Ways to cope with anxiety due to job loss during COVID-19
- Dr.Pallavi Arvind Joshi -
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on everyday life.People are impacted both directly and indirectly from the virus through the economic fallout.We have seen job losses due to the pandemic.Everyone knows someone who has been laid offor lost their position. This isnot only a financial challenge for all who have suddenly lost their jobs butit also poses a psychological challenge.Whether it's temporary or permanent, unemployment can lead to stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges. Uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic only adds to the angst.
With work, we feel a greater sense of self-esteem and a sense of purpose. There are monetary reasons and financial reasons for working, but it is also a way to feel connected to others. Job loss has a huge impact on several fronts like psychological and financial. But it is important to come to terms with accepting the situation.
Some people go into control mode and try to control everything. However, this will not help and we have to accept that we are not as much in control of our situation as we would like to be. Losing a job often equates to the grief of losing a loved one, process of emotionally coping can include anger which can eventually lead to acceptance and hope. With time and the right coping techniques, you ease your stress, anxiety, and depressionand move on with your working life.
Here are tips to help cope with stress due to job loss
· Accept the reality of the situation- While it is important to acknowledge how difficult job loss can be, it is equally important to avoid self-pitying. Rather than dwelling on your job loss—the unfairness, the ways you could have prevented it, try to accept the situation. The sooner you do so, you can get on with the next phase in your life.
· Avoid blaming yourself- It’s easy to start blaming yourself when you are unemployed. But it is important 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 job because of the lockdown and not because you were bad at the job.
· Look for any silver lining- The feelings caused by loss of a job is easier to accept if you can find the lesson in your loss. Maybe your unemployment has given you a chance to reflect on what you want out of life and rethink your career priorities.
· Reach out to your closed ones-Your natural tendency at this difficult situation may be to withdraw from friends and family out of embarrassment. But donot underestimate the importance of other people when facing the stress of job loss. Nothing works better than sharing your thoughts with your loved ones.The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to offer solutions; they just have to be a good listener, someone who’ll listen without passing judgement.
· Exercise- If work commitments prevented you from exercising regularly before, it is important to make the time now. Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress. It helps in relaxing tense muscles and relieving tension in the body, exercise releases powerful endorphins to improve your mood.
· Take care of yourself-The stress of job loss and unemployment can take a toll on your well-being and leave you more vulnerable to mental health problems. Don’t let your job search consume you. Make time for restand relaxation. Your job search will be easierif you are mentally, emotionallyand physically at your best.
· Get adequate sleep- Sleep has a huge influence on your mood and productivity. Make sure you’re getting the required sleep every night. It will help in keeping stress levels under control and maintain focus throughout the job search.
· Positive self-dialogues and affirmations- Often we talk lot of negative things to our-self which doesn’t serve any good purpose. Telling ourselves things like “I lost my job, but this doesn’t define me, I have more strengths and resources and I will overcome this hard time”. Using such positive affirmations can help us a lot
· Write your achievements-By noting down your achievements on the paper and reading it several times a day, can be a big booster for self confidence
· Stay away from negativity-Anything or anyone that can leave a negative impact on you, stay away from issues. Don’t discuss your issues with everyone
· Read Biographies-Besides entertainment, biographies help in getting motivation and relief from your suffering. It does make one realize that people go through problems and find way out of the issue is way of life.
· Talk to psychiatrist-If none of these help you, consult a psychiatrist.
If you have been unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remember that while you can't control the situation, you can control how you respond. Try these strategies to take care of your mental and emotional health. If you are still struggling with anxiety and stress, it is better to reach out a healthcare provider who will be able to treat and help you manage the situation well.
About the Author
Dr.Pallavi Arvind JoshiAuthor & Consultant
Dr.Pallavi Arvind Joshi Consultant – Psychiatrist, Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield
Disclaimer : The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely her / his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of INVC NEWS.