Enlivening ourselves2/22/09

Dear Dr. Norquist:
I don’t know if there is anything you can say that will help, but I figure I don’t have anything to lose by asking. I have recently been laid off from my job – after seven years of hard work and long hours. I expected it was coming, so I’m not surprised. What I could use some advice regarding is how to keep from getting sick. I know stress can make you sick and I’m already having a little trouble sleeping. Now I’m starting to have days without very much energy, which makes it a struggle to even look for work. I’m really afraid that if I do get an interview, I’ll be so run down that nobody will want to hire me. What do you think I should do?

Dr. Norquist responds:
Self-care is of utmost importance for you during this period of your life. Maintaining and enjoying supportive relationships with others is essential for managing your stress, calming your nervous system, and maintaining your health – emotionally as well as physically.
Plan time for exercise, eat nutritiously and practice stress management through meditation, yoga and other stress relieving techniques. Managing your finances consciously will also help you to manage your stress.
The effect that adverse life events have upon us is directly related to how we perceive and respond to them. Taking a negative attitude will bring you down and make it that much harder to procure a new job for yourself.
Try considering the good that can come from this situation. Can you brush the dust off past, or current, dreams and start to bring them to fruition? Would this be a good time to return to school to learn a new skill? Be creative. Consider a new angle. What opportunities exist in the current situation that you could take advantage of?
Be systematic, building structure into your day. Create goals and the day-by-day means of getting there.
Financial stress can cause a cascade of other problems that can interfere with everyday functioning, such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, over-drinking and marital stress. If you find this is the case for you, consulting with a professional can help to keep a small problem from becoming worse. Your positive, self-help attitude bodes well for you!

(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.)
Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanya.com or by e-mail at drnorquist@chaitanya.com, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2009 Chaitanya Counseling Services