5 Ways to Care for Your Mental Health if You’re Unemployed

April 22, 2020 , Agape Treatment Center

how to take care of mental health while unemployedDuring these uncertain times, employment rates are skyrocketing and many people are left isolated in their homes, unemployed, and fearful of what the future has to hold. Losing a job or getting laid off is difficult for anyone and it can seriously affect your mental health if you don’t know how to cope. When someone suddenly becomes unemployed, they experience high levels of stress regarding how they will pay their bills, what their next job will be, and more. Plus, their daily routine is changed completely and, depending on the circumstances, unemployment can negatively affect a person’s self-esteem and mental health. As a result, it’s extremely important to actively care for your mental health if you’re unemployed.

People who experience unemployment are susceptible to depression and anxiety regarding their job loss. It’s completely normal to grieve the loss of a job or feel a little anxious about the uncertain future. However, what matters is how you care for your mental health while unemployed.

Why is it Important to Take Care of Your Mental Health While Unemployed?

If you fail to care for your mental health, it’s likely that mood swings, depression, and anxiety will begin dominating your life. It could make you too nervous to interview, too self-deprecating to apply for your dream job, or completely unable to pursue a potential employer due to a lack of self-confidence. Furthermore, many people frame their identities around the career that they choose, so job loss can make a person question their identity and abilities.

If you practice healthy coping strategies to care for your mental health while unemployed, you’ll have higher self-esteem, more stable moods, fewer bouts of anxiety and depression, and more confidence to go get your next job.

5 Coping Strategies During Unemployment

It’s tempting to spend a few days being lazy and grieving the loss of your job. However, getting stuck in this mindset can harm your mental health. Here are 5 coping strategies to implement to care for your mental health while unemployed.

1. Stick to a Daily Routine

When you have a daily routine that you stick to it’s a lot easier to be productive, stay motivated, and know what to expect throughout the day. Subsequently, this also makes it easier to counteract negative thinking and minimize the effects of symptoms of mental health conditions.

Lancet Psychiatry published a study that found people who have an active daytime routine have healthier sleeping habits. As a result, these individuals are less likely to suffer from mental health conditions and emotional problems.[1] Try waking up at the same time every day and following a daily routine – it will give you a sense of purpose while unemployed and help support your mental health.

2. Set Goals and Do Your Best To Meet Them

Is depression making it hard to get going in the morning? Do you have trouble keeping your priorities straight due to crippling anxiety? If so, take the time to write down a list of goals that you want to meet or accomplish every day. Whether that means sending out five job applications, updating your resume, or catching up on housework, setting goals gives you something to work towards. Unemployment affects people’s self-esteem but if you’re constantly working towards a goal, you’re constantly doing something to improve yourself. You will feel more accomplished, stay busy throughout the day, and start regaining your sense of self-worth.

3. Reach out to your Support Group

One of the most important things to do during uncertain or challenging times is reaching out to your support group. Support groups bring together like-minded people with similar experiences or conditions and provide an outlet for emotional support and friendships.[2] However, your support group doesn’t have to be a formal group that meets each week. Maybe, your support group is your friends and family. When facing major challenges and changes, support groups help people with mental health conditions by providing people with an opportunity to share their feelings, learn new coping strategies, and develop bonds with other people.

4. Take Care of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

Another important part of supporting your mental health while unemployed is self-care. Self-care refers to doing simple things that improve your mind, body, and soul. Examples of self-care include eating a balanced diet, keeping a regular sleep schedule, spending time outdoors, reading a book, meditating, exercising, avoiding alcohol and drugs, or taking a warm bath at the end of a long day. All of these small acts help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.[3] If you don’t take care of yourself, you’re likely to be more depressed and less motivated to accomplish your goals. Self-care should always be a priority, but especially while facing difficult times.

5. Spend Time Doing Things You Enjoy – Not Beating Yourself Up

So, you’re unemployed and have a little extra time on your hands. Why not learn a new hobby, pick up an old one that you were once passionate about, or dedicate some time to doing something you love? Doing things that you enjoy will help ease depression and anxiety. It will give you a sense of joy and purpose. You shouldn’t beat yourself up over losing a job or getting laid off – you can’t control it. What you can control is what you do about it – so take some time to do something that you’re passionate about. This will help fulfill your emotional needs and keep support your mental health while unemployed.

 

References:

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-gen-y-psy/201810/the-power-routines-in-your-mental-health
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/support-groups/art-20044655
  3. https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Family-Members-and-Caregivers/Taking-Care-of-Yourself