Almost daily, I’m having conversations with people who have lost their jobs due to the lockdown caused by Coronavirus or with people who know someone who has been furloughed or laid off.
As we watch the daily news headlines and even allowing for some level of sensationalism and repetition by the news channels, as they hourly loop the same stories, there can little question that many businesses who have closed their doors in recent months are simply not going to re-open – as a result many people will lose and are losing their jobs.
However, signifcantly more concerning are the people who are taking their own lives as a result of losing their jobs and the worry and anxiety caused by feelings of hopelessness, uncertainty, worries about their family’s wellbeing and a total fear and uncertainty about the future. Just this morning a lady messaged me to explain that she knew of 3 people who had completed suicide after losing their jobs.
These discussions and messages have led me to put together some tips and advice that I will share with you here. I hope that what follows will help you or anyone you know, who is worried about the loss of their job or concerned about their finances, finding a new job, their loss of status and self-worth or even feeling low about no longer having a daily routine because they’re no longer going to work.
All of these worries can lead to feelings of shock, anger and despair, which can soon become overwhelming and ultimately totally debilitating – in the worst case, you may decide enough is enough!
6 Steps to keeping on top of your anxiety
- Accept how you’re feeling
Firstly, recognise that it’s ok to feel angy, shocked, sad, fearful and worried but rather than letting these feelings rule you, try removing the emotion. Take yourself off somewhere and note down each of the most powerful emotions you’re experiencing and ask yourself, why am I feeling a sense of shock, why am I feeling angry, what is creating this sense that everything is hopeless? Take time to write down your answers and in doing so, this should help you look at each of these feelings more objectively and less emotionally – if nothing else, you should feel calmer
2. Identify what you can deal with
You can’t change the fact that Covid-19 is a reality, you can’t directly influence Government policy surrounding lockdown, you can’t change the fact you’ve lost your job or been furloughed. But, you can look at which aspects of your finances you might be able to cut back on, you can sit down with your partner and family and discuss a plan of action together, you can start to consider what you might look to do for your next career role and perhaps even start making some enquiries. Be careful though, not to spend all day, every day, job searching as this will soon wear you down.
Consider taking up a new hobby – what is something you’ve always wanted to do, which doesn’t cost a fortune but somehow, work or other stuff just got in the way before – what’s stopping you now?
Each incremental action you take, will soon create momentum and not only make you feel more positive but will actually move you away from those fears that are currently holding you back and creating feelings of anxiety.
3. Movement, fresh air and routine are crucial
You can’t extricate yourself from your current situation if you’re still laying in bed. Make sure you are sticking to a daily routine. Go to bed at the same time you did when you were working, set your alarm and get up at the same time. Make sure you shower and get dressed – you don’t need to be all suited and booted but at least make an effort for your family, those Zoom calls and the Amazon delivery guy!
Plan tasks for the day, split between those jobs that need doing at home and planning your next career move. Include a walk, run, cycle in the fresh air (really important). The therapeutic benefits of gardening are now widely documented also, so get that border sorted.
4. Accept what is happening and that it’s not a reflection of you
None of us really knows when this pandemic will end and focusing on things you can’t change is not healthy or productive. It’s important to recognise that these are unchartered waters for us all and knowing that you’re not alone in having these fears might help you accept the situation better – a problem shared, is a problem halved sometimes. Remember that ‘this too shall pass’, lockdown will ease, the virus will be contained, job opportunities will appear again, you will get through this. It may take time though, so be prepared to hang in there and implement the suggestions mentioned earlier.
5. Keep healthy
If you’re going to do those jobs around the home, whilst re-shaping your resume and sending out job applications or connecting with useful people on LinkedIn, you’re going to need energy. Poor mental health, caused by worry and anxiety can deplete your energy resources significantly.
It’s important to keep your energy levels at their optimum by maintaining a healthy sleep regime, reduce the number of snacks or ready meals you’re consuming, keep hydrated – alcohol will not hydrate you – keep mobile by making sure you’re not sitting down for longer than 30 minutes at a time and take regular aerobic exercise, preferably outdoors.
Keeping healthy is as much about your mental health as it is your physical wellbeing. Mindfulness is becoming an increasingly popular pastime – using a combination of meditative techniques and breathing. Mindfulness can be hugely beneficial in helping reduce feelings of anxiety – 2 great mindfulness apps are Calm and Headspace.
Reading those books you alway meant to catch up on, might be another good past-time to help keep your mind occupied – nothing too dark or depressing though.
Contributing to others is proven to help reduce our own worries. Is there a charity you’d like to volunteer some time to help or perhaps you know of someone else who is struggling in some way who you can be there for? Recently and since my son, Jordan, took his own life, I’ve have received many messages from people asking how they can support The Jordan Legacy foundation – many of these people are without work right now.
6. Don’t do this alone
If you are feeling a sense of complete hopelessness and despair then it could be that you’re simply not motivated to do any of the things outlined above. If you have reached this point, then it’s important to recognise two things:
1) This feeling is temporary, this situation is not permanent – do not consider taking the ultimate ‘permanent solution’ to what is absolutely a temporary situation.
2) Ask for help – ask your family, a close friend or contact any of the services I have listed below, many of whom are trained to support you and who will listen and help you find a solution, please use them.
1. Visit your local hospital’s A&E department or ask for an Emergency Doctor’s appointment without delay.
2. Call The Samaritans – call for free to 116 123 (UK and Ireland) – You can Visit website
3. Other international suicide helplines can be found at here.
4. Hub of Hope – if you are struggling with your mental health, Hub of Hope provides help locally to you. Just add your postcode and you’ll have immediate access to a GP, psychotherapist etc – Visit site
4. Doc Ready – if you need to speak to a doctor about your mental health, knowing what to say, when you’re under stress, can be difficult and you may omit important information. Doc Ready provides a template for you to write out what you need to ask the Doctor before you speak with them – Visit site
5. Shout – : is a free text service 85258, where you are immediately put through to trained individual who can help if you are in crisis – Visit site
6. The Listening Place – get in touch for face-to-face support if you feel life is no longer worth living. You can Visit site
There are times in life when there just seems no point, no way out and all the cards seem stacked against you. I felt this way and so did my family and my son definitely did when he chose to take his own life in December 2019. We still have a choice now about how we move forward, tragically Jordan doesn’t – don’t be that person who takes a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Steve Phillip is Head of Mission at Champion Health Ltd, the founder of Linked2Success Limited, an established LinkedIn and social selling training and motivational speaking consultancy since 2009 and the founder of The Jordan Legacy, an organisation set up in his son’s memory, which has the following mission:
To reduce the frequency of completed suicides by; improving people’s mental well-being and the support available; reducing people’s sense of social isolation and by encouraging the development of a kinder society where people feel a sense of achievement for who they are not what they have.
For regular updates on developments at The Jordan Legacy, you can opt-in here and to donate and help support causes supported and managed by The Jordan Legacy, you can donate via our website here. Thank you for any support, which will be put to very good use.