Happy Tuesday, friends! (And a very special happy birthday to a long-time friend–you know who you are!) Yesterday, friend, life coach, counselor and fellow writer Diane Lang shared career tips related to handling a recent or impending job loss. Today, we continue that post with mental health tips to help get anyone dealing with this issue over the challenges associated with unemployment during “The Great Recession.”
Back to you, Diane! Yesterday’s representative question was:
I just lost my job a few months ago but I already feel the stress of being unemployed. I know my family is feeling stressed and concerned also. Any thoughts on dealing with being unemployed and keeping my sanity?
We know that the country’s jobless rate is over 9%; this is a very scary number. We have the highest jobless rate in over ten years and with many more living in fear of losing their job. Here are a few mental health tips to help you move forward if you lost your job or know layoffs are coming.
Mental Health tips:
1. Find Support. Having the right support group there for you through these tough times is key to beating unemployment stress. Make sure to have friends and family members that are supportive and non-judgmental who will listen. If you don’t know anyone in your situation, There are support groups for unemployed individuals, where people in the same situation discuss their feelings and offer suggestions on how to cope. You can also get professional counseling if you would rather have one on one support.
2. Keep to a routine. This keeps a sense of normalcy, Since work has been taken out of the picture, try to structure a day around other activities. Wake up at a designated time and carry out tasks on a schedule to stay occupied. We are happier when we have a daily routine/schedule. We feel more organized and productive. Looking for a job is a full-time job in and of itself so treat it as such by spending your work day searching, networking, and planning your next steps.
3. Exercise. Start moving around! “3 -4 times a week of walking or running is enough is reduce your stress hormones and increase your endorphins,” which naturally make you feel happier.
Exercise will also help keep you healthy mentally and physically, Especially if you’re not eating or sleeping well due to depression and stress. It’s important to make sure your basic needs are met.
4. Have fun! Take the time to enjoy life. Call up a friend, indulge in your hobby, read, cook— whatever you want! Looking for a new way to have fun? Try volunteering for a local charity. Volunteering also brings us joy and allows us to meet new people and take risks. You can also volunteer with your kids, a great way to spend quality time together while helping others and teaching respect. It also helps kids develop self-esteem.
5. Communicate. Make sure to talk with your spouse and kids. Have an open dialogue with them about your struggles and triumphs during unemployment. This will keep them informed about what you are going through and how you are feeling. They are probably feeling stressed and worried, too. It’s normal for both the unemployed spouse and family to feel stress and concern BUT if there is no communication it can lead to arguments, resentment and isolation.
Please allow me to add three, Diane: Make use of the unexpected windfall of time. (You’d find me attacking the basement, going through files, cleaning out closets–getting to all those projects that constantly go to the wayside. sometimes I think it really good that I DON’T have an attic!) Keeping a journal of your feelings might also be helpful for dealing with the roller-coaster ride of emotions associated with the changes and challenges unemployment undoubtedly brings. Keep a running gratitude list. Listing the good really helps with perspective.
For more information please visit Diane’s website:www.dlcounseling.com or e-mail Diane at Lifeline36@aol.com.
Once again I thank you, Diane, for two very encouraging posts. Part of balance and wellness (physical, mental and emotional) is feeling supported and empowered. All that you’ve shared these past two days can make all the difference during what has to be a very difficult time.
Have a wonderful day, everyone, and stop in Friday, when The Most Outrageous Thing returns! 🙂