In the beginning of December I was laid off. Since I work in construction seasonal layoffs are to be expected, it wasn't at all surprising to me. Knowing the potential of seasonal layoffs loomed, I had prepared.
To ensure I wouldn't have any financial problems when laid off I started saving 10-20% of every pay check. This did two things for me, it created savings to spend on expenses in the future and it forced me to reduce unneeded spending.
By reducing my spending I had effectively lowered my standard of living, going out less, less discretionary spending, and preparing more of my own food. When most people lose their job it is followed by a drastic life style change. For myself nothing has changed, I continue to live as I did minus the working part.
Now I am eligible to collect EI, however I prepared as if I was not. A good move on my part EI is a huge bureaucracy. As of now it is estimated to take upwards of 5 weeks to process my claim. To be honest I couldn't care less how long as it takes. Provided I do in fact get to submit claims from the insurance I'm forced to pay for.
If you're not already, save money that will be able to cover all your expenses for at least 6 months. Not only is the financial security awesome, but the feeling working because you want to - not need to is irreplaceable. It also makes a layoff into a vacation especially in the holiday season.