then use this time to prioritise self-care. You deserve it. Things like yoga, colouring and DIY can be a great way to switch off. You could also have a digital clear out. Delete any old files and apps you don't use, upgrade your software, or clear out your inboxes. Just try to make sure you aren’t keeping frantically busy as a way of avoiding your feelings.
It might feel hard to relax and switch off when you've been made redundant. You might feel guilty about enjoying your free time. Or, you might be too worried about your financial situation to be able to unwind. Try not to be too hard on yourself. You deserve to relax and switch off – even if you feel like you should be looking for jobs. And if your worries about finances are really affecting your mental health, know that there's support out there.
Citizens Advice has lots of information on financial support, benefits, budgeting, and help with the cost of living.
Useful resources on redundancy
Citizens Advice has information on redundancy rights, voluntary redundancy, and challenging your redundancy.
Gov.uk has an overview of the pay you should get after being made redundant, and a service to help you find a new job.
Money Helper has a tool to help you work out how much redundancy pay you should get, and how much you'll need to live on.