On the 14th July 2020, The Sun newspaper published an article claiming that unemployment could treble this year to 3 million as predicted by the Office for Budget Responsibility as, worst-case scenario, the economy will face its worst crash for 300 years. The data shows that following this, unemployment will fail to reach pre-COVID levels until 2024. Even in its most optimistic scenario, output is predicted to drop to 10.6% this year.
Finding work during lockdown and the drastic drop in vacancies explains the financial worries the economy faces as a result of the pandemic.
Although let’s not forget how this impacts individual lives. One young person went from a ‘comfortable salary’ to ‘absolutely zero’ whilst he detailed his lack of sleep, fatigue and stress. As a new employee, he wasn’t entitled to the furlough scheme and having just bought a new car, had no savings to rely on.
How to Cope with Unemployment
- It Isn’t Just You
Since March 23rd, The Office for National Statistics has reported 600,000 Brits have lost their jobs covering a wide variety of sectors. The Department for Work and Pensions processed 3.2 million new applications for Universal Credit at the start of lockdown. Reminding yourself that this is happening to many other people does not provide happiness or relief, however it does make you feel less alone. These are circumstances we could have never predicted and it can feel overwhelming, but knowing that others are facing similar challenges can provide some sort of comfort.
- Put Yourself Out There
I know many people who become unemployed and experience a sense of shame of embarrassment. Especially in this situation, it could not be helped. You most likely didn’t do anything wrong and cannot keep blaming yourself. Remember that you don’t have control over everything in your life and although you might feel like curling up into a ball and feeling sorry for yourself which is understandable, there is potentially much to be gained from letting people know that you’re actively looking for work as more opportunities might come your way.
- Give Yourself Time to Grieve
This is different to taking a break from your job applications and needs to be executed purposefully and meaningfully. You have faced a pandemic which has brought its own set of challenges, but along with that, you have lost a part of your life that may have brought you structure, purpose, an income, and made up a big part of your identity. Don’t judge yourself for feeling angry or disappointed or worried about your own future. You may benefit from acknowledging and embracing these negative emotions, as hauling them up can affect your mood and the way you interact with people. And remember, it is only temporary!
- Create a Sleep Schedule
It is common to have trouble sleeping following unemployment. You may feel anxious and/or stressed even without considering your concerns over the pandemic. If you fail to get sufficient sleep, it has impacts on your decision-making and focus. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning. Keep your use of electronics to a minimum and stay off them completely in the hour before you go to bed. Aid your body and mind into sleep through promoting relaxation before bed such as meditating or reading.
- Implement Structure
You have lost a part of your life that gave you a sense of purpose and filled up a large part of your day. Now that you have found yourself with unstructured time, you may not know how to manage it. It is important to keep some routine to your life whether it’s eating your meals at the same time, having a designated half hour for exercise, or catching up with loved ones. Exercise will also improve your mental health, resulting in mood-boosting endorphins, and keep your immune system strong and healthy.
- Stay Hopeful
Although, the future might feel bleak, try your best to think positively and spend your time productively. Use your free time to enhance your public profile or complete online courses to develop skills employees are looking for. You could reach out to local organisations and offer to work on a voluntary basis if this is feasible for you. It will help to keep you busy and engaged with the industry. You never know when a job opportunity might come up and they’re likely to consider the person that’s already dedicating their time towards the company.
Going into the Future
Uncertainty is a very common cause of stress and right now, for many of us, we are dealing with grief, loneliness, unemployment, relationship problems and more. If stress is not managed and guided towards relief, it has the potential to become a lot more serious and can cause long-term problems. Get in touch for a confidential chat to talk through your problems and learn strategies you can implement instantly.