Coping with job loss and unemployment stress
Updated : January 16th, 2012
Our jobs are much more than just the way we make a living and its usual to feel helpless, hurt or angry after losing it. They give us purpose, meaning and influence how we see ourselves, as well as the way others see us. Beyond the loss of income, unemployment also comes with other major losses and is one of the most stressful things you can experience.
These days every newscast includes discussion of wide-scale joblessness and economic crises at home and abroad. The American worker has been taken on a roller coaster ride over the last few years that have left many in a tailspin when it comes to their health and their jobs. Filing for unemployment is one thing, but dealing with unemployment stress is a different kind of challenge.
Dr. Brian associate professor at Argosy University, Seattle says, “An unusually high unemployment rate for a prolonged period of time means that twice as many people are dealing with being unemployed.” “Losing job can mean losing your individuality and the longer that period of unemployment lasts, the more negative effect it can have on your emotional health. There is no stability for job anymore but you can get through stress of unemployment by controlling the situation and focusing on your goals.
As per a study made on the health effects of being long-term laid-off by Kate Strully, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health, “For those who lost their job through no fault of their own, such as an establishment closure, the odds of reporting fair or poor health increased by 54 percent, and among respondents with no pre-existing health conditions, it increased the odds of a new health condition by 83 percent. Even when workers became re-employed, those workers had an increased risk of new stress-related health conditions.”
Dr. Marianne Greenfield, program chair at Argosy University says that the five stages of the grief process are anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Those individuals who relate their identity with their job can progress to the point of self-doubt, negativity and hinders their ability to move forward. Moreover, the long-term joblessness can also lead to instances of insomnia, depression and anxiety.
The experts suggest that the unemployed must build a strong network of emotional support. Usual exercise, rest and proper appetite help keep you on track during your job search. Be careful not to self medicate with drugs and alcohol. In this instance, it can be easy to get isolated from others as depression and isolation go hand in hand. As per Greenfield, “Doing something that helps others has a beneficial effect on how you feel about yourself. The meaning and purpose you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life.”
“There is a difference between and having a reaction and having a breakdown,” says Riedesel. It is advisable to consult a professional, if you can’t control the mental and emotional symptoms as a result of unemployment.