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It's important to remember that losing your job does not mean you have failed.

Losing your job or getting hours cut back is tough. Dealing with this while managing the extra stress and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is even tougher.

Disruptions to your work can mess with your routine, cause you to feel a loss of meaning or purpose, and create some very practical issues resulting from a loss of income.

Here are some tips to help you maintain your mental health during these unprecedented times.

1. Give yourself a break

Firstly, recognize that these are very stressful times and that it’s okay to feel anxious or pissed off with the situation we’re in. There’s no need to get down on yourself for feeling this way – we’re all struggling with this thing.

Let yourself feel without judging yourself for having these feelings. Note how you are feeling, acknowledge it, then try to move on with something to do in the present moment.

All of our lives have changed tremendously in a very short amount of time. There are going to be hard transitions and it’s not fair to yourself (or others) to have the answers right away.

2. Know that you are not alone

Try not to take this situation personally and know that there are millions of others around the world that are losing income due to loss of work or reduced work hours.

A lot of people are in the same boat and together we will get through this.

3. Apply for employment insurance and/or emergency response grants

With so many people out of work, governments are lending a hand by getting money directly to their citizens – to help you pay the bills and keep our economies going. Every government is doing this a bit differently, so we’ve broken down where to look by country.

In Canada:

In the US:

In the UK:

Other areas:

  • Try searching online or looking for local news reports to find information regarding what your country is doing to help financially support its citizens.

4. Create a routine and keep busy

Keeping busy can be a huge help in managing stress. If you lay around all day, stuck in your thoughts, it’s easy to end up in a dark place.

Without putting extra pressure on yourself to “accomplish” too much during this time, try to make a new routine that will help keep your mind engaged.

Look for an online class or course, this could be something that helps you find work in the future or something completely different and just for fun. Maybe you’re not thinking about work at all, and instead are doing daily physical activity and catching up on classic movies. The important thing here is to be doing something.

Create a new schedule for your days, so that you aren’t stressed about what to do everyday and instead can settle into a new pattern that will help to manage your mental health.

5. Use the support of friends and family

Losing work can be tough, and it’s important to lean on friends and family for support. Whether it’s talking to vent your frustrations, or talking about something completely unrelated to COVID-19 – keeping socially engaged is crucial to maintaining your mental health.

Depending on your relationships and their financial situation, some friends and family members may also be able to help when it comes to lost income. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of, we all need a hand sometimes and the situation caused by COVID-19 is not something we could have predicted.

6. Remember why this is happening

The reason you have lost work is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and further loss of life. Losing your job does not mean you have failed.

And though you may not feel it, the extra stress you are feeling now is preventing more people from dying as well as the trauma their friends and family members would experience.

This is a sacrifice and no sacrifice comes without hardship. But staying on top of things to safeguard your wellbeing and maintain a positive outlook will help you be ready to return to work when this is all over.

Written by the HeadsUpGuys Team - Combining lived experience, clinical practice, and research expertise. Reviewed and approved by Dr. John Ogrodniczuk - Professor and Director of the Psychotherapy Program at the Department of Psychiatry, The University of British Columbia.
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