Coping with Effects of Sudden Unemployment During the Pandemic

Coping with Effects of Sudden Unemployment During the Pandemic

“According to official figures, the rate of unemployment benefits claimed by people has surged to 2.7 million between March and July. 5 million salaried people lost their jobs in India in July. A total of 18.9 million salaried jobs have been lost since the lockdown began. While the initial job loss reports in April were from small traders, hawkers and daily wagers, by July the situation worsened for high-paying jobs. The COVID outbreak has led to a spike in the country’s unemployment rate to 27.11% for the week ended May 3, up from the under 7% level before the start of the pandemic in mid-March, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has said. The impact of this on the mental health of an individual would be harsh.”The World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020, declared the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, post which almost all countries announced a complete lockdown. There is a continuous trepidation of the personal and professional lives of people due to the coronavirus and lockdown. During these times, it is important for us to be prepared with coping strategies for a better mental well-being. Regardless of whether it's transitory or lasting, joblessness can prompt pressure, tension, sadness and other emotional wellness challenges. Vulnerability identified with the COVID-19 pandemic just adds to the anxiety.
If there is a chance that the COVID-19 pandemic has left you jobless, you might be encountering numerous feelings and disturbing contemplations. For instance, you may feel:

  1. Lost personality and feeling of direction
  2. Undervalued, and you may no longer feel appreciated.
  3. Rate, frightened and desirous of other people who can work even now
  4. Lost, as though you don't have a clue what to do straightaway
  5. Stressed over how you will deal with yourself and your family and fulfil their basic needs

Not every person will have these feelings, yet even those adapting admirably to joblessness may encounter some of them at times.
The initial phase in adapting to the psychological and emotional impacts of joblessness is accepting that your feelings are normal and valid. From that point, try these steps to deal with your thoughts and feelings:

  1. Accept your feelings
    When we have an uncomfortable feelings like sadness, fear or any form of embarrassment, we tend to deny those feelings and try to move past it by distracting ourselves or indulging in activities that would push the feeling away like alcohol or drugs. An alternative to pushing away your feelings is learning to accept every emotion we experience. Accepting emotions would mean that you are not judging or trying to get rid of the feelings, instead, you embrace the feeling you are experiencing. The feelings associated with the loss of a job is very powerful and may be difficult to deal with on one’s own self. Talking to a trained professional can help you work through your emotions and feelings and restore your self-esteem.
  1. Carefully analyze and plan your financial circumstances
    It’s important that you understand your spending habits and de-clutter accounts accordingly. Prioritize your needs and concentrate on saving money since the situation can last longer than we expect. Explore various other skills or aptitudes that you may possess so that the chances of re-employment increase.
  1. Focus in the present
    It is very essential for us to live in the present and not worry about what the future holds since the times are very uncertain. Concentrate on what you can control right now. Focus on your breathing, what you hear or what you see. In case you're moving your body, consider how it feels to swing your arms, for instance. If your mind happens to focus on worries about your job or the situation, try to bring it back to the present and think about the things you have control over. Concentrating on the present would help you relieve the stress and anxiety that you might happen to experience with constant worry.
  1. Know your worth
    If you constantly connect your self-worth to the work you do, explore other things that you do around to make a difference in the lives of your close ones or otherwise. Think about the contribution you make to the world. Try and make a list of things you are good at, your qualities, and your skills. This would remind you of your self-worth even when you are not working.
  1. Indulge yourself in physical activities
    Exercising is a great way to relieve stress. It releases endorphins which improves your mood and makes you feel relaxed. Find an exercise that you enjoy and try and do it regularly for at least 30 minutes as it would also help you boost your self-confidence.

  1. Meditate
    Deep breathing and meditation calms your system and brings about a balance in your biology and thoughts. It teaches you to stay composed even in stressful situations and keep things in perspective. Taking out 5 to 10 minutes in a day would make a huge difference in your stress levels. Various resources are available online to guide one through the meditation process.
  1. Learn a new skill
    Ever thought about learning something and then sighing disappointedly because you did not have the time to see it though? This is your chance to furnish an existing skill or learn a completely new skill.
  1. Take proper care of yourself
    Unemployment stress can take a major toll on your mental health, so it’s important that you take good care of yourself. If you are mentally sane, it will make the job search process more effective. Make a routine wherein you allot time to both fun activities and work. Do whatever makes you feel relaxed and happy. Always remember that you cannot control what is happening with you but you can always control how you respond. Seek help and talk to a professional if you feel the need.

A dramatic shift like this in one’s life can be anxiety-provoking. Adding to this is the global pandemic and the lockdown, which gives a feeling that the world is coming to an end. You may be struggling to deal with feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and an uncertain future. You must be worried about your finances, family, expenses, health and finding a new job simultaneously and also trying to cope with the loss of daily routine and the loss of sense of security. This rollercoaster of emotions can create a lot of havoc within oneself. Try out the above-mentioned ways to deal with these difficult times and take care of your mental health.

About the Author

Anvi Grover
Counselling Psychologist.

I am a counseling psychologist and I am dedicated to cultivating a supportive, stimulating, and inclusive environment. My decision to become a psyc

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