During the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses have been put under considerable financial strain even though the Government has offered job retention schemes. Companies have had to make difficult decisions in making redundancies, but the impact this has had on mental health for employees has been incredibly extensive.
If you have lost your job or been made redundant, whether it was unexpected or not, it will undoubtedly still come as a huge shock. Feelings of anxiety, anger, loss of control and resentment can be all-consuming, sometimes sending you into a negative spiral of not knowing what to do next or how to even change your mindset to be more positive.
Our therapists and counsellors have spoken to many people over the last six months who have been in this position and we have put together a self-help guide to help those who are experiencing this dramatic change in life during this time.
Know your Rights
If you have been employed by a company for over two years and have been made redundant, then it is essential to know your rights so you can guarantee that you have been treated fairly. If you believe that redundancy or the loss of your job has been based on unfair dismissal, then explore your rights on the ACAS website.
Coping with Financial Concerns
Even if you have received a redundancy settlement, financial concerns are often top of the agenda in terms of worry over the loss of jobs. Money is a common cause of anxiety and stress, so instead of burying your head in the sand, look at your finances to understand exactly what you have and how you will manage until you have another income. Keep a check on your finances regularly, create a weekly or monthly budget – knowing exactly how much you have, will help you to feel more in control and reduce anxiety.
Acknowledging your Feelings
For most of us, being made redundant will ignite a sense of panic and may make us feel out of control or completely lost and unable to see the wood from the trees. Our knee-jerk reaction is to quickly look for another job, spending hours searching on the internet. Slow down, acknowledge your feelings whatever they are – panic, stress, anxiety and fear are all very normal. Process these thoughts before jumping into action to find another job. This will help you to gain clarity and to make the right choices going forward.
Ask for Support
Losing your job can have a major impact on self-esteem and confidence. For many of us, our job can be such a big part of our identity so in a sense we feel that we have lost a part of us and this can be difficult to process. Reach out to your partner, your friends and family to discuss how you’re feeling. Do not feel ashamed or responsible for this experience, many people are in the same situation, facing the challenge of losing a job that they may have done for years.
While it’s unlikely there are obvious benefits in being made redundant or losing your job, this is your chance to really think about what you want to do in the future. Recognise the elements of your old job which you disliked. Was it just a job to bring in the pennies? Do you have a dream career or how do you feel about working in a completely different industry or environment? Perhaps you would like to train in a new vocation? Try to see this as an opportunity for a fresh start and to try something new.
When you have given yourself time to process your feelings, start to think about putting an action plan in place. The first step may be to update your CV, then spend some time researching companies you are interested in or contacting people who may know of any opportunities coming up. Make a list of all your skills, write down your interests, shortlist the industries you would like to approach, and network with anyone who may be of help. Once you are feeling motivated and being pro-active, you will start to feel much more positive about your future.
Managing your Time
For most who have lost their job, the common reaction is to panic. Manage your time accordingly, be kind to yourself, allocate a specific amount of time to looking for a new job each day, but also give yourself time to relax and get out in the fresh air. It is incredibly important to maintain a sense of balance and to look after your mental health. If you’re spending ten hours a day searching online for a job, you will only feel exhausted and frustrated, resulting in negative thinking. Keep the balance and your attitude and outlook will be more positive.
Being made redundant or losing your job during this difficult time can be overwhelming. Our therapists, counsellors and life coaches have years of experience in helping people to cope with the emotions of losing their jobs, but also can give wonderful advice and support in moving forwards. We can help you to look at this in a positive way, empowering you to find a new job that will bring you happiness and a sense of fulfilment in your daily life.