Unemployment stress can have a significant impact on your health in any situation. However, your stress levels may be more greater than typical during the coronavirus pandemic.
With our current condition and the nature of the global economy, finding a new job is unlikely to happen anytime soon. It’s also uncertain when the social distancing measures will expire or what the state of the economy will be when you may resume work.
When you combine the dread of being ill, the inability to leave the house, and the necessity to educate your children, you have a recipe for heightened mental health problems.
If you’ve lost your work, there are certain things you can do to cope with stress in a healthy way. Maintaining your mental health amid this crisis may be as simple as managing your distress and taking good action.
The Mental Health and Unemployment Connection
Depression, anxiety, suicide, substance addiction, and violence have all been related to unemployment. In fact, research suggest that persons who lose their jobs are twice as likely to experience sadness and anxiety symptoms than those who keep their work.
There are various reasons why being unemployed might have a negative impact on your mental health:
- Paying for basic essentials is challenging: Low income makes it difficult to buy food and pay rent. The stress that comes with it makes it harder to maintain mental health.
- Lack of meaning and purpose: Not contributing to society and not bringing in enough money to maintain the family might make some people feel as if their lives are meaningless.
- Reduced social engagement: Being unemployed can lead to reduced social interaction, which has a direct impact on one’s happiness and well-being.
- Fewer resources available to sustain mental health: When you have to dedicate your time and energy to managing your life (food, housing, and basic needs), you have fewer resources available to devote to habits that promote excellent mental health (exercising, maintaining social relationships, etc).
- Unhealthy coping techniques may be more appealing: While some people may respond to unemployment by reducing their spending on non-essential items, others may resort to unhealthy coping skills such as drugs and alcohol, which can have a negative impact on health and well-being.
When faced with this position, there are two major things you can do to manage your mental health: treat your unemployment and address how you feel about being unemployed.
Address the Issue
When you’re unemployed, it’s critical to take steps that will help you handle your difficulties, such as looking for resources to assist you manage your finances and looking for work.
Finding job during the coronavirus epidemic may be difficult. You might be waiting for firms to reopen so you can resume your previous employment. Or you might not know if your previous job would still exist after this.
Because there are few businesses recruiting right now, your chances of finding another employment are slim. But that doesn’t mean you should sit around waiting for things to improve. You can begin managing your finances and addressing your employment status right now.
This activity could involve the following:
- Apply for unemployment benefits: Applying for unemployment benefits can help you get out of debt.
- Look for new career opportunities: Whether you’re looking for a full-time job or ways to supplement your income in the “gig economy,” actively looking for work can make you feel better.
- Make a budget: Making a budget might help you feel more in control of your financial position.
- Manage your payments: Informing your credit card company, mortgage lender, and other financial organizations about your circumstances may result in lower payments. Financial organizations may also extend your payment deadline.
- Look for useful resources: Whether you want to speak with a career counselor or need assistance paying your power bill, there may be services accessible.
- Continuing your education: Taking credit classes or enrolling in an online course for personal enrichment could be beneficial to your career.
- Update your resume: If you start applying for new employment, updating your resume (and getting comments from others) may help you acquire a job.
Examine your feelings on the issue.
- You can address your mental problems in addition to your employment issues.
- Practice proper self-care: Getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are essential for coping with stress. If you want your mind to work at its best, you must take care of your body.
- Maintain social interaction: Even if you can’t see your friends and family in person, it’s critical to keep in touch. Regularly video chat, talk on the phone, or message each other. Positive social connection has been shown to significantly improve mental health.
- Organize your day: Following a routine can help you feel better. Make time to work on your job, to relax, and to do things that will help you enhance your mental health.
- Exercise is an important part of maintaining excellent mental health. Because most gyms are closed during the pandemic, you may have to get inventive. However, using an app or video to exercise in your living room might go a long way toward keeping you physically and emotionally fit.
- Reach for healthy coping skills: Journaling, meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are just a few healthy stress-relieving techniques. Make sure you have a variety of healthy coping strategies on hand so you can turn to something beneficial when your anxiety levels rise.
- Remove harmful coping mechanisms: You may be tempted to turn to substances that provide immediate relief, such as alcohol or food. However, in the long run, these things will bring you additional issues. So make unhealthy coping strategies more difficult to access and keep track of your usage. You don’t want to unintentionally exacerbate existing issues or introduce new ones into your life.
- When you’re ruminating, “change the channel”: dwelling on things over which you have no control will keep you in an unhealthy condition. Interrupt yourself if you find yourself complaining about how bad your life is or making doomsday predictions. Change the channel in your head by getting up and doing something. Make yourself busy with a task or activity.
- If you’re having trouble coping, talk to a mental health professional. You might feel better with talk therapy or medicine.