Battling Job Loss Anxiety? Here’s What You Should Do Next
It can be scary and frustrating to be unemployed, worrying about the future all the time. However, taking care of yourself and your mental health can help you cope with some of the stress.
As much as we were acquainted with the term "job loss", it took a different meaning of its own during the pandemic. With the pandemic affecting economies with companies forced to shut shop, businesses found themselves generating less to no income. This further led to companies downsizing themselves, cutting costs and even laying off employees having no funds to pay.
As an employee with a family to support, losing your employment can be one of life's most stressful time. Aside from the apparent financial anguish, the stress of job loss can also take a heavy toll on your mood, relationships, and overall mental and emotional health.
According to CNN, more than 20 million jobs in the United States were lost in April 2020, bringing the unemployment rate close to 15 percent. You may not always love the job you are doing. However, your job is a source of income to you. Furthermore, it likely provided you with a social outlet and gave a structure, purpose, and meaning to your life. Upon losing this, you may question your identity, grieve for the loss, or feeling anxious about what the future holds. The uncertainty of the future can create anxiety in your mind.
All of these symptoms only grew manifold during the pandemic. Unlike the pre-pandemic days, companies stopped hiring altogether. This left the unemployed with no avenue to get a job.
But when adversity of this magnitude strikes, what do you do? What are your next steps? Take a deep breath and relax, for we have you covered.
Here are 6 steps you can take to cope up with the anxiety of job loss.
1. Allow Yourself Time To Grieve And Accept
As a human, you needn't only lose a human being or a relationship to grieve its loss. Loss of any kind can bring about the same result on your mind and emotions. Therefore, take your time to grieve the loss of your job. When you allow yourself to feel without bottling them up, even the most unpleasant feelings pass away.
2. Open Up To Your Family:
Psychiatrist Dr. Harish Shetty says that it is best to sit down with your family and to come out with the truth. This is a practical way to prepare yourself and your family financially for the days ahead. Moreover, when in stressful situations, family members provide immeasurable support both emotionally and mentally. Keep them informed about your job search, and let them know how they can support you.
3. Build And Maintain A Routine:
It is easy to lose the routine we once built while we went to work every day, more so since we are grieving from the loss. But make it a habit to get yourself moving during the day. Exercise, after all, is a great antidote to stress. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes or more per day. You can even break that up into short, 10-minute bursts of activity. A 10-minute walk can raise your spirits for two hours.
To maximize stress relief:
- Focus on your body instead of your mind.
- Stay in the moment and experience how it feels as you move: the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the wind on your skin.
- As you walk, keep your thoughts on the lines of how this is a phase that will pass just as suddenly as it appeared.
4. Keep A Positive Outlook
As tough as it is to do than it seems, keeping a positive outlook can have many benefits on your mind, body and emotions. Begin your job search with a positive mindset, crossing the industry boundaries that you were so far confined to. Dr Shetty believes that it is best to avoid looking at one's visiting card when looking for a new job.
He says, "Don't feel ashamed to ask for a job. At the same time, avoid looking at your previous visiting card that depicts your position in the previous company. This will limit your mindset of applying to a company. Instead, apply to different jobs without singling out anything in particular." During the pandemic, we witnessed people switching their field of job to meet their financial needs.
5. Avoid Feeling Guilty:
It's easy to blame yourself when you are unemployed. But it is essential to avoid putting yourself down. You will need your self-confidence to remain intact as you will be looking for a new job. You need to understand that you lost your job because of the lockdown and not because you were bad at the job.
At the same time, as parents, you shouldn't feel guilty for being unable to provide for your children. Remember that you are teaching your kids to be resilient in any situation and to overcome challenges with minimal tools at hand. This will prove to be a life lesson even for your young ones.
6. Talk to a psychiatrist-
Even when you have taken all measures, there is a possibility of a mental breakdown. In such a situation, Dr Shetty advises that there is no harm in speaking to a mental health professional. He further says that he has come across individuals that avoid visiting a professional, belittling their problems. In reality, they fail to see the impact these problems can later have on their lives, if not addressed on time. Speaking to a professional helps you find a way when you feel like there is none.
It can be scary and frustrating to be unemployed, worrying about the future all the time. However, taking care of yourself and your mental health can help you cope with some of the stress. However, understand that if you're struggling to manage your mental health, it's not a sign of weakness. So don't be afraid to ask for help. Talking to a therapist can help. An online therapist is the best way to speak to one since many may not meet in person.
This article is originally published in SCIKEY