The stress of unemployment can take a severe toll on your well-being under any condition. But during the COVID-19 crisis, your stress levels may be even greater than regular times.
With our present situation and the state of the world economy, there is much less chance of finding a new job anytime soon. And it’s unclear when the lockdown measures will end or what shape the economy will be when you can return to work.
Add in the inability to leave home, fear of getting sick, and the need to educate your kids, and you’ve got a recipe for an increased risk of mental health problems.
Fortunately, there are various measures you may take to cope with the stress healthily if you’ve lost your job. Taking affirmative action and managing your distress can help you maintain your mental well being during this crisis.
[Also Read: Coping with COVID-19]
The Link Between Unemployment and Mental Health
Job loss has been associated with a higher risk of anxiety, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and violence.
Here are several reasons why not working can take a severe toll on your mental health:
1. Struggling to pay for basic needs
Reduced earnings makes it challenging to pay for housing and purchase food. The related stress makes it tough to stay healthy mentally.
2. Lack of purpose
Not bringing home any income to support the family and not contributing to society can leave some people feeling as though their lives lack purpose and meaning.
3. Limited social interaction
Not having a job can mean little social interaction, which takes a heavy toll on well-being and mood.
4. Little resources available to maintain psychological well being
When your energy and time have to go into managing your life (housing, food, and basic amenities), you have scarce resources left to devote to behaviors that promote good mental health (maintaining social relationships, exercising, etc.).
5. Unhealthy coping skills may be more appealing
While some people may respond to job loss by cutting things that cost more, others turn to sick coping skills like alcohol and drugs, which can take a toll on well-being and health .
You can do two significant things to manage your mental health when faced with this situation: address how you feel about being unemployed and address your unemployment.
6. Tackle the Problem
It’s essential to take action to help solve your issues when you’re unemployed, such as looking for employment and looking for resources that help you handle your financial strain.
During the COVID-19 crisis, however, looking for a job might not be so simple. You might be waiting for enterprises to open up, so you can return to your previous position. Or you might not be sure if your old job will even exist when this is gone .
Few places are hiring right now, so your chances of getting another job are restricted. But this doesn’t mean you should remain idle for things to get better. You can address your employment situation and take action now to manage your finances.
This action might include things such as:
1. Apply for unemployment
Filing for unemployment may minimize your financial burden.
2. Look for new work opportunities
Whether you search for a new full-time position, or you look for ways to earn some bucks in the “gig economy,” actively searching for work can help you feel good.
3. Create a budget
Preparing a budget can help you gain a better sense of control over your financial condition.
Manage your payments: Explaining your condition to your mortgage lender, credit card company, and other financial organizations can help lessen your payments. Financial institutions can also grant you more grace period to pay your bills.
4. Search for helpful resources
Whether you’re looking for help with paying your electric bill or want to consult a career counselor, there can be resources available.
5. Further, your education
Signing up for an online course for your enrichment or taking classes for credit could be useful.
6. Update your resume
Improving your resume (and asking for suggestions from others) can improve your chances of getting a job if you start applying for new jobs.
7. Tackle How You Feel About the Problem
Besides addressing your employment concerns, you may also address your emotional strain head-on.
8. Practice good self-care
Eating a healthy diet and getting adequate sleep are essential to managing your condition. You must take care of your mind if you want your body to function properly.
9. Maintain social interaction
While it may not be possible to connect with your friends in person, it’s crucial to stay in touch. Talk on the phone, video call, or message one another frequently. Positive social interaction can significantly enhance your mental well being.
10. Structure your day
Sticking to a schedule can help you feel good. Make time for leisure, time to work on your job situation, and time to do things that improve your mental well being.
11. Get physically active
Exercise is a crucial component of positive mental health. During the crisis, you may need to get innovative since most gymnasiums are closed. But exercising in your living room with a video or an app can go a long way toward supporting you to stay mentally and physically fit.
`12. Reach for healthy coping skills
Meditating, writing in a journal, yoga, and deep breathing are just a few ideas of healthy ways to relieve stress. Make sure you have abundant excellent coping skills at your disposal to reach for something healthy when your distress starts to spiral out of control.
Talk to a professional if you’re finding it difficult: If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or have difficulty functioning, contact a mental health practitioner. Medication or talk therapy can help you feel better.
[Also Read: Tips to Handle Unemployment Anxiety]
It’s scary and frustrating to be out of work. And it’s challenging to plan for the future right now due to the uncertainty of the conditions. But taking care of your mental well being and yourself can help you cope with some of the distress you’re experiencing.
However, if you’re struggling to manage your mental health, it’s not a sign of cowardice. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Talking to a therapist can help. And there are multiple ways to consult a therapist online right now, so you don’t even have to step out of your nest to do it.