I'm afraid I'm going to lose my job

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, people are quickly transitioning from their normal daily lives to lives full of uncertainty. Businesses, factories, and restaurants are closing across the nation, and many are faced with the possibility of losing their jobs. If you are afraid of losing your job or it’s already happened, here are a few things that can help you navigate the emotions that come up as a result.

Emotions Matter

Losing your job (or even the thought of it) can bring up a wide range of emotions, including fear, sadness, guilt, anger, or relief. Processing the loss of a job may feel a lot like grieving a loved one. It’s okay to grieve your job, and you may experience the different stages of grief such as shock, denial, anger, and eventually acceptance. Be kind with yourself as you work through these stages. 

Mind Your Mental Health

Be mindful of the state of your mental health. The financial and emotional stress of losing a job can lead to an increased risk for a mental health condition. Maintain regular check-ins with yourself by taking a mental health screen every two weeks. Keeping tabs on yourself can also help you determine if you’re processing your emotions in a healthy way.

Control What You Can

You may be feeling a powerful or overwhelming sense of loss of control over your situation. You cannot control losing your job as a result of COVID-19, but you can control how you respond. You can reach out to a loved one for emotional support, stay connected with others in a similar situation, reduce spending for a period of time, or stay informed about your options.

Build Resiliency

Losing a job can create more uncertainty in an already uncertain situation. It can impact a person’s perception of their own identity, perceptions of how others view them, financial obligations, and levels of stress. However, staying positive and mentally healthy in the face of uncertainty can help build resiliency and better prepare you emotionally when new challenges arise. Here are three actions you can take that contribute to better mental health.

  1. Focus on having a positive self-perception. Many people are losing their jobs because of the pandemic, and many are dealing with all the emotions that come with it. You are not alone, and this is not a reflection of who you are. Try not to blame yourself. Remind yourself that you are competent and worthy of work.
  2. Structure your free time with routine and productive projects. Develop and maintain a routine that includes practicing good hygiene, meal-planning, exercise, and hobbies. Incorporate projects or activities that help you develop personally and professionally: all the activities you couldn’t do when you were working. Now is the time to experiment and learn from it.
  3. Develop positive expectations of finding re-employment once life returns to normal. Chances are that opportunities for employment will become available once the dust settles and businesses reopen. In the meantime, work on your resume, take online classes, and develop new skills to help build your confidence.  

The world is full of uncertainty right now, and it may be a while before things feel normal again. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people globally, but fortunately, we are all experiencing this together, and life will eventually return to normal. In the meantime, it’s important to acknowledge the feelings you have and find ways of coping until that happens.

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