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How to mentally cope with the loss of a job during the COVID-19 pandemic

By: Shauna Gavin

Updated: 24 April 2020

How to mentally cope with the loss of a job during the COVID-19 pandemic

Our jobs are not only just a way of providing income to fund our lives, for many people they are part of their identity. One of the very first things someone will potentially ask you when they meet you is ‘so what do you do?’. Even going back hundreds of years, what we worked at is so deeply ingrained into our psyches and identities that many family surnames simply just became what the families worked at. Names like Baker, Smith and Taylor are all examples of this. Your job can also represent the hope you hold for yourself as you progress into your future. This is why losing a job suddenly can be so unexpectedly devastating, which has been unfortunately happening to many people since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands have signed on for the emergency COVID-19 social welfare payment in the past few weeks. 

Many people’s entire routines will revolve around their jobs. When you are surrounded most days by your workmates and you talk regularly and know all about their lives, going from this to nothing can feel like your life has become exceptionally silent all of a sudden. This, along with the impact that the perceived rejection can have on your self esteem can leave those who are predisposed to having anxiety and depression feeling like they are spiralling and are unable to cope. These feelings will only be heightened if the person out of a job has dependents who rely on them and things like a mortgage, a car and all the other living expenses still have to be paid. As you search for a new job while transitioning into unemployment, it is common to face many rejections before you will find a new position. This is why it is so important to become mentally resilient to avoid further feelings of depression and anxiety preventing you from finding yourself a new job. Here are some ways to mentally cope with losing your job during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Establish a routine

While there’s nothing wrong with taking a few days to just do nothing and let the news sink in, after this establishing normality and a routine is essential. This routine can consist of getting up at a similar time each morning, making sure to have breakfast and applying for new jobs in the hours when you would have previously been at work. If you decide to take some time off while quarantined instead that’s fine too. Just remember to keep a normal routine.

Allow yourself time to be sad but avoid dwelling on it

Being sad about the loss of a job is completely normal but try to avoid wallowing. The longer you push off moving on and making new plans, the harder it will be. Remember, thousands of people have been made redundant because of COVID-19. You are not alone.

Look for new opportunities

While we do not have to expect ourselves to be our most productive selves during a pandemic, if you have lost your job, now is a great time to start looking for a new one. Alternatively, you could consider learning a new skill that could allow you to move into another area of work. Perhaps you might even start looking into new college courses to retrain yourself in a new field completely. Try to use this time in lockdown to assess what direction you would like to take your life in next.

Try to avoid taking job rejection to heart

It can be so easy to internalize being rejected for a job you have just applied for but you mustn’t let it. Try to view it instead as another opportunity to find a job that would suit you even better. Adopting an ‘everything happens for a reason attitude’ to your job search will prove to be helpful for your self esteem.

Evaluate what your most valuable skills are

This is a useful exercise that you can do to analyse what are the skills and qualities that make you the most employable. If you have been working in a job for a long time you may have even forgotten what they may be! Compiling all your most marketable skills and updating your CV with them will be a huge help to your job search.

Talk to those around you

Keeping in contact with our friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial for our mental health and even more so if you have lost your job. Talking to those close to you when your self esteem is low will help to build it back up and visualise what your new plans for the future will be.

Talk to a therapist

If you have a history of depression and are finding it difficult to pick yourself back up after the loss of your job, talking to a therapist will help. There are many online therapy options available during COVID-19 and here at MyMind we are offering online therapy at affordable rates for those unemployed as well as students, part time workers and pensioners.


Jimeve O'Neill Psychotherapist Location: Cork

Approach: Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Person-Centred Therapy , Internal Family Systems

Works with: Individual Session , Couples

Specialities: Anger , Anxiety , Bereavement / Loss , Depression , Isolation / Loneliness , Personal Development , Relationship issues , Self Care , Self-Esteem , Stress , Suicidal Ideation / Self Harm , Work Issues, Work/Life balance

Next avaialble appointment: 8:00 22 June 2024

Eli Guruceaga Psychotherapist Location: Online

Approach: Gestalt Therapy , Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Person-Centred Therapy , Psychodynamic Therapy , Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Works with: Individual Session

Specialities: Addiction , Anxiety , Bereavement / Loss , Depression , Relationship issues , Self Care , Self harm , Somatic Experiencing , Stress , Suicidal Ideation / Self Harm , Trauma , Work Issues, Work/Life balance

Next avaialble appointment: 11:00 24 June 2024

Laura McDermott Psychotherapist Location: Online

Approach: Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Mindfulness , Person-Centred Therapy , Psychodynamic Therapy , Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Gestalt Therapy , Solution-Focused Brief Therapy , Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Works with: Individual Session , Couples

Specialities: Anger , Anxiety , Depression , Domestic Violence / Abuse , Isolation / Loneliness , Obsessive Compulsive Disorder , Personal Development , Relationship issues , Self Care , Self-Esteem , Sexuality (LGBTQIA+) , Stress , Suicidal Ideation / Self Harm , Trauma , Work Issues, Work/Life balance

Next avaialble appointment: 15:00 21 June 2024


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