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How to look after your mental health when you're unemployed

Dealing with unemployment, whether you’ve lost your job due to redundancy or not been able to find work during the Covid-19 pandemic, can be stressful and cause anxiety.

With recent news headlines sharing risk of redundancy for those currently in work as well as a rise in unemployment figures throughout the UK, it’s not surprising that many people find themselves concerned about dealing with future unemployment. Uncertainty can be difficult to deal with at any time. It's natural to worry about how you may cope if you find yourself losing your job.

So whether you’re currently unemployed or are concerned about the future, here are some tips that can help when dealing with anxiety about unemployment:

  • Maintain balance in your life. If you’ve lost your job or are dealing with other employment challenges, looking for work or completing paperwork can begin to feel like it consumes your entire life. Remind yourself that your search will be most effective if you’re emotionally and physically strong. Set boundaries on your job search and schedule time for fun and rest, too.
  • Keep up a routine to help you feel more in control. Work demands can help us feel motivated and productive. When we no longer have that it’s important to build this back into our daily routine. Consider setting a schedule for the day even when you aren’t working.
  • Know what’s in your control and what isn’t. When we aren’t working it is easy to feel like our destiny is in other people’s hands and this can feel overwhelming. Take note of what about a situation is out of your control and what you can control. Perhaps you can’t control if a potential employer responds to your application by refreshing your email 20 times in a minute, but you can control setting up networking meetings, learning a new skill and taking time for self care.
  • Remember your self-worth and value. Work can be a big part of our identity but it does not define us. Take an inventory of all you have to offer. Ask yourself: what am I good at? What do I like about myself? What do I care about?
  • Allow yourself to grieve. Job loss or job change is a loss - of routine, coworker relationships, a sense of belonging, etc. Give yourself room to grieve. Allow yourself to feel however you are feeling and know that the grief won’t last forever.
  • Keep your mind on the present. If you notice your mind wandering to the past or future simply acknowledge these feelings and refocus your energy on the present moment. If you feel yourself wondering ‘What if?’, try stopping and taking some breaths. You can follow along with our 4-7-8 breathing technique. What else can you do right now to build joy or relaxation?

If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious and struggling to cope with your mental health, our trained Shout Volunteers are here to support you, 24/7.

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