5 ways to handle unemployment stress

Unemployment can be stressful and depressing, especially at the beginning of the year when there are so many financial plans and responsibilities. How can you deal with this stress while you look for work? Here are my tips.

Acknowledge your feelings

Identify the feelings that you’re feeling during this period – whether it’s anger, sadness, worry or demotivation. When you can acknowledge how unemployment has affected you, you’ll be able to take action and deal with your feelings. It’s okay to experience intense emotions, other people who are unemployed are likely to feel the same way too. The best way to deal with these emotions is to not be in denial and know that your emotions are valid.

Don’t focus on what you can’t control

You’re doing everything you can to find a job, but there are things that are not really in your control. You can’t control the employer’s decision or when certain recruiters will respond to you. Try not to put all your focus on this. Rather, find things that are within your control to pour your energy into. These include improving your skills, volunteering, or applying for internships and learnerships.

Develop healthy coping skills

Avoid using unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs and alcohol to cope with negative emotions. Using these substances to cope with stress can cause you to lose track of what’s really important. Instead, choose positive coping mechanisms like exercising, keeping a journal, etc. This will help you deal with stress, while making you feel more in control of yourself and your circumstances.

Don’t compare yourself to others

During this time, it’s easy to look at your peers and compare yourself to them, especially if their lives appear better. While there’s nothing wrong with healthy competition among peers, constantly comparing yourself to others can make you feel discouraged and really kill your confidence. Rather, tell yourself that you are your own measure for success and focus on doing what’s best for you.

Talk to someone

Talking to someone when you’re stressed out can help you get the support that you need right now. Suffering in silence can be overwhelming. Try talking to a loved one you trust about how you’re feeling or contact me for a chat.

2020 was tough on everyone and a lot of people lost their jobs and struggled to find new ones. Knowing that this is an issue globally will give you some perspective and allow you to be patient with yourself. You don’t have to deal with the stress of being unemployed alone, either, lean on the people you trust for support. Things will work out, Choma.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).