During Stressful Times, Working Out is Even More Crucial

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Watching and hearing the news could make us all feel a tad more anxious, as more and more companies continue downsizing. When the media referred to Monday’s job cuts as "Bloody Monday," such negative connotations can leave us all with feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty. Or at least for me it did.

These are daunting times. The unknown is far scarier than the known. Not knowing if and when you may receive the notice from your employer may lead many of us to stress eating or total abandonment of their healthy lifestyle. But we must know that giving into these unhealthy ways will not change the events. While eating chocolate and chips may give us a temporary feel-good sense, it will not change our situation.

And while we can’t always keep the inevitable from occurring, the one thing we can control is our health via sound nutrition and exercise. Keeping our schedule as routine as possible is certainly a huge factor. Getting in some sound sleep, eating healthy meals, and of course getting in some good exercise, will all help relieve stress.

Also never underestimate the power of a good friend. Having social connections helps us to voice our concerns and many times allows us a means to vent our anger and our fears. Having others to talk with may also help deter feelings of depression that many times accompany the unknown. Whenever we can relieve stress, our minds and our bodies are better able to cope with life’s hardships.

SparkPeople has recognized the impact the job cuts have affected many of its members by establishing SparkTeams where people can come together and share their stories, concerns and fears. And dailySpark Blogger Tanya has written many timely articles to help us all save money at the grocery store.

For those members who have lost their jobs, I pray that there is hope on the horizon. For those, like my family who are sitting and waiting, I pray that we will be able to face this situation head on while maintaining our healthy living lifestyle and a positive attitude. One thing is for certain, we will always have our SparkPeople family to carry us through life’s adversities and you can’t beat that.

Have you been affected by a layoff and if so how are you coping? Has the recent job loss reports had an impact on your lifestyle--good or bad?

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I was laid off in November and this has been the biggest wake up call for my life. I am SO thankful for it. It has made me appreciate the smaller things in life. My life was really rocky before hand and I was never really enjoying any part of it. Now I am able to see my friends, family and spend time alone! I am able to pick back up hobbies, work out and be more productive with LESS on my plate. Dont get me wrong - I cant wait to find a job BUT I wont be making the same decisions as I made last time. :) Report
wow! Has anyone ever felt stressed for other people? Right now I work for my dad fixing up rentals, but I am worried for him because his full-time job is getting ready to let half of the plant go on permanent layoff no matter how long they have been there. Now every mistake anyone does effects the decisions as to wether they get to stay or not and that puts a toll on everyone, including family members. I am more worried for him than myself at this point. He has worked so hard to support his family and now he is in a vulnerable situation and my heart aches.

Does anyone else feel this way!?! Report
I agree with this 100%! I've been incredibly stressed at work and life, and I haven't been able to work out this week due to some intense pain in my back. I've been going nuts! I just want turn on my Tae Bo and pretend like I'm kickboxing everything that's bothering me :) Report
I agree that the stress of lossing a job has been hard. I felt totally useless and like a failure when I was laid off. I am now trying to refoucus my energy and watch what I eat as I increase my exercise. I have a temp job right now. But I need a pernament job.
On the bright side I am healthy, except need to lose 40+ pounds. My son is healthy and we have a good home. Report
It's certainly a stressful time for many people! I agree, focusing on your health ... and things in your life you CAN control is so important. Thanks for the reminder. Report
My full-time job went to an On-Call Position. The only way I keep my stress at bay is by working out. I keep focused on my task at hand (loseing 90 pounds) and it really help me. I'm focusing on something positive instead of negitive. Report
I agree with this article. I work for a financial investment/brokerage firm and it HAS been a very stressful time. On top of that, 2008 was just an overall personally bad year what with 7 people that I know dying in the span of three weeks, my boy friend being shipped off to war for 14 months, and me having to work 87+ hours a week just to get by...stress really caught up with me and voiala, I have 15 pounds to prove it. After the holidays I decided to really focus on exercise again and MAKE the time for it. I'm down 10 pounds, again, and feeling so much better. Yes, the market is still on a roller coaster, jobs are unknown, my boy friend's life is on the line...but 30 minutes five times a week has really helped. Report
The recession has definitely taught me a lot, especially about what things are actual needs and what are just WANTS. I am so thankful my family has everything we NEED to survive. Things will get better in the country, but hopefully people may learn that we don't have to be slaves to consumerism and buy things we truly cannot afford just to say we have them (which used to be me). Thanks also to sites like Sparkpeople because we need to vent and the way we eat and how we treat our body is one of the few things we can actually control. Report
I have problems with anxiety. I found exercise is very important to help lower my blood pressure during times am "stressed out". Report
Yes! It's mighty hard times right now and it might get worse. My family members have suffered reduction in work hours and one is facing a layoff. But when circumstances look bleak, I have a tendency to think of others who are doing much worse than my family. Need an eye-opener, take a trip to your nearest hospital and peruse the intensive care unit, visit your nearest burn center or venture to the area in your town most heavily populated with homeless people. I think of those whose bellies are swollen from malnourishment and most of us are on this website because we eat/ate too much. How blessed we are! Thank God that you have what you have no matter how little it may be. Trouble really won't last forever. This recession/depression too shall pass. Improve your health as much as possible, cherish your loved ones and believe it will be okay. Trust in God to make a way. Blessings to you all! Report
(i got laid off back in june. getting laid off is one of the best things that ever happened to me. i've finally had a chance to relax and take care of myself instead of working all the time. i've been exercising 6-7 days a week and i'm in the best shape of my life.

i've also learned to better budget my expenses and how to make home cooked meals to save money.

this time off has been good for me.) Report
My hours were cut this week, my team voted to cut everyones hours before someone else got laid off. I have been able to get my exercise in everyday this week. I know what a stress release it is for me and as well as my family. Report
This was me for a while with having my hubby deployed and being home with four boys and just the country in this economic state caused me to eat. Report
I have been disable for about 10 years and I really wasn't expecting that either but it happen. I was really stressing out and the more I got upset the sicker I got. To add to my stress level I was band from driving. I have not driven for about 10 years. Due to my injuries I'm not allow to work or drive. I learn that no matter how tough things get it’s up to you to make the best out of a tough situation, if you let it get you down you will not make it in this world. Just remember we all have been through rough time before we have seem America at its best and its worst and we manage to overcome these time and if you as family, friends, American, and other countries all just hold on to each other we will get through this. I know this for a fact because I believe in GOD, I believe in YOU and I believe in ME.
Hugs and Love To ALL,
I used to stress eat a lot. Now from becoming a member here and finding other things to do when I feel like doing the whole emotional eating thing, I have finally broken that habit. Instead I read a book, play a game, meditate, or dance. I have also passed this along to other family members. It makes it a lot easier on everyone and we have all learned how to deal with our stress in a more healthy manner. Report
I knew I made a difference in my life when I heard some bad news yesterday financially about our family. Instead of heading for the chocolate chips in the pantry, I took the dog for a 20 minute walk to reduce the stress. It helped, and I didn't make myself feel even worse by giving into temptation. Report
My hours at work have been cut back and my second job has not called in months. I have been using my extra time to exercise, cook meal and check for deals with food and clip coupons. We do not as a family go out to eat as much and when we do we use gift card and/or other deals like buy one get one free. I also use a web site called couponmom.com and they have weekly deals. There is alot one can do during these times. I feel this has made us spend mor time with our kids and family time. Report
I'm self employed and I do house cleaning. I have lost several clients that have been affected by the job market and in turn it has affected me. They can no longer afford to have me come in and clean. I was thankful to keep one client that switched from 2 times a month, to once a month and I'm happy to have that. I am now down to just 4 clients. If they cancel their clean, I don't get paid!

I have been trying to get hired on part time within my sons school district to no avail. But good news is, I have a second interview MOnday for a part time dental implant consultant position. ***Fingers Crossed***

I'm just thankful that I am not the main bread winner in my family and that my husband has a good, steady job. Report
Well said. It's great to still have a job in these times, but nonetheless, economic times have created stress for everyone. Maintaining your fitness sanity is important to "striking a personal balance" for me. Report
Many of us are doing well,many aren't and many are just getting by.We are just getting by.My DH got his pension check today and exactly 1/2 went to medical benefits.He is only mid 50 and worked for a company for 33 yrs. and they forced him into retirement because his job went away and there was nothing else for him.That was 2 yrs. ago and now same company laid off 500 on Tues.Four major stores have closed in our NY town and our school district wants to propose $14,600,000.in improvements.We only have 2,500 students.And with the Gov taxing us on whatever he can,it is getting very difficult here.We are trying to shop wisely for groceries as is everyone else.Things really need to get better soon.
I am thankful that my sons' and dil have jobs that should not be affected.
God bless everyone. Report
I found out in September that I would be losing my job by the end of the year. It was not a shock because everyone at the company was constantly on pins and needles waiting for the day that they would tell us that we were going to be closing. There was more stress from us waiting on them to tell us than there was from them actually telling us. We were also lucky that we worked for a company that "went by the rules" and gave us plenty of notice beforehand...unlike my father who was laid off a week after I found out I was being laid off without any notice. My father's employer filed for bankruptcy, sold his mansion and his planes and skipped town. He is still looking for work. They are stressing and I am stressing for my parents especially since I cannot help them out because of my situation. However for myself, instead of getting stressed or depressed I decided to use this time to change my life for the better. During our transition period, the company brought in an outside source to help us prepare for our job search and figure out where we were going to go next. I got depressed during that time because I did not want to go to another corporate company being miserable, working pay check to pay check and constantly wonder when or if they were going to decide to make layoffs. It was during my soul searching that I realized that this was going to be the perfect time to go back to school and finish what I had started. I had wanted to be a Veterinarian since I was 7 years old but life had gotten in the way and I never pursued it....so I applied to Auburn University's Pre-Vet program and was accepted and now I am working on the financial aid to attend which I am very positive about. That is the key. You have to be positive and keep your head up. I know my dad will find what he is meant to do and I am not worried that things will not work out for myself. I am a single parent with an 8 year old daughter and am out of work......but there are people less fortunate than me. I look around at what I have and get down on my knees everyday thanking God for the many blessings in my life. When your down and out....take a look around and look past what you do not have and see what you have. You'll be amazed at how well your living.....also, do not be a victim...place your life in your own hands and become a champion. When you can do that, you will have a purpose and it will keep you from getting depressed. I know this from experience!!! Report
I am very fortunate that I have a job that is considered recession proof. However I do not hold my breath and I did do some quick calculations for that just in case moment. It never hurts to be prepared.

But I know two people off hand who have been laid off in the last two weeks - friends who thought as well that their jobs were pretty secure. One had been with the company 17 years. And I work in a job where jobless and unemployment comes in to play every day - and to be honest with you I have a hard time just knowing they are in crisis over their jobs and there is little I can do.

Actually for me - because my job is secure there is one thing I can do to help - and that is to spend money. Everyone who hesitates to spend money even if they have it - are affecting the local economy in a negative way.

So if you were thinking about buying a car or renovating your home and can still do it....then DO IT.....you might just save one person from being laid off....

The governments can only do so much to help out.

I pray that things get better for everyone individually and collectively. Unfortunately we can't depend on one person to make this situation better. We can just hope and believe in GOD that things are going to get better. I will continue to pray and help support people that are being directly affected by the economy. Have you notice that gas prices are creeping back up. Everything is more expensive but we make less and take home even less than that. Report
This post has dropped down from heaven right on time! Thanks to God me and my hb still have our jobs, but stress has been killing me at work. Being under an incredible pressure, I have been rather sloppy with my plan lately. But, this post has opened my eyes - I have to stop playing with my health and control that part of my life I have the chance to control with a bit of effort.I know that as soon as I start feeling better with myself, I will feel better with my life in general.

For all of you that are victims of the crisis, I encourage you to be strong and keep fighting. Soon the storm will be over. Report
I've been laid off twice in my career and each time I found another opportunity that was more rewarding mentally, emotionally and financially. I'm Ok right now and I'm thankful that I have a good-paying job but I know that if my contract gets cut there's something better waiting. I just have to make it happen. Report
Two weeks ago I needed to lay off six people from the maintenance department
of a small construction company. Our company had 45 people, with more than 15 of our people that work in excavation aleady laid of because of the weather. As I looked at the companies cash position, cuts needed to be made in an attempt to save the company and the remaining jobs. It sure is not easy laying off someone with 12 years with the company who is married with two small children, or even the single man that just bought his first house six months ago, or the man in his late fifties that is beyond his prime, just like me. I decided not to cut a job from the office, instead I cut everyones hours down to 32 per week to save someones job. I took a huge pay cut, but I thought it was better than putting another person in the unemployment line. At times like this it is no fun being in upper management. There is however no doubt that exercise made this process much more acceptable than it would have been a year ago as a couch potato Report
Well I still have a job, thank goodness, because I love it. I am a cashier at a health food store, and they love me as well, so I am pretty secure. I hope.
BUT, I have lost 1/2 of my retirement in the stock market. Wish it would stop going down. Report
I have lived long enough to know this is not new. I had my company go out of business and eventually the field disappeared. I started with 3 part time jobs and went back to school for a new career. It all turns around, just keep moving. Report
This hits really close to home for me. Long before this recession, in fact several years ago, my husband was laid off his job. He decided at that point that he wanted to change careers and go back to his first love -- counterintelligence. Little did I know at the time that it would be a very long process. He did not have a security clearance, and the first thing he needed was a potential employer interested enough in him to sponsor him for a security clearance. OPM (the federal agency responsible for security clearances) was hopelessly backlogged because of the increasing demand for security clearances that followed 9/11, and many employers in the field were trying to cope by raiding each other's cleared employees rather than waiting for a new person to be cleared. We expected my husband's clearance to take a while because of the time he resided overseas. What we did not plan for was the number of times his application got mishandled or lost. I finally contacted my congressman about it, and he had OPM send him regular updates on where things were, which he forwarded to us. I am not certain it shortened the process, but at least it kept his papers from getting lost again. He finally got it, but the employer who sponsored him no longer has a slot for him. So now he's finally interviewing, but nothing has happened yet. The economy is certainly bad, but perhaps it won't affect the demand for counterintelligence analysts as much. I really think it's time for my husband's luck to change. He's intelligent, educated, and capable of hard work when motivated, but being out of work for so long has made him discouraged and it doesn't bring out his best. I have a relatively good and secure job, but it's really hard on me being financially responsible for the whole family for so long. I am sure that it has contributed to my weight problem. I am finally starting to get that under control, but I live for the day that my husband will finally be working full-time again. Report
I enjoyed reading this. It game me a lot to think about. I am sure that after reading this I will have more information to obtain my goal. Report
Thanks for writing such a comforting article. It's a relief to know that with all the problems in the world right now, I can depend on my SparkPeople to help me take good care of myself. Report
As those of you know the Ohio Valley has been hit over and over again over the past few years. My husband is a carpenter. There is relatively little new construction in our area at all. We have had to cut back to the necessities over the years. My only fluff is my internet. But God has blessed us and helped us to have our essential needs met. We have thought about moving into a better economical area but our family is growing with grandchildren and our parents are getting older and we don't want to leave them. So our creditors are working with us and we are getting our debt paid down one thing at a time. We have been living off my income for many years because my husbands work is sporatic at best. And I don't mind, because we did get married for better or worse. My husband is very helpful when he doesn't have a job outside. The one thing that I have learned is that we cannot trust in the economy. We must trust in God. We must live in his economy. And he has more than enough. Report
I live in scotland and have just recently joined spark people. The recession is just beginning to bite here, as it did in in U.S. Although my career is unaffected at present as i work as nurse within a neurosurgical radiological unit I guess I should be okay in the future also because of the extra admissions due to stress caused by peoples anxieties and worries exacerbating chronic and acute illnesses across the board. I can agree whole heartedly with the author of this article as I am observing this for myself. I guess I didnt understand until the situation came to my own doorstep and my poor husband is now being asked to re apply for his senior management post within a large retail group so our futire is uncertain. I might always have employment but that will only be while my health is good. in the UK the health care system is very different and nearly all health services are free except for opticians and dental services although hospitalisation for these services are still free if required. We can of course use private services with private insurance but here its the same consultants and medical and nursing staff. I have had to deal with this only when I have travelled to other countries. Anyway the point of my letter is to say the anxiety is felt the world over and in order to preserve our health and sound mind feeling good about making it through another day without breaking into old habits is a positive side so we need to keep it together we can do it. Report
My brother was laid off from his great job at a car dealership. It is a bad time to be a mechanic, and he has had trouble finding steady work, as people are just not getting work done on their cars, as they cannot afford it. He has decided to follow in my path and join the military to go back to school and hopefully come out of active duty in several years with a better degree and to a better economy. I know for a while before he made his decision, his lifestyle took a hit, because he couldn't afford to buy healthy, and because of a bit of a lack of hope. Things are looking up now, but it was rough for a while.

Quite honestly, these tough times will end up dictating if I make the military a career, despite being a qualified, educated person, since having degrees does not these days mean an automatic successful civilian career. Report
My company announced that it was cutting 10% of its workforce worldwide (over 2000 jobs). Thank goodness the plant that I work in wasn't affected by the layoffs (or job eliminations) but they are closing our plant in Ohio. The products that were made there are now going to made in Mexico. It is scary to think that a lot of us are just one step away from being in the same situation (or already there). My prayers go out to all of you that have been affected by this economy.
Good luck and God bless. Report
Best wishes to all of you who have been laid off or have lost your job. Report
As always Nancy, right on target!
We are extremely lucky to feel pretty secure right now, but even so, I have been cutting back for almost a year now (little things at the start) and that seems to help me feel more in control somehow. I won't buy junk food because it is so darn expensive, both physically and monetarily. I clip coupons and try to use them when things are on sale, that too makes me feel more in control. I have contingency plans for if there is a change in our finances.
Guess my way of coping is to try to control the things I can control and I find that empowering. This includes my weight and health!
Good Luck to all those who are facing uncertainty and losses - take care of yourselves! Report
Know a lot of people who lost their jobs, needed to take a cut in pay to keep their job, and/or whose main source of income went out of business from all over the country. Report
We are strulling and we are alot older then most of the people on sparkpeople. Husband only worked 6 weeks last year. He is back but will be laid off aing soon. Seniors have alot of problems in Ohio. Gm town and that is gone. Changes to insurance make it almost impossible to go to a dr maybe just once a year. Heating we struggle with an old farm house. We cut corners but it usually a big problem what to give up. Just a cell phone no land based, groceries, no eating out drive less. Some days I pray alot then think of the many families who are woorse off then we are. I am not a stress eater the exact opposite I don't eat. Report
I am a teacher, only 2nd year in, and my district is proposing firing 440 out of 1990 teachers. It's stunning, because the kids are still going to come to school. Class sizes will rise, which eliminates the ability for a teacher, no matter how good they are, to give the one-on-one attention many of our students thrive upon.

The worst part of this is that, while our principal continues to tell us "we're going to lose teachers," she refuses to tell us how many this is at our site. I found out yesterday, according to a school board member, that every principal knows exactly the number of teachers they will lose. Ours is holding this information. Morale? It's already at an all-time low because of the fear of losing our jobs (there are 20 of us at our site that don't have tenure yet - 1/3 of our entire staff) is already overwhelming and nearly unbearable. Knowing is better than not knowing and I truly believe it's irresponsible to have information regarding the livelihood of your employees, but to refuse to share it.

Ugh. Report
I am in the military so I haven't had the stress as the civilian world is feeling however I definately feel terrible for the people that have lost jobs due to the economic crisis. I have felt a crunch on my wallet due to the rising prices on most goods and services. Report
I work Part time and have my own home based business, so far that is good, but my husband works in the automotive industry and they have let about 85% of the workers go. He has been there 26 years and has never seen it like this. He still has his job for now, but they are working 30 hours a week, with 1 week a month as a mandatory time off w/o pay (he can't use his 4 weeks vacation as the pay either). For the first time in his life he will have to file for unemployment for the 1 week a month he is off. We are fortunate to be debt free and have no kids, so we aren't as bad off as some. I feel blessed to have what we do and know God is in control no matter what (in our lives). Report
I lost my job when Starbucks closed our store in October. I started really exercising a lot in December. I figure my weight is one thing I can control right now, and it doesn't cost me a thing. If I devote my morning to exercise, I'm in a better frame of mind to look for work in the afternoon.

I know there are teams here for job seekers, and I've lurked a bit, but I can't stay positive if I sit and read about other people's problems all day. Even hearing on the news that so such-and-such company laid off so many workers this week just makes me feel hopeless, because there's that many more people out there I have to compete with, and that many fewer jobs to fight for. Report
Teaching now has become my stress factor. I don't get to teach for all the paper work and I find myself looking for that comforting chocalate bar. Report
Thanks for a wise and heartfelt article, Nancy. If history's correct, every downturn has eventually given way to better times, so there's hope in that cycle. Meanwhile, let's all keep hoping and working for the very best, however we can. Report
I love my job and look forward to going to work daily. The company has laid off & closed our manufacturing plant. We have also lost coworkers from HR, Data Entry, Management, Upper Management, and Marketing. Later in the year we are going to have more changes, so hoping for the best and knowing that God puts us through what we need to go through, and we will endure and in the end better opportunities will await us. Sending prayers to all those who have encountered job cuts already, and to those that will be affected in the future. Report
I got laid of in October 2008 after the company had been laying off for pretty much the whole year. They have laid so many people off that everyone is in one building. Whereas there were three buildings people worked out off. And then I heard on the news this week there will be more. When I got laid off I was not upset. I just said the Lord will have to provide another way. I count it as a blessing and a vacation. In this time I just kept my attitude postive. I was able to finish a book that I started writting and focus more on weight loss and being healthy. Now I have lost a total of 16.7 pounds and I'm feeling great. I am postive that I will get a job soon and my husband and I are making it fine with him working and me receiving UI benefits. Also we went through something this rough, about 3 years ago. We opened a small mortgage company, and I had a good job at a college. Everything was going great, I quit my job and assisted him. When I started working with him there was really no work for me to do. And I started thinking I made a mistake I should have kept my job it was helping to pay home bills and business bills. Then it got to the point where (before the big mortgage stink happened)things slowed down alot for us. There were loans but people could not get approved. We have to move form our house, and let a car go ans close the business. Then I was the only one working and we were living of that, but we are still together and happy Report
I have definitely been affected by the economy. Last week my hours & pay were both cut at work. The good thing is that now I have more time to spend with my kids along with more time in the evenings to work out, plan meals, go for a walk, etc.. And while all the extra time spent with family helps consume my mind in the evenings, it is still hard to sleep at night when I lay my head down & all the fears rush through it. I just keep turning it over to my higher power on a daily basis & trusting that he will get me & my family through these scary times. I have faith in Him & I trust the process. Report
Times are tough for many in our country. My husband's company was recently bought and they say there will be over 50% laid off. My company is never totally safe from layoffs either. We have both been through layoffs in our companies multiple times over the past 8 years. The first round was the hardest. I put my trust in God and I am working on having an internal locus of happiness...meaning I am finding ways to be happy that do not depend on circumstances. I enter on the message boards daily about at least one thing that makes me happy today and encourage others too. It's a way of counting your blessings. When times are tough, you pray and you learn to walk by faith. I manage my attitude and work to stay positive. Recently one of my co-workers, 31, passed away from cancer. I read her last blog post on Christmas eve. It made me realize that all we know each day is that we have this one day to live, to love, to be happy, to follow God. When times are darkest, the love of God shines brightest. Be happy in this day and count your blessing. No matter what. And lean on the Lord. Report
I still have my job as a paraprofessional in the school system. I've been thinking of retiring at the end of this year, but with the current economy, I'm not so sure. I know, with God's help, things will get better, but it may take awhile. My oldest son is in a position where he's had to lay off some people (which he really doesn't want to do). It's really bothered him, so much so that he ended up in urgent care with a possible heart attack. It turned out to be anxiety, thank God, but it doesn't make things much easier! All I can do is trust & pray. Report