Unemployment in Unprecedented Times: Coping with the Pandemic

The Coronavirus Disease, 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in the loss of jobs for millions of people around the world. Unemployment, whether temporary or permanent, can cause stress, anxiety, sadness, and other mental health issues. The COVID-19 pandemic's uncertainty just adds to the anxiety.

If you have lost your job due to the pandemic, you are probably feeling a lot of emotions and thinking about a lot of things. You might, for example, have the following feelings:

➔ A sense of loss of self-identity and purpose

➔ You may feel unappreciated, and you may no longer feel important in others’ lives

➔ You might be angry, terrified, and envious of others who are still able to work

➔ Moreover, being concerned about providing for your family

Not everyone will have these emotions, but even people who are doing well with unemployment may experience such at times. Accepting that your sentiments are okay is the first step in coping with the mental and emotional impacts of unemployment. Then, to manage your thoughts and emotions, one might consider following the steps below:

Accepting your emotions as relevant

Keep in mind that you are a human being. This indicates that your brain is hard-wired to look for danger. When your brain detects a threat, such as joblessness, it sends signals throughout your body to amass resources to deal with it. The fight-or-flight response is what it is called. This response causes your heart and respiration to speed up, as well as your muscles to stiffen.

Take a deep breath when your brain goes into overdrive. Take a step back and accept that your emotions are normal. Pat yourself on the back for doing your best under the circumstances.

Acknowledging your sadness

Grief is one of the most powerful feelings you may experience if you have lost your job, whether permanently or temporarily. The stages of sorrow may be familiar to you: denial, anger, bargaining, withdrawal, and acceptance. You may go through the phases of sorrow, in the same manner, you would if a loved one had died. Grief should be treated as you would any other loss.

You may be grieving activities at work that gave meaning and purpose to your life, among other losses. You may be mourning work achievements that you are proud of, as well as the loss of a sense of belongingness and identity. You might also be mourning the loss of coworker relationships and a sense of order in your day.

Keeping things in perspective

Keep in mind that this pandemic is forcing many companies to make difficult decisions all across the world. Keep in mind that staffing decisions are based on the pandemic and not your merits.

Looking out for resources

If you are having problems meeting necessities for yourself or your family due to unemployment, you can seek support from community resources. Receiving assistance with basic requirements such as food and shelter might help alleviate the stress of being unemployed.

Food banks, for example, maybe accessible through local, state, or federal resources to assist with basic requirements. Additionally, if you have lost your health insurance coverage in the United States, you might be able to receive affordable health insurance through HealthCare.gov. Unemployment assistance may be offered as well.

Assuming the best from others

Many people's anxiety levels can skyrocket during such unprecedented times. Dread, sadness, and hopelessness can overpower as a result. If you are having trouble, chances are that those around you are as well.

People may express themselves, as a result of such feelings, in ways you do not understand. When this happens, try to see the best in people. Try to be kind, recognising that others, like you, are probably doing their best to control their emotions during a crisis.

Making the best use of your energy

What energises you and what depletes your energy?

Make an effort to do more of the things that make you feel energised. Avoid being too hard on yourself or dwelling on your failures. Rather, be fair to yourself and look for ways to laugh, and be happy and calm.

Also, try to preserve your energy, just as you would if you were working. Instead of spending every minute looking for work, schedule breaks into your day. These breaks can also assist you in focusing less on future concerns.

Keeping your attention on the present

Bring your mind back to the current moment. Instead of worrying about the future, concentrate on what you can manage right now. Concentrate on your breathing, as well as what you hear and see. Consider how it feels to swing your arms, for example, if you are moving your body. Try to gently direct your thoughts back to the things you have control over in your life in case it wanders to worries about your career or income.

Using these techniques to focus. Your attention will help you clear your mind of stressful and anxiety-inducing thoughts.

Determining your worth

Look for fresh ways to realise the contributions you make to the world around you if you relate your sense of self-worth to your work. Make a list of things you like about yourself, like:

● What you are good at, what you are interested in, and what you know, and

● what you can rely on when it comes to yourself

This might help you recall that you possess these traits whether or not you are employed.

Finally, looking after yourself

If you are out of work due to the pandemic, remember that though you have no control over what happens to you, you do influence how you react. Try to minimise anger and frustration as that would most probably only lead to more problems with whoever you express it. Remember and acknowledge that it is not easy but it is also not easy for others around you, you might be anxious and stressed, those around might be feeling the same. So, try and incorporate compassion and calmly look for ways you can help yourself and others.

As you manage the days ahead, use these ways to take care of your mental and emotional health.

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