Layoff season: How losing a job impacts one's mental health
Losing a job can be stressful in many ways and can impact several aspects of life. Here's how unemployment can affect one's mental health.
Losing a job can be stressful in many ways and can impact several aspects of life. It not only leads to uncertainty, financial loss, job search stress but also impacts self-esteem negatively and in many cases trigger identity crisis. Such can be the impact that a person may feel uncomfortable mingling with other people, attending social events or even talking to their family members fearing judgment from them. Prolonged unemployment can even be more devastating as after remaining jobless for a considerable period of time, a person becomes hopeless, pessimistic and demotivated which over a period of time can affect their personality. (Also read: Zuckerberg's Meta gearing up for more layoffs? This report suggests so)
"There are a number of ways that unemployment could have a negative impact on one's health. It can lead to stress and low self-esteem brought on by the loss of the regular workday or the stigma associated with unemployment. A person could experience financial hardship, job insecurity, and diminished future earning potential (which damages health). Then there is social security system, which can harm mental health through the claims procedure, work capability testing, and job search requirements," says Nerissa Hendricks, Counselling Psychologist, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road.
GLOBAL LAYOFFS MAKING NEWS
Layoff has been trending on social media for the past many weeks as major companies including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Intel, Paypal have fired many employees citing economic downturn for their decision. Sudden job loss can have even more disastrous consequences on mental health as a person begins to doubt themselves. A person's self-esteem gets negatively affected in case of a layoff and this also impacts their confidence when they are interviewing for the next job.
"When a person feels weak, their self-confidence and belief in themselves will actually be their strongest assets," says Hendricks.
TACKLING JOB LOSS: TIPS TO MANAGE ANXIETY
The first step is accepting what has happened to you and then carefully devising strategy to move ahead. One should try to maintain a routine, indulge in self-care and keep meeting people to manage anxious thoughts.
"Everyone occasionally feels the worry associated with a job loss. However, the individual who has incurred a loss must concentrate on what they are able to manage, such as one's own thoughts. Continue to maintain relationships; have confidence in one's own abilities; search for the next course of action; and, until the individual discovers it, maintain a regular, healthy schedule," says the psychologist.
"Seeking mental health support if a person feels that they've been experiencing ongoing distress that is hurting one's own quality of life. But when it comes to regaining confidence, just think about one's own accomplishments in the past and the skills that enabled those accomplishments," says the expert.
IMPACT OF LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT ON MENTAL HEALTH
Long-term unemployment can have a detrimental effect on a person's self-esteem. A state of hopelessness, pessimism, and demotivation can develop over time in a person and can worsen.
"Long-term unemployed people frequently experience learned helplessness in addition to the continued feelings of despair and frustration. In this helpless state, the individual realises that no matter what they do, they have no control over their capacity to get employment and are entirely dependent on what the future has for them (fate dependency)," says Hendricks.
However, one should not give up and try to add new skills to their CV, make new contacts, and never stop believing in themselves.
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