(HealthDay)—Michael Knowlese wasn't completely surprised when he lost his job as a marketing manager in late November 2012.
Several months earlier, his company had brought in a new boss who wasn't only new to the company but also new to the industry. The new boss soon consolidated several positions and let Knowlese know that his position had been eliminated. However, several days before getting the news, an email from a human resources manager tipped him off because the email asked him to come meet the new sales and marketing manager. Previously, those had been two separate positions, one of which was Knowlese's job.
"My initial response was one of anger and denial," he said. But he immediately threw himself into a new business venture, starting his own marketing company, because he wanted to "show them."
"I launched [an] advertising campaign and updated my website, all of which takes substantial time," Knowlese said.
During that time, he didn't think much about his health, and he let his normal workout routine fall by the wayside. Though he normally ran about 3.5 miles twice a week, "I let this lapse and started to feel very run down," Knowlese said. One thing he didn't let go was his weekly basketball game with his son, but he realized he was going to keep feeling lethargic and run down if he didn't resume his exercise routine so he started to run again.
Another bad health habit that Knowlese said he had to rein in for the good of his health was keeping "vampire hours." Soon after losing his job, he said, he started constantly waking up in the middle of the night and he finally gave in to it, getting up and doing something productive with the time. But that meant mid-afternoon naps. In time, he said, his sleep routine seemed to settle down, and Knowlese said he suspects that his sleep pattern got back to normal as he learned to let go of the anger.
"Negative feelings still come and go," he said. "But, I've tried to convert anger and bitterness into action, and action has kept me busy and that certainly has helped my well-being."
His advice for others who've lost a job? "Fight hard and fast to get past the anger. Talk to people you trust. Get busy working on something."
Knowlese said he's found it's also very important—at least for him—to keep a fairly regular routine. "The routine keeps you healthy and tells you you have validity," he said. "You follow these mundane patterns in life because you have a purpose."
Staying healthy and well after losing a job may take additional effort, though.
"Reinvent yourself," Knowlese said. "Use this time to try to do something that you've always wanted to do. You may not get another chance to sit back and reflect on who you are, what you do and what you like."
Explore further: The Medical Minute: Writing your way to better health
To read about the health risks posed by joblessness click here.