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How to Cope with the Effects of Unemployment during COVID-19

Many people across the globe are coping with unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Whether it’s temporary or permanent, job loss can lead to feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety, and the addition of COVID-19 related worries only adds to it.

If the pandemic has left you jobless, you may feel negative emotions, such as:

  • A loss of identity

  • No sense of purpose

  • Unappreciated

  • Jealous of others who are still working

  • Worried about how to provide for your family

Not everyone may have these feelings, but if you do, this blog will help you. It will discuss the ways you can learn to cope with the feelings and effects of unemployment.

Accept your feelings

The first step is to accept your feelings, and from there find the ways that best suit you to cope. Remind yourself that you are human and that your brain is hard-wired to look for threats. When your brain comes across a threat, like unemployment, it sends signals known as the fight-or-flight response which causes your pulse and breathing to increase and your muscles to tense. When this happens, take a deep breath and step back for a moment. Give yourself credit and accept your feelings.

Acknowledge your grief

If you’ve lost your job permanently, grief is a predominant emotion you may feel. The stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, withdrawal, and acceptance. You may experience these feelings in the same way you would with the death of a loved one, and you should address these in the same way.

Among the overall loss, you may grieve the smaller activities within your role that brought meaning to your life, or you may grieve career accomplishments, or relationships with co-workers.

Maintain perspective

Keep reminding yourself that the coronavirus pandemic caused many companies globally to make difficult decisions regarding budgets and employment, meaning that staffing decisions made through these times are related to COVID-19, not your worth.

Everyone’s in the same boat

The thing with the coronavirus pandemic is that it has occurred across the world, and everyone has been affected by it. It has caused anxiety levels to rise for many people and feelings of dread and stress to increase. If you’re struggling, others may be too, as everyone is in the same boat.

It can help to share these feelings with others and act as support for each other to cope with the current situation. Learn to have compassion, and realise that people are doing their best to manage their own feelings.

Use your energy wisely

Everything already feels a lot heavier during this time, so it is more important to focus your time on the things that boost your energy, including spending time to care for yourself. Just like if you were working, attempt to save your energy for the whole week by building breaks in your day instead of spending all your time and energy looking for work.

Focus on the present

Try to focus on the current moment and what you can control within that moment, rather than what you can control in the future. We recommend focusing on breathing techniques in these moments to ground yourself again, and also appreciate the free time you have in the present to care for yourself and prioritise your self-care.

Find your value

If you can connect your self-worth to your work, you can see the contributions you make to the world. Think about what you’re good at, what you care about, what you know, and what you know you’re capable of. This can help you remember how valued you are, and give yourself a confidence boost.

If you’re unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic, remind yourself that you can’t control what happens to you, only how you respond to the situation. Try these strategies to take care of your mental health and cope with the effects of unemployment.

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