With unprecedented numbers of workers losing their jobs due to the current pandemic, there is raised awareness of the mental health impact of job losses. Most people’s first thought when they hear that someone has become unemployed is to think about the financial implications. While these are relevant, few people think about how a job loss affects a person’s psyche.
Here are some ways that becoming unemployed can affect someone’s mental health and make getting a new job even more challenging:
Loss of identity
For most workers, their job forms an integral part of their identity. When they meet new people, the topic of work inevitably arises, and they will discuss what they do for a living. This could involve explaining their job description in more detail or unpacking some of the technical aspects of what they do.
When this is taken away, a person might experience an identity crisis. You wake up the next morning feeling that a significant chunk of who you are has been taken away in an instant. If you feel this way, find a therapist near you who can help you adapt to your new normal and find new ways to reclaim your identity. Psych Times provides users a chance to look for a therapist in their area who can help.
When a breadwinner loses their job, it is common for them to worry about their family’s financial future. It can be a scary time where everything they are accustomed to might change substantially to weather the financial storm while searching for new employment. A lot of this anxiety is driven by guilt, which is self-directed despite the person not having done anything wrong that resulted in the job loss.
Anxiety can become crippling and prevent you from finding another job because it comes across in your interview performance. A therapist can teach you ways to manage your anxiety, including meditation and breathing or visualization techniques that help you find a sense of inner tranquility and reduce the chances of your anxiety becoming an obstacle to reemployment.
While losing a job can cause a person to sink into a deep depression, the hunt for a new one can make things worse. It might seem that you are sending out hundreds of resumes and receiving little, or any, response or interest from potential employers. This might make you feel like giving up on looking for work altogether.
This feeling of depression will come across in your interviews and put you at a disadvantage compared with other candidates. It is normal to feel depressed after a job loss and want to wallow in your sorrows for a while.
However, you cannot stay in that mindset for long. Process the job loss and start looking to the future and finding new employment. If you are struggling with this, seek professional help from a therapist or counselor so that it does not become a long-term issue.
There is a degree of shame that many people feel after losing their jobs. This makes them turn inward instead of seeking support from others. They bottle up their feelings of rejection and embarrassment.
Given the times we are living in, you are hardly the only person who is facing unemployment. No one understands it better than those who are in the same boat. After mass layoffs, contact colleagues and friends who are going through the same thing as you. Build up a support network and be there for each other while embarking on your reemployment quest. A sense of camaraderie will do wonders for your self-esteem and theirs.