We’re nearing the end of the year and whilst many are planning festive season celebrations and presents, many individuals only got a final notice from Santa this year. Job loss doesn’t just affect your financial situation, it also has a profound psychological impact and one we often deal with in online therapy.
In this article, we not only want to delve into job loss and its subsequent consequences but also bring some hope that “this too shall pass” and help you step out on the other side of this challenging time a better and stronger version of yourself.
The Psychological Effects of Losing One’s Job
Losing one’s job can take an extreme psychological toll. When you get fired, odds are at least that you had an inkling of what’s coming. But many who are let go or retrenched due to financial troubles within the company are often completely blindsided – adding to the devastation. The following are some of the most common psychological effects of job loss we experience during our online therapy sessions:
This should be a fairly obvious effect. Your mind is suddenly going a mile a minute. “How are we going to pay the mortgage?” “How are we going to buy groceries?” “Where am I going to find a new job?”
The loss of a job is a LOSS. And with any loss, it needs to be grieved. That’s why depression is a natural part of the process. You’re also not just grieving the loss of the job itself, but what it meant to you. It could be that it elevated your status within the community, or earned you enough money to go on nice holidays. Maybe you were trying to save up for a house or your wedding. Your job loss meant that any/all of these were instantly either in jeopardy or completely out of reach.
As with the stress, this goes without saying. You’re just finding yourself in this endless loop of worries and it feels like there’s no end in sight. Bills need to be paid, you need to survive and you might be the person responsible for your family’s survival as well. The only solution is to find a new job, but where, when?!
With this mountain of stress and anxiety, it’s no surprise that it impacts your sleep. With all these thoughts running through your mind, it’s not strange that you’re rolling around in your bed.
Job loss can almost equate to an existential crisis. Your career might be so enmeshed with your personality that you go through a type of identity crisis. You might also be used to a strict and busy routine and suddenly find yourself feeling something you’re not used to – bored.
All this stress and anxiety can start manifesting physically. From having panic attacks to getting the flu and other illnesses due to a lowered immune system – the emotional toll often translates into a physical one.
Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours
When you’re drowning and you’re desperately looking for anything to keep you afloat, only to be left in the stormy waters with no rescue in sight, it’s hard to see a way out and keep hope alive. The biggest material impact that job loss usually has is on your finances. And finances impact your livelihood. If you’re staring down starving to death on the streets vs. exiting this planet on your own terms, it’s hard to judge someone for that kind of thinking.
The problem is, that our feelings rarely match our reality. You might be feeling hopeless, but that doesn’t mean that resolution is not just around the corner. You might feel like your debt will be impossible to settle, but after speaking to creditors you might come to an arrangement that could have you back on track within a year or so. The Covid epidemic and the terrible job losses and financial situations it left in its wake and where these individuals are today are proof of that.
How to Ride Out the Storm and Grow From the Experience
During online therapy, we not only focus on processing events and feelings in a healthy way, but we also give you the tools and coping skills to enable growth and help you become a stronger and better version of yourself despite the adversities. Here are some of the recommendations we make during online therapy sessions:
Stick to a Daily Routine
Suddenly going from a strict and busy schedule to “I’ve got nothing to do” can cause havoc on the psyche. There’s PLENTY to do – especially now. So set up a schedule. Don’t sleep late, and get up at your usual time. Fill your working hours with exercise, learning a new skill and searching for a new job. At this stage, it’s also important to reserve times for relaxation and activities that bring some joy during this dark time.
Going into Job Seeking Overdrive is Not Going to Work
There are only so many jobs advertised each day. Spending 12 hours obsessing about finding work and scouring the internet into Nigerian data collection scams is not going to help your situation. In fact, this kind of desperation will only get you into more trouble. Make a list of all the most reputable job sites and set aside time to check them all for new opportunities every day. Then let it go. Constantly obsessing over it is not going to get you any closer to that new dream job.
Go Back to Financial Basics
This is the time to revise that budget. It might not be your idea of a fun Friday night, but there’s no way to get around certain cutbacks unless you have a pretty generous amount of savings just lying around, waiting for a time like this. From now on, you need to say “no” to dinner dates at restaurants and coffee at coffee houses.
Take another look at all those Google subscriptions and decide whether you really need all those streaming platforms. Saying goodbye to these can often be tough for many people and is a subject that often comes up during our online therapy sessions. Waving goodbye to things and activities you’ve grown used to is also part of the loss and the grieving process.
But the interesting thing we usually find during this process is that most never really miss these unmissable things. In fact, once they’ve been removed from the monthly “must-haves” they rarely make it back onto the list.
Most note that this is one of the silver linings and most freeing parts of this challenging process; discarding what you don’t really need. Most perceive being declared bankrupt as hitting rock bottom and an incredibly shameful thing. You get blacklisted everywhere, you’re not allowed to have a credit card or take out any loans. Once again, most going through this process describes it as absolutely freeing not being able to make any debt to worry about in the first place.
Time to Become Picky Over Your Inner Circle
There’s a saying that says “be careful who you eat with” and this couldn’t ring more true for the tough times. Those old drinking buddies that were only available when you bought rounds at the bar? Out! Family members who only seemed interested in what’s happening in your life when you could loan them money? Out! The friends even more negative about your situation than you are? Out!
Sadly, this is the time that you will realise who are real friends and family members that will stick around through thick and thin and who the people are that will support and encourage you to reach higher heights. As far as the rest go; time to say goodbye to them along with the fancy dinners and Starbucks coffees.
Always Look to the Future
When things are going bad it’s easy to get bogged down by circumstances. But this is the time to look forward. Whenever you struggle to do that, think back to 5-10 years back. Think about some of the toughest times you’ve experienced during those years and whether you ever expected to end up where you are today. Encouraging, isn’t it?
Losing one’s job can be a big blow. But it can also hold a lot of personal growth opportunities and even force you to take that career step you’ve been too afraid to take ‘till now. Whilst the loss of a job can have pretty devastating consequences, it’s never quite as bad as you think it is. Not only does every dark cloud have a silver lining, but yours is just one last push of perseverance away.
If you would like to know more about how to cope with sudden job loss, or you would just like to speak to someone and vent during an online therapy session, you’re more than welcome to do so. Please feel free to contact us via our website or email us at personalonlinetherapy.com. Alternatively, you can simply complete the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.