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Laid Off? 10 Health Care Tips

From COBRA to Private Health Insurance to Coping With Stress, Here's What to Do

7. Tell your doctor about the layoff.

It's important for your doctor to know about the things in your life that are affecting you, notes Robert Schwartz, MD, professor and chairman of the department of family medicine and community health at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Schwartz tells WebMD that he has many patients dealing with layoffs, from manual laborers to corporate vice presidents, and others who are worried about losing their jobs.

"It's a very significant problem," says Schwartz. "Negative stress ... can be very detrimental to people's well-being."

Your doctor can also help you check on ways to lower your drug costs and other medical expenses.

People who have to do the firing also may be "under tremendous stress" and feel "guilt-ridden and conflicted about their own role" in layoffs, notes Schwartz.

8. Be aware of what stress may do to you.

"How people cope with this type of stress is very variable from one person to the other," says Schwartz.

"Some people start overeating, some people stop their healthy routines like exercise, some people have difficulty sleeping," he says, adding smoking and drinking to that list. "All of these affect our state of well-being."

In some cases, stress can lead to heart palpitations, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, or worsening of pre-existing conditions, notes Schwartz.

9. Get perspective, and get active.

"The first step is to help people understand ... that they're dealing with common problems," says Schwartz. "Then we talk about coping mechanisms."

Schwartz's list of helpful coping strategies includes exercise, taking a proactive approach to job seeking, and volunteering.

"I'm very much of the mind-set to get people out and doing things," Schwartz says. "People sometimes are so shocked by losing their job that they become unable to even start looking for another job."

10. Be optimistic.

"I always tell people that the glass is either half full or half empty, and there's not much to gain by being pessimistic,' says Schwartz.

"Although at the moment when you give that advice it's hard for people to hear, it's my impression that people who can find a way of being optimistic usually do better and eventually get another job. It helps them to walk into a job interview with a positive attitude," says Schwartz.

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