The unemployment can take a serious toll on your well-being under any circumstance. The stress of unemployment causes decreased quality of mental health, life satisfaction, and objective physical well-being. The unemployed are likely to worry about their financial situation, never knowing for sure when they will find a new job. It’s a difficult time. But many unemployed people suffer from depression, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to cope with the stress in a healthy way if you’ve lost your job. Managing your distress and taking positive action may help you maintain your mental health.
Validate that it’s difficult.
One of the most important things to do is to treat yourself with kindness and warmth during this time. Be compassionate to yourself. You can tell yourself that you have every right to feel sad, anxious, angry and even confused. You are human and these are natural feelings during this time. Having said that, it’s also important to think of moving to the next step—as soon as it seems feasible for you. You are not going to be better off feeling terrible for too long.
Accept reality as it is.
There are a lot of things that we have learned to accept in life—traffic, unfairness, getting older, disappointments, and losses. Accepting reality simply means that you recognize that it is what it is—without protesting or ruminating about it. For example, Ted’s company was downsizing and he was laid off. He finally recognized that he had to live with what was given—however unfair and unpleasant it was. It was hard to accept, but there really wasn’t any better alternative. At least accepting it gave him a starting point: “Where do I go from here?”
Break down your day into small tasks.
Every big task in life, like finding a new job, can be broken down into small steps. Make a list with a couple things to do each day. “Say, I’m going to update my LinkedIn page, update my resume. I’m going to go for a walk”. Try to find other moments here and there to settle your nervous system, connect back to your sense of self, and connect with other people.
Develop a daily plan of action.
Just because your prior job ended doesn’t mean you don’t have a current job. Your current job is looking for a job. Dedicate a couple of hours each day to your job search. This can include looking at ads, contacting people who are potential leads in a network of people in your field, and asking for more leads to contact. You can expect that there will be lots of dead-ends, but –like sales—looking for a job takes persistence. You never know when a job opens up and you happen to be the person they are looking for.