Losing your job, especially if it was not your decision, can have multiple psychological and emotional consequences. In fact, the loss of a job ranks among the top five stressors in a person’s life. You may feel sad, angry, anxious, depressed or overwhelmed. You may experience self-doubt and lower self-esteem. Know that you are not alone. Many people in this situation have the same struggles.
The results of a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2021 are revealing:
- 50% of adults who look for work are pessimistic about the future.
- 56% say they are suffering anxiety and depression due to unemployment.
- 53% indicate they have lost a piece of their identity in the job search process.
- 41% mention that stress is affecting their family and social relationships.
- 1 in 5 suicides worldwide is tied to job loss and unemployment, as well as increased substance abuse.
Factors Contributing to Distress
Reactions to job loss differ from one person to another and will depend on the personality and personal situation. The following factors can contribute to the distress:
- Poor self-care
- The job search process itself which requires stamina and problem-solving skills.
- High rejection rate
- Financial stress
- Social isolation
- Low resilience caused by professional alienation, trauma, illness, divorce, housing problems, and death.
Protective Factors For Good Mental Health
The following protective factors are important to keep good mental health:
- Proper self-care: nutrition, sleep, and exercise, respecting and fulfilling one’s needs.
- Having at least one person who can be reached out to at any time for help.
- Good health, housing, and finances.
- Problem-solving skills, optimism, and resilience.
- Meaning and purpose in life.
Other steps you can take to help you navigate through your transition
- Give yourself time to grieve. You lost your job, but you still own your skills and past accomplishments.
- Find a way to process your negative emotions with a therapist, a peer support group, through mindful meditation or journaling for instance.
- Get support from a career coach or a job-search work group.
- Create a daily routine. Schedule time for your job search, but make sure to pursue your hobbies.
- Put things into perspective. When recruiters are not getting back to you as scheduled, remember they might have more urgent priorities. It is nothing personal.
- Remember. When you will look back at your whole career later, that period without employment will be just a “blip”…
The search for a new job can be a bumpy road. But you don’t have to walk it alone. The entire team of La Passerelle, your employment help centre in Montreal, is ready to support you during your transition.
If you are an experienced professional, over 40 years old, living in Montreal, you could have access to our group workshops and personalized coaching services subsidized by Services Québec. Contact us by phone at 514-866-5982 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Need help and psychological support? Wellness Together Canada can assist you. This organization is funded by Health Canada.
Its website provides free information and resources on mental health and substance abuse. A help line individual phone, video and text counselling as well as peer support are available.