The coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching effects. These effects have not been limited to the health of people around the world, but are seen in nearly crippled economies, struggling businesses and the deluge of job cuts that have started to plague households much more than the disease itself.

Planned and unplanned job losses

Expected job losses, such as voluntary retirements or retirements are usually planned and usually come with a safety net of savings or a backup plan to compensate for the job loss. If you have planned to retire, chances are that you have already chalked out a way to finance the rest of your life. This may either be through a business, a pension plan or substantial savings, along with adequate health and life insurance coverage for you and your family.

Unexpected job losses such as layoffs or terminations can come as a shock to families. Many families around the world have one earning member, and if that member loses their job, the mode of sustenance for that family unit comes to a grinding halt. Not only does a job loss come with financial duress, but it also brings along unwelcome visitors such as anxiety, stress, and in some cases—depression.

The stress of unemployment

The stress and anxiety caused by unemployment or job loss can take a major toll on your mental well-being. This coupled with the coronavirus pandemic already being a major stressor can cause your stress and anxiety levels to shoot through the roof. The reasons why a job loss can negatively impact your mental well-being include:

  • Inability to provide for necessities—No income can be a cause for stress at any time, but the inability to leave home to fend for your family and complete reliance on savings takes a toll on your well-being.
  • Lack of purpose in life—Not having a source of income to support your family can be harrowing for some, and if you have no savings, this can escalate your stress levels even further.
  • Decreased social interaction—The forced isolation caused by the pandemic can worsen the impact of job loss, as you may be unable to discuss your situation with your family or friends.
  • The draw of unhealthy coping methods—Most of us curb expenses in the event of a job loss. However, some may get drawn to unwarranted coping strategies such as drug abuse, smoking and alcohol. This causes a further drain on your limited funds and can give rise to marital discord amongst married couples.

You can sometimes find jobs in the most unusual places. I scored my first job at an ice-cream parlour where my employer overheard me talking to my friend about VOIP being the future of telecom. Although I had no real skills he could use, but my boss believed that I could help him with stuff, and that led to my first job as a technology evangelist for an IT company.

Coping with a job loss

Losing a job is a major setback for many. If you are middle-aged, it will be even more difficult to find a job again. However, the keyword here is difficult—not impossible. Understanding the fact that you’ve just lost a job; you will find another one eventually. It might not be as nice as your last job, or it can also be the job that you always dreamt of. Time will tell. Until then, it is best to understand how to cope with and tackle the situation at hand and move forward in life. Here are 10 things that will give you an edge over everyone else who has just lost their job and will help you cope better.

  1. Focus on the future
    Losing a job is stressful. Thinking about your lost job will only make it worse. Stop thinking about what could have been done at that time and move on. Focus on what can help you find a job now. Here are 3 things that you can do to help you focus:
  • Take a day off. Acclimatize yourself to your current situation and understand that it is only you who can get you out of this situation. Also, understand that losing a job is not the end of the world for you. Where one job is lost, a thousand spring up in its place for you to take. On your day off, do not think about your lost job. Watch TV, go for a walk, pamper yourself. Enjoy your day off. This will help you clear your mind for the days ahead.
  • Budget your monthly spends into essentials and extras. See how many months you can last by digging into your savings. If you do not have any savings whatsoever, do not worry—worrying will not put food on the table.
  • Create a new resume for yourself. Ensure that your resume has all your positives listed out for everyone to see and has all the important keywords listed out so recruiters know what position they can hire you for.

2. Find upgrade paths for yourself
Your job loss has given you a freebie: time. Use this time to upskill. Find the skill that you believe will equip you better and give yourself a reasonable amount of time per day to acquire that new skill. With most online learning platform offering hundreds of courses for free, your choices are virtually endless.

3. Put self-care on priority
It is easy to grab a pack of crisps and a beer and slump into the couch to drown yourself in self-pity. Understand that self-pity does not pay the bills. Hit the outdoors, go for a jog or a walk, do some gardening, start a DIY project. Get fit and strong. Using up the extra energy in your body will induce positivity and move negative emotions out.

4. Reach out
A vast number of jobs never get advertised. Reaching out to your friends and those in your professional circle can land you an interview you had been longing for. A lot of companies also compromise during hiring as they are unable to find you!

5. Keep a positive attitude
A wise man once said, “Attitude is everything”. He was right. A positive attitude will help you out of sticky situations such as a job loss with flying colours.

6. Accept rejections as a part of life
You may get rejected in many interviews, but that is a part of life. Rejections can either be taken to heart or can be used to ensure that you do not keep applying for the same job you keep getting rejected for. Use your rejections to mould yourself into a better version of you. There is more than one job in the world, and you just got rejected from one, not all of them.

7. Be open to change—reinvent yourself
The most important thing in life is to be open to changes. If you have been a programmer all your life and you are only able to find a job as a technical writer, embrace that change. You never know where this change might take you in life. Every year, millions of people make a complete U-turn in life for the better.

8. Help others
If you cannot find a job for yourself but know of open positions elsewhere, help those who can apply for them and get them hired. This feels good factor will boost your ego and bring positivity back into your life.

9. Communicate with your family
It is always difficult to discuss your job loss with your family, especially if you are the primary bread earner. However, it is best to sit them down, be calm, and explain the situation that all of you are in as a family. Be open about your need for support and assure them that you are working towards something better.

10. Reach out for help if you need to
Anxiety, depression and feelings of self-harm are normal in such situations. If you feel that you need help, do not hesitate to reach out for professional advice.

A job loss is a difficult time for any family, no matter how well-settled they may be. When the flow of money stops, that is when problems arise. However, it is best to grab the beast by the horns and reinvent yourself. Remember—it is only you who can help you. The world has millions of opportunities waiting for someone to come and grab them. Get ready! Stay Safe!