As the pandemic rages on, how do you stay in a positive mindset and keep from being overwhelmed by stress when you're unemployed?
Facing an unexpected job loss is always a traumatic experience, but it's particularly challenging to cope with the effects of unemployment and navigate the choppy waters of job-seeking in the midst of the COVID-19 recession. It's tougher than ever to stay focused on self-care, make career plans, and sustain hope for the future.
We asked Dr. Norman Amundson, professor emeritus of counseling psychology at the University of British Columbia and Hope Central® executive board member for Kuder, to share one universal piece of advice for anyone struggling with the effects of sudden unemployment due to the pandemic. “Displaced workers must recognize that their own sense of wellbeing goes well beyond their current work status,” he said. “They have been caught in a turbulence that they did not create ... at the same time, they need to appreciate that this is a time for reflection, for creative problem solving, and for adaptability.”
Lost your job? Do these three things.
In a recent podcast interview, Dr. Amundson shared three important steps to take if you're dealing with long-term unemployment. Below is a summary, along with excerpts from that interview and a conversation we recently had with him.
1. Normalize the situation by recognizing that it’s not your fault. The fact that you’re feeling a little bit (probably a lot) disoriented and confused? That’s normal. Anybody would feel that kind of reaction in the situation.
2. Be ready, and maintain a sense of hope for the opportunities that will come. We need positive imagination. And what we often have is negative imagination, which is the worry and the despair – imagining the worst. But we ought to start focusing on the positive imagination and that creative side of us, that new way of looking at things in a different context.
3. Take care of yourself as a human being:
- Attend to your financial security.
- Get a part-time job, survival job, or whatever you need to do.
- Look for opportunities to further your education/skills.
- Focus on educating yourself further, planning something different.
- Establish relationships with positive people. Look around you. Who are the ones who are encouraging you?
- Actively engage in your community. We need to not withdraw, but to move forward toward people.
- Find meaning and purpose in your life. We need to be doing things that are worthwhile.
- Maintain structure by establishing a daily routine. One of the things that working provides is a structure. It tells you when you’re going to have lunch and breaks, it gives you an order to your day. With unemployment, you have to do it for yourself.
In an upcoming post, we’ll interview Dr. Amundson and Dr. Spencer Niles, two co-authors of the new book Career Recovery: Creating Hopeful Careers in Difficult Times. We’ll share highlights from the book, along with strategies that can be used to create a sense of hope and set the stage for a meaningful career path.
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