In a down economy, losing your job can feel like going from the frying pan and into the fire. Add in the current pandemic, and an already stressful situation is made worse with job loss anxiety. How does a person navigate the anxiety that comes with job loss and come out the other side of it, whole? The uncertainty that comes after job loss is real. The grief and depression that comes with it is documented.
If your identity was closely linked to your job and/or you are the bread-winner for your family, the anxiety might feel heavier. What you are feeling is real and sometimes “getting over it” is not as easy as it can be said. In this post, we will talk about how to cope if you have lost your job during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tips to cope with job loss anxiety as a side effect of COVID-19
There is a future beyond job loss.
It doesn’t always feel that way, but it is important to realize that there is a future after a job loss. Yes, this may have been your dream job or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you. And we acknowledge that such a loss is painful.
The first step to recovery, however, is to realize that there is a future beyond job loss. You may not clearly see that future right now. But realizing it, will help you take the next steps.
Grief after job loss is real
Your grief is real.
Your job was an essential part of your daily routine. You probably found friends in your job and had close relationships there. Thus losing your job can feel akin to losing a person you love.
Scientist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross defined the stages of grief and people going through a job loss will experience all or some of these stages.
The stages of grief start with denial where the person grieving is in shock and may deny what has just happened. The grief comes to an end when the individual finally accepts the reality of the loss.
If you’re feeling this way or anything in between, it is valid. Speaking to a psychiatric counselor in these instances can be helpful.
Come up with a plan
Now that we’ve admitted that your emotions are valid, it is time to come up with a plan. This plan does not have to be complicated. And it should involve both how you’re going to get a new position and how you will take care of yourself, as you go through this transition.
Here is what components of that plan may look like.
Applying for unemployment
Put in an application for unemployment while you look for a new position. While it may not cover every single financial commitment you have, it will help alleviate some of the financial stress.
Creating a plan for looking for new jobs
Create a plan for looking for new jobs. Looking for a job is a full-time job. Be intentional and set aside 2-3 hours each day where you look for jobs that you’re interested in. To go the extra step so you are organized, you can create a spreadsheet to keep track of the positions and companies you’ve applied to.
Creating a budget
During this transition, it is a smart idea to create a budget to help you manage the money you have better.
Call your utility companies to negotiate rates/payments
Utility companies usually have payment plans and reduced rates for low-income situations. Call them to find out how you can work with them to lower some of your monthly payments.
Reach out to friends, acquaintances, and connections on LinkedIn
Your friends, acquaintances, and people you have been connected to professionally in the past can be excellent sources of information as well as job referrals as you look for a new job.
According to a news report on NPR, around 70% of jobs are not publicly posted or advertised. Yet these jobs get filled! This happens because companies will heavily rely on their workforce recommending somebody in their network.
So, who you know is indeed important when it comes to landing a new job. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to people during this time. A door you were not expecting might just be waiting for you.
This would also be a good time to join any local or virtual networking events that are relevant to you.
Learn new job skills
One of the things you may have heard at the beginning pandemic was the idea of learning a new skill or hobby as we quarantined.
Well, learning a new skill as you transition between jobs is a great idea too. Learning platforms like Skillshare, Udemy, and Coursera give you the opportunity to learn courses for free or for very cheap.
LinkedIn Premium also has LinkedIn Learning that you can access if you pay $29 per month.
The world and technology changes rapidly. Keeping up with it gives you a competitive advantage.
Create a plan to care for yourself
While you look for opportunities that help your family and financial situation, it is important to have a plan that takes care of you.
Your physical and mental health is important during this time. So make a plan that involves some form of exercise. Exercise is well-documented to boost your mood in addition to the physical benefits it provides.
Taking care of your mental health could include speaking with a mental health practitioner who can give you the tools to successfully navigate your emotions and actions.
It doesn’t matter which path you take, as long as you are taking time out for yourself.