Unemployment – looking after your mental health!

Depression (emotion )

Losing a job is one of the most difficult things we have to deal with in life.  It ranks right up there with losing someone you care for or going through divorce.

“It’s a serious fracture in one’s world view,” says Robert London, M.D., a staff psychiatrist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “It doesn’t matter if you’re an executive or a bus driver–your identity is very much wrapped up in your job. And to suddenly be without that identity can be devastating.”

That is why it can make you feel down in the first few weeks and seriously depressed if unemployment stretches over months.

It is all too easy to start believing that there must be something wrong with you personally or that you lack some vital characteristic that the rest of the world seems blessed with.

Sometimes you may not realise you are depressed.  You just want to sleep all the time, you don’t want to mix with other people and/or suddenly you start feeling mysterious aches and pains.

Now that you are depressed, of course, finding a job becomes even less likely and you may not feel you can make the effort.  If you do feel like this, then please do seek help from your doctor, coach or counsellor.

But how do you intervene before things become quite that bad?

Well, first, recognise the risk! Then, you need to take responsibility for looking after your own mental, as well as physical, health.

Being jobless can make you feel you have no control over your own life and that makes you feel insecure and unhappy.  So start to take control by giving yourself a set schedule for every day of the working week.

Make finding your new job your new job.  Set a time to start each day and make sure you are showered, dressed and in your new work space (allocate a space at home for this, if you don’t have a home office) by that time each day.

Work to a flexible but firm timetable for the day.  Explain that you will be working at home during the day to family and friends.

Each morning and evening allocate a time to check and revise your work-search “to do” list.  Make sure you build in some networking time – either by telephone, face to face or on social networks – social contact with others will be refreshing as well as part of your job search.

Make some time as well for your own personal development – are there new skills you would like or need to acquire?  The internet and your local library will help you to find free or at least inexpensive resources.

At the end of your working day, if you can, close the door on your working space or at least make it look different.  Then spend time with family and friends doing what you usually enjoy.

Resist the temptation to hole up in your house and wait for the world to come to you. As Dr London say “Isolation is a dangerous thing. When you live in your head, you ruminate and feed your depression,”

Try each day to find either something to be inspired by – nature is great for that – or something to laugh at.  Laughing at old comedy programs should probably available for us all as part of public health services.

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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