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Career crisis hits home: How to support your spouse after a traumatic job loss

Source image: https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/career-crisis-home-how-support-spouse-traumatic-job-loss

Many American companies are downsizing or restructuring, and the fallout from this economic reality is spilling over to personal relationships, including spouses, partners and friends, say experts.

In a post shared on LinkedIn on Jan 20, one professional wrote, “This week was heartbreaking … and today it still hurts.”

The poster continued, “I have friends at both Amazon and Microsoft who were impacted by the layoffs that took place this week. And as I type this message, Google just announced they are cutting 12,000 jobs.”

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The poster also wrote, “I struggled with what to say because my job was ‘spared’ … I struggled with what can I say that will bring them comfort.”

The person continued, “And what I found is that many of them just wanted to be heard, so I was that sounding board!”

First steps after job loss can help with stress, anxiety

A job loss is a tough blow, and support and understanding are key, say mental health experts.

One person posted on LinkedIn after her colleagues were let go from their jobs, "What I found is that many of them just wanted to be heard, so I was that sounding board!"

One person posted on LinkedIn after her colleagues were let go from their jobs, “What I found is that many of them just wanted to be heard, so I was that sounding board!”
(iStock)

“When a spouse loses a job, it’s important to reaffirm their value to the relationship,” Amy Morin, a Florida-based psychotherapist and author of the book “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” told Fox News Digital.

“Make it clear that you love them, you care about them and the job loss doesn’t affect how you see them,” Morin said. 

“Discuss the steps you can take to manage the expenses.” 

She added, “Let them know you’re confident that you’ll [both] be OK and you’ll figure something out — and that and you’re in this together.”

Reassure a partner or spouse about finances

A good starting point is to develop a plan, said Morin.

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“You’ll want to discuss how you’re going to earn money, pay the bills and, if necessary, cut down on expenses,” she advised.

Discussing first steps such as applying for unemployment or getting right back into the job market is helpful, experts note.

Discussing first steps such as applying for unemployment or getting right back into the job market is helpful, experts note.
(iStock)

Talk about your immediate options, she also noted. Applying for unemployment or looking for a new job right away are good starts. 

“Discuss the steps you can take to manage the expenses until more income comes in,” Morin also said.

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People feel better when they’re taking action. So small steps such as editing a résumé can really help a person feel that they’re doing something positive, Morin also noted.

Should you offer help with a résumé or other tasks? 

If you feel comfortable assisting your partner with their résumé, networking or finding that next job, then “absolutely” offer to help, said one mental health professional.

“Validate another person’s feelings. Use ‘reflective listening’ to show you’re paying attention.”

Do so “especially if you feel that you are able to benefit them with this,” Leanna Stockard, a marriage and family therapist at LifeStance Health in Manchester, New Hampshire, told Fox News Digital.

However, before diving in, Stockard recommends “asking your partner if they want this type of support.”

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Some people may not want this help from their partner, Stockard noted — and they may need time to grieve their job loss and absorb its impact.

It's important to ask your partner if they want the kind of support you wish to give, according to Leanna Stockard, a New Hampshire-based marriage and family therapist.

It’s important to ask your partner if they want the kind of support you wish to give, according to Leanna Stockard, a New Hampshire-based marriage and family therapist.
(iStock)

“If you go in offering to help too soon (or for some, at all), your partner could view this as nagging, and/or get frustrated with you for this type of support — and for not listening to their needs,” Stockard advised. 

Should you be a sounding board for negative feelings?

If your partner expresses a concern about how you’re going to get by financially, don’t insist that they shouldn’t worry, said psychotherapist Morin. 

“Instead, validate their feelings. Use ‘reflective listening’ to show that you’re paying attention,” she emphasized.

 “Allow the person to clarify or expand on their thoughts.” 

Morin advised that people “reflect back” to their partners what they’ve said, perhaps by saying something like, “It sounds like you’re really worried about how we’re going to pay the bills.” 

Show that you're willing to listen by saying things like,

Show that you’re willing to listen by saying things like, “I understand your concerns. I am not as concerned as you are, but I totally understand your worries right now,” advised one expert. 
(iStock)

She added, “Allow the person to clarify or expand on their thoughts. Then, let them know it’s understandable that they feel that way.” 

It is fine to be a sounding board for their despair or worry, Morin also said.  

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She added that you show that you’re willing to listen by saying phrases like, “I understand your concerns. I am not as concerned as you are, but I totally understand your worries right now.”

Know the signs of mental health risk 

While it is normal for ups and downs in mood and perspective after a job loss, there are red flags to watch for, said mental health professionals.

Be aware of shifts in mood and behaviors after a partner's job loss, said professionals. These include changes in sleeping and eating patterns.

Be aware of shifts in mood and behaviors after a partner’s job loss, said professionals. These include changes in sleeping and eating patterns.
(iStock)

“There are multiple signs of a mental shift,” said Stockard, advising spouses or partners to pay attention to any shifts in a partner’s behavior and moods.

Some signs of depression include increased or prolonged irritability and/or angry outbursts, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and “feelings of worthlessness or feeling like a failure,” Stockard noted. 

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Other signs to look out for are suicidal thoughts, isolation, avoidance and/or a partner “not engaging in things they used to enjoy,” she also said.

“Their emotions are valid, and invalidating their experience will be an unhelpful strategy when you are attempting to support them.”

“It’s important to pay attention to increased nervousness, negative thinking, worry or anxious thinking,” she continued. 

“You may also want to look for an increase in alcohol use or drug use as a way to cope with job loss,” she also advised.

What if a spouse or partner takes out anger on you?

Your spouse’s anxiety, sadness and frustration may be expressed as irritability or anger. So if you feel as though they’re taking their anger out on you, psychotherapist Morin said it’s important to point out the behaviors you’re seeing. 

She suggested saying something like, “I know this is hard, but it’s not OK to be rude to me.” 

You might choose to end an angry or unproductive conversation, offering to reconvene when heads are cooler, said psychotherapist Amy Morin. 

You might choose to end an angry or unproductive conversation, offering to reconvene when heads are cooler, said psychotherapist Amy Morin. 
(iStock)

You might choose to end conversations that aren’t productive, offering to reconvene when things are calmer, she also advised. 

Are there things to avoid saying?

Stick to statements that will show you understand the realities of the situation, Morin advised.

Talk about the fact that you can handle the struggle instead of insisting that the struggle will go away. 

Saying things like, “Don’t worry about it, it’s not that bad,” will only make your hurting partner feel worse. 

Avoid minimizing your partner’s feelings, Morin also said. 

Saying things like, “Don’t worry about it, it’s not that bad,” will only make your hurting partner feel worse. 

The most important thing to avoid doing is making your partner or spouse feel badly about the job loss, said Stockard.

Offer support and reassurance during the stress a spouse or partner feels after a job loss, said mental health experts. 

Offer support and reassurance during the stress a spouse or partner feels after a job loss, said mental health experts. 
(iStock)

“Do not criticize them, demean them as a person, blame them for any financial hardships, be vindictive about the added financial responsibility on you or tell your partner to ‘hurry up and find another job,’” she said.

It is important to remember that if the job loss or layoff is through no fault of your partner, such as mass layoffs or department cutbacks, the person will be dealing with a whole spectrum of feelings while navigating the experience, Stockard said.

“It’s important to first focus on their humanity. This may be a crushing blow to their self-esteem and sense of worth.”

“Their emotions are valid, and invalidating their experience will be an unhelpful strategy when you are attempting to support them,” she added.

Try a little compassion

Amy Keller Laird, the New York-based founder of the website Mental, a platform about mental health issues, shared with Fox News Digital, “From speaking with many experts on this topic, the same way you should treat yourself or a friend when you’ve lost a job is the same way to treat a spouse or partner — with compassion.”

Focus first on the person's

Focus first on the person’s “humanity,” said one mental health expert. 
(iStock)

She added, “It can be incredibly tempting to freak out and get riled up about the loss of income, but it’s important to first focus on their humanity.”

The job loss “may be a crushing blow to their self-esteem and sense of worth, as studies show that people often equate their identity with their work,” she said.

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Keller Laird also advised, “Save the tactical details for after the person has had a chance to come to terms with the emotional feelings of losing a job. Encourage them to take a rest week or, if they’re able, a few weeks — but to also reach out to friends and former coworkers.”

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She noted as well, “There’s an interesting study that shows maintaining ties with former (friendly) colleagues after leaving a job is not only good for social support — but it can also help you integrate more seamlessly, and successfully, into a new gig later.”

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/career-crisis-home-how-support-spouse-traumatic-job-loss

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On this day in history, Jan. 28, 1986, space shuttle Challenger explodes, shocking the nation

On this day in history, Jan. 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger — scheduled for a routine launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida — exploded after just 73 seconds in flight, killing all seven Americans on board.

The disaster shocked the nation — and led to an immediate pause in the space shuttle program.

The cause of the disaster was found to be the failure of the primary and secondary redundant O-ring seals in a joint in the shuttle’s right solid rocket booster (SRB).

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While the mission on that fateful day in 1986 was supposed to be like any other routine mission, unusually cold temperatures caused the external tank to explode seconds into takeoff — causing the orbiter to disintegrate and the spacecraft to explode, according to NASA. 

The space shuttle Challenger lifts off on Jan. 28, 1986. Carrying seven crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliffe, Challenger exploded just 73 seconds into its launch — killing all on board. 

The space shuttle Challenger lifts off on Jan. 28, 1986. Carrying seven crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliffe, Challenger exploded just 73 seconds into its launch — killing all on board. 
(Bob Pearson/AFP via Getty Images)

In addition to highly experienced astronauts, the Challenger carried a special passenger on board: teacher Christa McAuliffe. 

She was a social studies teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, chosen from among 10,000 others who applied to be the first private citizen in space, according to Britannica. 

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In her application, McAuliffe said she would keep a journal about her experience — and would include sections about her training, the flight experience and her feelings about returning to Earth.

One of the reasons McAuliffe was chosen, apparently, was her teaching experience — and the way she would be able to connect with children across the country. 

This November 1985 file provided by NASA shows the crew of the U.S space shuttle Challenger. Front row, from left: astronauts Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron McNair; back row, from left: Ellison Onizuka, schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis and Judith Resnik.

This November 1985 file provided by NASA shows the crew of the U.S space shuttle Challenger. Front row, from left: astronauts Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron McNair; back row, from left: Ellison Onizuka, schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis and Judith Resnik.
(NASA/AFP via Getty Images)

And that is why, on the day of the launch, scores of students in schools across the country watched as a teacher launched into space for the first time ever. 

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It was unfortunate timing for young children to watch this particular launch — something President Reagan was worried about when he was deciding how to address Americans later that evening.

Leading up to Challenger

Americans had been visiting space for decades before that — the first time in 1961, with U.S. Navy test pilot Alan Shepard. 

Shepard was the second man in space following the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin just a mere weeks before. 

By 1969, space travel had progressed to visiting the moon — something the U.S. successfully completed with Apollo 11 that year.

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However, with this success, Americans began to fear the government was spending too much on space, according to NASA. 

A reusable manned spacecraft then became a focus by the Nixon administration, and the space shuttle program was born.

Christa McAuliffe (1948-1986), wearing a blue NASA jumpsuit, smiles in a studio portrait while holding a model of a space shuttle at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, on Sept. 26, 1985. She was the first private citizen to go into space on the shuttle.

Christa McAuliffe (1948-1986), wearing a blue NASA jumpsuit, smiles in a studio portrait while holding a model of a space shuttle at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, on Sept. 26, 1985. She was the first private citizen to go into space on the shuttle.
(Space Frontiers/Archive Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Challenger’s first mission was in April 1983 — and it quickly became one of the most popular spacecrafts to be used in the following three years, according to NASA.

The annual State of the Union address for early 1986 had been scheduled to take place on the evening of the Challenger’s launch — but given the tragedy, President Reagan chose to delay the address by a week. 

“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave.”

Instead, that night, Reagan did address the nation but from the familiar Oval Office instead. 

President Reagan addresses the nation about the Challenger shuttle disaster, on Jan. 28, 1986, from the Oval Office of the White House.  

President Reagan addresses the nation about the Challenger shuttle disaster, on Jan. 28, 1986, from the Oval Office of the White House.  
(Diana Walker/Getty Images)

Reagan began by saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d planned to speak to you tonight to report on the State of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans.”

He went on, “Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.”

Mandana Marsh holds her daughter, Molly, 4, as they watched TV coverage hours after the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger inside their home in Concord, New Hampshire, on Jan. 28, 1986. When her mother explained what happened, young Molly asked,

Mandana Marsh holds her daughter, Molly, 4, as they watched TV coverage hours after the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger inside their home in Concord, New Hampshire, on Jan. 28, 1986. When her mother explained what happened, young Molly asked, “Can’t Christa swim?” 
(Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

In his speech, Reagan also expressed a willingness to remain steadfast in the pursuit of space flight — but also, he focused on the families of those who were aboard the Challenger and on the children who were watching the flight from their classrooms or homes.

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“I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen,” Reagan told the country that night.

“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave,” Reagan also said.

“The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future — and we’ll continue to follow them.”

On this day in history, Jan. 28, 1986, the Challenger spacecraft exploded — killing all seven passengers aboard. That evening, President Reagan addressed the nation from the Oval Office about the tragedy.  

On this day in history, Jan. 28, 1986, the Challenger spacecraft exploded — killing all seven passengers aboard. That evening, President Reagan addressed the nation from the Oval Office about the tragedy.  
(Getty Images)

The next mission launch was over two-and-a half years later, in September 1988 — named the “Return to Flight” mission. 

The mission lasted for four days and included 64 orbits around the planet.

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It ended with a successful landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, according to NASA. 

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JCPenney partners with shelters to help senior dogs like Kofi of Texas find a home

JCPenney is partnering with local shelters around the country to help adoptable senior dogs find their forever homes. 

The large retailer is taking its well-known JCPenney-style portraits of the dogs — so that interested adopters can step forward to help animals in need. 

Kofi is a spaniel mix at the Dallas Pets Alive organization in Dallas, Texas — and he desperately needs a home.

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Kofi is looking for a forever home where he could spend the last chapter of his life. 

He is well-behaved and considered docile — fully content with just sitting quieting next to his new owner, according to the organization.

Kofi is a senior spaniel mix who weighs about 35 pounds. He needs a forever home.

Kofi is a senior spaniel mix who weighs about 35 pounds. He needs a forever home.
(JCPenney Portraits by Lifetouch)

Kofi has a black-and-gold coloring and his fur is said to be silky soft — making him an easy dog to keep petting. 

He weighs roughly 35 pounds and enjoys going on walks, Fox News Digital is told.

“We’re excited to give the senior dogs in these shelters their chance to shine.”

He also gets along well with others — so having other pets or children in the house could be good for him. 

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Kofi is spayed, neutered, microchipped and up-to-date on all vaccines. 

JCPenney is partnering with local shelters around the country to help adoptable senior dogs find their forever homes. 

JCPenney is partnering with local shelters around the country to help adoptable senior dogs find their forever homes. 
(JCPenney Portraits by Lifetouch)

He is just one of the many dogs featured in JCPenney’s new campaign about shelter dogs and JCPenney Portraits by Lifetouch. 

Bill Cunningham, JCPenney’s vice president of marketing strategy, said the occasion is special for many reasons. 

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“We’re excited to give the senior dogs in these shelters, who are often less likely to be adopted, their chance to shine and encourage customers to get involved with their local communities to change a pet’s life for the better,” Cunningham said in a media statement. 

Kofi is located at Dallas Pets Alive, an organization in Dallas, Texas. 

Kofi is located at Dallas Pets Alive, an organization in Dallas, Texas. 
(JCPenney Portraits by Lifetouch)

The partnership runs from Jan. 24 through Feb. 28. 

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Those interested can visit JCP.com to see new adoptable pets … and some adorable portraits. 

JCPenney is partnering with local shelters across the country to try to help senior adoptable dogs find homes. 

JCPenney is partnering with local shelters across the country to try to help senior adoptable dogs find homes. 
(JCPenney Portraits by Lifetouch)

JCPenney will also be donating $1,000 to each of the 10 shelters it’s partnered with to help animals find homes.

The shelters are located in 10 different cities around the country: Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia and Phoenix. 

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For more information on Kofi, anyone interested can visit dallaspetsalive.org or email adopt@dallaspetsalive.org.

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They risked their lives for others: Author Richard Hurowitz remembers unsung heroes of the Holocaust

January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, designated as such by the United Nations. 

Why this date?  

On this date in history, Jan. 27, 1945, the infamous Nazi German slave labor and death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated by the Soviet army.

The day recalls the killing of six million Jews as well as millions of other people by the Nazi regime and collaborators.

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But there are scores of interconnected stories as well.

“During the Holocaust,” wrote Richard Hurowitz in a recent essay in The Wall Street Journal, “citizens from Denmark to Greece protected their Jewish neighbors from the Nazis by standing together.”

Richard Hurowitz's new book is

Richard Hurowitz’s new book is “In the Garden of the Righteous: The Heroes Who Risked Their Lives to Save Jews During the Holocaust.”
(Richard Hurowitz/Donna Newman)

Most of these heroic individuals were and are still largely unknown. 

Remembering the horrors of war — and chronicling how brave people, in the face of fear, brutality and cruelty, stood up for other human beings even when their own lives were on the line — is the job of historians, authors, journalists and others who believe the truth needs to be passed along to new generations.

“In the Garden of the Righteous” pays tribute to those who risked everything for others.

In this spirit, writer and investor Richard Hurowitz has just released a new book, “In the Garden of the Righteous: The Heroes Who Risked Their Lives to Save Jews During the Holocaust” (HarperCollins), which pays tribute to those who risked their very existence to help others in trouble.

Among them are Adolf and Maria Althoff, who hid Jewish acrobatic performers in plain sight from the Nazis — and Italian cycling champion Gino Bartali, who faked long-distance practice runs to sneak forged identity papers that saved hundreds of people.

Hurowitz, based in New York, is publisher of The Octavian Report, a quarterly “journal of ideas.” He is chief executive officer of Octavian and Company LLC, an investment firm.

Just ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Fox News Digital posed three questions to the author.

‘An under-covered topic’

Fox News Digital: Why did you write this book now? 

Richard Hurowitz: Rescue during the Holocaust and the courage of those who risked their lives to save Jews and others is an extremely under-covered topic — yet people find it enormously inspirational.  

Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg are well known, but beyond those two archetypes very few rescuers have gotten the acclaim they deserve.  

Author Richard Hurowitz told Fox News Digital that his new book "grew out of several profiles I wrote for newspapers of individual rescuers — and the response was extraordinary."

Author Richard Hurowitz told Fox News Digital that his new book “grew out of several profiles I wrote for newspapers of individual rescuers — and the response was extraordinary.”
(Courtesy Richard Hurowitz)

Some of the people rescued in my book were or went on to have enormous impact on the world — from the physicist Niels Bohr to the artist Mark Chagall to many members of royalty — while most were ordinary refugees.  

The book grew out of several profiles I wrote for newspapers of individual rescuers — and the response was extraordinary. 

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I think people are looking for stories of inspiration and courage during our own difficult times. 

At a time of rising bigotry, anti-Semitism, polarization and conflict, I think these stories are extremely timely.

‘I hope people are inspired’

Fox News Digital: If you wanted readers to have one memorable takeaway from your book, what would it be?

Hurowitz: I hope people are inspired by these stories and learn about some of history’s forgotten heroes. 

And I hope they are inspired and remember that there is good in the world and that everyone can make a difference.  

It is not just in times of utmost peril like the Second World War

Indeed, we can avoid our society heading in that direction by standing up for the values of compassion, kindness and tolerance.  

There were even communities in Europe during the war — such as Denmark or the village of Le Chambon in France — where the entire group stood together against the Nazis. And were able to save almost all their Jewish neighbors.  

So I hope the book is a message of hope — and [that it] offers lessons on how we can make our world a better place.

‘Rescues echo down through the generations’

Fox News Digital: What stays with you in terms of reporting and writing the book?

Hurowitz: I have had the profound experience, when I’ve written about rescuers, to hear from people I personally know who are alive today because their family was saved by them. 

Rescues echoes down through the generations. 

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There are possibly one million people alive today because of the 10 rescues profiled in the book. 

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And at least some of [these people] many of us probably know — and some of them have themselves done extraordinary things that would have been lost to us had it not been for courage eight decades ago.

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