Psychological keys to managing an unemployment situation
Unemployment is a particularly difficult situation for a person’s mental health; While coping with them, the individual has a series of psychological needs which, if not sufficiently met, can put their mental well-being at risk.
BY RRHHDigital, 1:30 p.m. – June 10, 2021
Anyone who has ever been unemployed knows that looking for work is exhausting, especially mentally. If, in addition, the fruits are not harvested quickly, the consequence, in the worst case, may be the appearance of images of depression in varying degrees (apathy, hopelessness, deterioration of self-esteem, interpretation of the work environment only as threatening, mental rigidity when calibrating alternatives or solutions, anxiety, etc.), stress (when the person perceives that the demands of the work environment, the process of seeking job or its various life challenges exceed its coping resources) or anxiety (which is an image of physiological activation, restlessness, worry, sleep disturbances, etc. that may be associated with depressive symptoms or a stressful situation).
Work allows us to develop at different levels and therefore, the experience of being unemployed or in a certain fragile work situation (precarious or itinerant jobs, ERTE, long sick leave) has such a negative impact on health. psychological of those who live it, especially when it is prolonged in time.
The ERTEs have been one of the protagonists of the pandemic at the workplace level. Even if they have not lost their job, this non-work situation, added to the uncertainty of what will happen to their business, does not prevent their psychological well-being from being damaged.
Psychological consequences: the emotional world of the unemployed
When we are unemployed our emotions are greatly affected and we can go through multiple phases and nuances as the unemployment situation progresses.
Fluctuating mood. It is very likely that we live, even during the same day, different emotions: moments of strong motivation, confidence in their own possibilities, rest in front of the negative aspects of their past professional life, enthusiasm for a new stage of work to come and, from there, a feeling of creativity and enthusiasm to reformulate your own professional project. States of despair. We will experience states of hopelessness about the future, anxiety, agitation, fear, shame, frustration, discouragement, irritability or, of course, learned helplessness: the longer you go without finding a job, plus the feeling that it doesn’t matter what the person has to do, since you have no control over your situation and therefore nothing you do on your own can change it. Deterioration of self-esteem. The feeling of having failed in the personal project, of not seeing the expectations and the efforts put in place satisfied and the perception of having little value, that is to say of not being good enough or as a as a worker or as an active job seeker, can come to have a very harmful presence in the psychic world of the person. Identity crisis. The deterioration of self-esteem can lead to an identity crisis of the unemployed: who am I now that I don’t work, how to define myself, how to present myself to others, where to orient from now on what I want to be (professionally ), what will become of me given my conditions, etc.
How to deal with an unemployment situation
Unemployment is a particularly difficult situation for a person’s mental health. In coping with them, the individual has a series of psychological needs which, if not sufficiently met, can put their well-being at risk. The psychologists of the platform of emotional well-being for individuals and organizations ifeel provide the keys in this report to deal with an unemployment situation that has already lasted too long:
Find a new way to define yourself that doesn’t embarrass you in front of your surroundings. Using “I am unemployed” as a business card may make you uncomfortable. If so, try formulas such as “at the moment I am not working”, “I am looking for work”, “I was working until a few months ago but now I am looking for something else”. Do not focus only on the possible stigma that the label “unemployed” may have, reconsider it in relation to your current role as an active job seeker, open to suggestions that could be made, valid and available for a new one. employment that may arise. Have hope for the future. While looking for a job, it is sometimes difficult to trust a near and satisfactory end to the unemployment situation, but indulging in catastrophic thoughts does not help the solution. Look for spaces of realistic hope and realize how thoughts such as “this situation will never end”, “I will never find a job that suits me”, or “I will never be able to re-engage in the world of life. ‘business and I will take horrible jobs’ are statements about a hypothetical future that has not happened and must not happen. Your environment must understand your situation. You need to be seen and recognized in the effort you make to get out of it. Don’t isolate yourself or just carry out your job search actions in silence and secrecy. Communicate with your surroundings, explain what you are doing, what you are trying and what you have in mind. Especially if you are living alone, it is important that you activate your social support network not only to let them know that you are unemployed but to involve them as much as possible in your search. Moreover, you will need them to support you, to encourage you and to be your accomplices in the research, to stay in contact with these people. Treat yourself to rewards without feeling guilty for not using all of your resources in an active job search. Unemployment can be very long and, of course, boring and exasperating. Therefore, more than ever you need compensations that serve not only to distract you, but also to take care of your psychological well-being. Obviously you are not going to incur big financial expenses if you don’t have a job, but unless your financial situation is really precarious you may one day have a coffee with someone, or go to the restaurant. movies, or buy clothes, or go to a show you like. These are just a few examples, find the way that best suits your economy. Even if you are unemployed, you must continue to enjoy life. Gain a sense of control over your life by saying no to those unemployed outings that don’t seem appropriate. Unless your situation is already very desperate, you have a right to listen to your intuition and needs and to decide that you will not take a specific job if you feel that it is not suitable for you or that working on it is for you. will have a really bad time. Maybe some people won’t understand it, but you know yourself and you know how you feel. If you still have a choice, it’s normal that you need to turn down a job and keep looking, instead of feeling pressured into taking on what someone outside wants to force on you. Take social integration as a task: to feel part of society, to interact normally with others. The worst that can happen to an unemployed person is to be isolated from his social assistance network now that the economy is suffering from the loss of his job and that his integration into the social dynamic is no longer what it was because he is at home looking for a job and to measure your expenses. Connect with your friends and family, lean on them, tell them how you plan your job search, remember that very often our work is obtained by someone who knows us and offers an offer or talks about us to a third party, and not so much about the vacancies posted on job portals. Get tips on how to conduct an active and effective job search. This will give you the feeling that, regardless of the inevitable uncertainty, you are following a coherent strategy rather than improvising. Remember that active job search goes far beyond signing an offer. Distribute your strength well and do not burn after a few weeks. During the active job search, there are busy days or weeks (there are a lot of offers, interviews, contacts with your network, etc.) and other periods are quieter and, simply , there is not much to do. Let there be this alternation and do not feel guilty if one day you do not find any concrete action to take during your active job search. Take advantage of these days for other things that allow you to clear your mind and focus on other facets. They are your free time. Be sure to select the information you access so as not to “get drunk” with too much bad news. It is obvious that knowing the current situation (measures to support the unemployed, evolution of unemployment figures, etc.) can be useful, but do not spend all day reading newspapers and watching news that speaks only from the side. negative of what is happening to you, as it will bother you unnecessarily and not necessarily give you useful data. Take care of yourself, don’t give up, structure your routines. Although without the demands of a workday in which you have to account for your entry, exit, and what is done in between, try to have a more or less orderly schedule. This will let you know how much time you spend each day strictly looking for a job and also fit the rest of your activities into your day (because, we insist, there must be more activities than just watching the television). From the flexibility of not having to log in, try to have adequate eating and sleeping habits. If excess free time is overwhelming you, remember unemployment is the time to have a spotless house, take a walk, read, and see what you have waiting for. If you receive unemployment benefit, find out about the reductions available both in training and in shows.
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