Unfortunately, many of us experience unemployment at some point in our lives. It is really hard to not have a job when you want or need one. Many studies have shown that unemployment has a big negative impact on wellness and mental health. The good news is that there a few things that help. Today, we share some tips and tricks, based in research, to help you combat the unemployment blues.
Why is Unemployment So Bad?
Unemployment leads to poor psychological and physical health. Unemployed people have more symptoms of depression, anxiety, distress, and lower self-esteem. Unfortunately, these issues continue to get worse the longer someone is unemployed. And they aren’t the only ones affected. As we discussed before, negative feelings at work can crossover to spouses and partners. Crossover happens during unemployment too. Sadly, your distress and lower mental health can lead to the same in your partner.
So, what makes unemployment so bad? The obvious answer is the financial hit. No job, no paycheck. Finances can cause a lot of stress. But, there’s more to it then just money. Without a job, people lose structure in their days, social contact outside of home, goals, and purpose. Luckily, you can turn this into a positive. If you are unemployed:
- Create a schedule for yourself to introduce structure;
- Get out of the house to network or spend time with friends;
- Create specific goals for yourself; and
- Find a purpose outside of work (maybe try volunteering or developing a new skill).
In addition to these tips, there’s more you can do! You can take the first job you get and flex those psychological capital skills. Read on!
Pick a Job, Any Job
We’ve established that losing your job and being unemployed is bad for wellness. However, all of that bad goes away as soon as you are reemployed! Interestingly, it doesn’t matter what type of job you get. Counterintuitive right? We thought so too!
So, what does this mean? If you are unemployed, don’t worry about finding the perfect job right away. We know that taking any job actually results in improved wellness. Maybe the job is lower paid, part-time instead of full-time, and only seasonal. That’s ok! You will see benefits from just being employed and can continue to look for the perfect job!
There’s definitely a cultural idea that we shouldn’t take jobs that are ‘beneath’ us. However, it’s not supported in the literature. People need the social contact, the structure, and, obviously, the money! Try not to be so concerned about the type of job- just take what you can while you find the right job.
Remember Psychological Capital?
We’ve talked about psychological capital before and how to develop it. Interestingly, having high psychological capital actually impacts coping with unemployment. It helps people stay motivated to continue doing job searches and deal with the situation that they are in.
Luckily, psychological capital is easy to work on. We outlined previously how to boost your hope, optimism, self-efficacy, and resiliency in a very simple intervention. If you are unemployed, give it a try! It should help you feel better and give you some resources to help you through this trying time.
In summary, unemployment can cause major wellness concerns but there are ways to mitigate them. Don’t forget to take care of yourself while you are coping with this new situation. Create a schedule, socialize, and build up your psychological capital! You can do it!
It’s important to note, however, that this is all about unemployment for those that want to be employed. If you are choosing to stay at home to take care of family members, are actively taking time away from work, or are in school, for example, this doesn’t apply!
Now we’d love to hear from you. Have you experienced unemployment? What did you do to stay well? Let us know below!