COVID-19 has impacted the workforce like no other. This pandemic has simultaneously caused a spike in unemployment rates while forcing most people to work from home. Millions worry about finding work-from-home jobs, maintaining a work-life balance with a home office, and potential unemployment.
Combining these life-altering changes to our daily lifestyle and the lingering stress of potential unemployment can significantly impact anyone’s mental health. There’s been a direct correlation between the onset of COVID-19 and a rise in depression.
These negative feelings will only become amplified if you’re already dealing with a mental health disorder. Here are some tips for dealing with employment in the era of COVID.
Tips for COVID Unemployment and Mental Health
The United States government recently released an unemployment news report. They stated that the unemployment rate reached an “unprecedented level” of 14.8% in April 2020. That was the first time unemployment numbers skyrocketed since data started being collected in 1948.
The report also noted that unemployment rates exceeded the cases of unemployment each state experienced during the Great Recession.
In December, we got good unemployment news. Rates improved to 6.7%. However, that still means millions are dealing with COVID unemployment. Here are some tips for managing your mental health while you get back on your feet.
Realize You Are Not Alone
It can be challenging for someone to accept unemployment. For many, our jobs are a creative outlet, a sense of pride, part of our identity, or our primary source of social interaction.
Losing your job is undoubtedly horrible for financial reasons. However, it can also be a blow to your ego. Money will come and go, but how you perceive yourself can last a lifetime. You must address your mental health by being kind to yourself during this difficult time.
High-level executives and big retailers are losing their jobs and closing their doors. These same losses are happening to small business owners and their companies.
All socioeconomic brackets are experiencing this loss.
Losing your job wasn’t your fault. COVID unemployment holds no prejudice. Being unemployed is not a reflection of your value or self-worth. This realization is the first step you must take before getting back out there and looking for work-from-home jobs.
Go Over Your Finances
When unexpected obstacles that knock us off track pop up, it’s easy to live in denial. Losing your job can seem unreal. As a natural reaction, we can fall into a depression, sleeping away the reality of COVID unemployment.
It’s okay to live in your feelings. However, you must move forward and take the precautions necessary to ensure the situation doesn’t get worse.
It’s best to know what you’re working with if you experience your worst-case scenario. Before looking for a new job, figure out what your finances look like without one.
Start with your monthly expenses, namely the necessities. Figure out how much you pay for living expenses, utilities, and food.
Next, determine how much money your household brings in without unemployment checks. See how much of the essentials you can pay monthly with that money. Then, factor in anything else you might be able to pay off or down while receiving unemployment benefits.
Lastly, see how much you’d have to take from your savings to make ends meet once the unemployment checks stop. The goal isn’t to drain your savings.
It’s okay to fall back on them in case of an emergency. However, your savings isn’t a long-term solution.
This exercise is helpful because it creates a realistic representation of your finances. That way, you can prepare appropriately. Anxious people don’t like surprises. Mapping out a six-month budget can help control anxiety triggers before they persist.
In some cases, depression can turn us into a procrastinator. Knowing your long-term finances can create a sense of urgency while calm that some of us need.
Look for Jobs
Sometimes the best way to get over losing your old job is to start a new one. Thankfully, the latest unemployment news sees more people returning to work. However, it’s not happening at the pace many of us would like.
The world is still reeling from this pandemic. While there is hope with a vaccine, things still won’t be like they were pre-COVID. So, it would help if you put yourself out there now.
With extra time on your hands, you might make a career switch. Put some of your hobbies and talents to good use. If you’re a great writer or artist, try applying those skills to getting a job.
You can also learn new skills. Look for virtual assistant jobs, become a social media manager or a proofreader. There are many work-from-home job opportunities out there. You might have to think outside of the box and explore new avenues.
Also, get out of the mindset that you don’t have the skills to perform some of these jobs. More companies than ever are switching to work-from-home or hybrid scenarios. Everyone is dealing with learning curves. You won’t be alone if you need on-the-job training.
Get a Hobby
While you should actively look at jobs and update your resume, being unemployed is also out of your hands. You can’t force hiring managers to read your resume and call you back. So, stop worrying about it.
Our jobs are a significant part of our day. Many of us rely on the daily structure. Having all of this extra time on your hands can be destructive to anyone’s mental health. Use your time constructively to do things that bring you joy.
Watching TV or getting on social media is great once in a while, but don’t start binging. Instead, start working on the projects around the house you’ve been meaning to do. This sense of accomplishment will do more for your mental wellbeing than watching The Office on repeat or scrolling aimlessly comparing yourself to others.
Tranquility Labs’ Tranquilene Total Calm
Unemployment can really hurt someone’s self-esteem. Plus, financial stress can cause never-ending anxiety. These factors can have a significant impact on our hormones.
Whenever we endure stress, it raises levels of cortisol in our blood. Each day you remain unemployed (and bills arrive in the mail) just adds to the pressure. This daily stress can easily become chronic.
Studies show that those with chronic stress tend to have low levels of GABA and serotonin. GABA is known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Its presence helps relax excited neurons in the brain that can cause anxiety.
Serotonin helps regulate our mood. This hormone is essential for effective communication between brain cells. When serotonin levels are low, we are more likely to feel agitated and sad.
Tranquility Labs’ Tranquilene Total Calm is fortified with all-natural herbs, vitamins, and minerals that support GABA and serotonin production. This high-quality supplement also contains a variety of botanicals that are scientifically-proven to lower cortisol levels, including ashwagandha, Brahmi,, and passionflower. Taking Tranquilene daily can help you cope with COVID 19 unemployment so that you can get back in the saddle and ride again!
Work-Life Balance Tips When You Have a Work-From-Home Job
The most common COVID jobs involve a work-from-home setup. This change in workspace has allowed families to spend more time together. While this extra facetime with loved ones is positive, it can also be pretty draining!
Many of us saw work as a way to separate our personal life from our professional life. Now, you must juggle being an employee and a parent at the same time!
Additionally, your home office is just steps away. That’s a dangerous temptation for those who struggle with work-life balance. So, here are a few tips to maintain your sanity during COVID employment.
Designate a Space for Your Home Office
We used to leave our houses every day to go to work. Now, we can just pull our laptop into bed and get started. While this habit is very convenient, it can also be detrimental to your mental health.
Your house is your safe space. Meanwhile, work can be a source of stress. When you would leave work, the stress was supposed to stay in the office. So, where do you leave that stress when your office is your home?
People with long-term work-from-home jobs need to create a home office. Designate an area in the home where you can be stressed, creative, and productive all in one.
Many of us live in tight quarters. So, you might not be able to dedicate a room to a home office. Pick a corner, area, or setup that’s away from things that bring you happiness.
You don’t want to mentally link your bed, dining room table, or living room couch with negative memories caused by work. Inevitably, in smaller areas, one of these hotspots will need to be sacrificed. I highly suggest you don’t choose your bed. Beds are for resting, recharging, and healing. Don’t invite one of your primary stressors into such a sacred space!
Take Frequent Breaks, Especially Outside
A report by Fast Company found that people are more productive when they take frequent breaks. We’re used to being told how many breaks per day to take. Now we’re home, and we have more freedom than ever. So, take as many breaks as you want!
Taking a break after you complete a task allows you to retain new information. It can also inspire new ideas and better workflows for future projects.
If you take a break every 25-60 minutes, 5-10 minute breaks will suffice. For those working 75-90 minutes, 15-minute breaks are ideal.
During those breaks, don’t snack or browse social media. These “breaks” will actually cause you to feel more fatigued. Use that time to exercise or do a chore around the house. These are productive ways to channel your work anxiety into positive energy.
Make sure some of these breaks happen outside. You need fresh air and sun. These are an excellent way to get Vitamin D. Pre-pandemic, the average person was at-risk for a Vitamin D deficiency!
This essential vitamin is critical for so many physiological functions. Without it, our body endures stress, which festers our own anxious tendencies. Not to mention, a recent study reported that 80% of people with COVID-19 also had a Vitamin D deficiency.
Also, make sure you take a half-hour for lunch. Eat that lunch without watching TV or answering emails. Let your body know that it’s eating. That way, you don’t mindlessly snack all day on foods that will drag you down.
Make Room for Me-Time
Work-life balance is hard to navigate when both of those worlds collide under one roof. Just keep in mind that you can’t be everything to everyone. It drains you dry. Ultimately, no one is getting the best of you.
Spreading yourself thin doesn’t make you the model employee, parent, and partner you hope to be. Putting your best foot forward requires taking care of the person attached to that foot. Schedule yourself some much-needed me-time.
Partake in activities that bring you joy. Take a virtual class you’ve wanted to try. Hang out or chat with friends or loved ones you haven’t seen in a while.
Do things that bring you back to your true self. These little moments remind you why you work so hard and make all that effort feel worth it.
Stop Answering Emails After Hours
Before the pandemic, 43% of people checked their work emails regularly after work hours. Now, our work computers are at home with us. Checking our emails at all hours is almost expected!
Being “on” all the time means you’re never out of work mode. As a result, you’re at an increased risk of high cortisol levels that will disrupt your mental health.
Most things can wait until tomorrow. We should be firm about our office hours. Put an away message up, letting others know when they can expect to hear from you.
In some cases, you need to be available at all times. That doesn’t mean EVERYONE should have your attention. Prioritize who you answer and set filters so that only vital emails come through.
Tranquility Labs’ Sleep Fast Enhanced Melatonin Spray
Answering emails after hours or turning your bed into a home office can impact your sleep schedule. These habits can cause elevated cortisol levels. As we mentioned, cortisol affects your GABA and serotonin production. Cortisol also negatively influences our melatonin levels.
Our body relies on melatonin to regulate our sleep-wake cycle. This hormone helps us sleep through the night so that we wake up refreshed the next day. Without proper sleep, we will be lethargic, agitated, and anxious the next day.
When stress becomes chronic, so do sleep problems. So, we must be proactive by supporting healthy melatonin production. One of the most effective ways of achieving regular sleep patterns is with Sleep Fast Enhanced Melatonin Spray.
Sleep Fast Enhanced Melatonin Spray quickly absorbs in the mouth. This all-natural sleep-aid is further enhanced with calming botanicals, including chamomile and lemon balm.
Tranquilene’s proprietary formula is non-habit-forming and fast-acting. It definitely comes in handy when you wake up in the middle of the night stressing about work. Just a couple of sprays, and you’ll be back to La-La Land in no time!
Dealing with Employment During COVID-19
We all need to work to earn a living. However, our jobs don’t define our worth. If you are struggling with COVID unemployment or finding a work-life balance while working from home, take a moment to improve your mental health. You won’t solve any of your problems if you’re handling them with nervous tics and bouts of depression.
For those struggling with unemployment, take this time to work on yourself and other projects that give you enrichment. Hobbies, skills, and around-the-house jobs will provide you with the confidence necessary to get back out in the job hunt.
When you have a work-from-home job, treat it like a job. Have set hours for emails, and don’t transform your bedroom into the home office. Lastly, set boundaries between yourself, your job, and your loved ones. That is the BALANCE in work-life balance!
- COVID unemployment rates hit an all-time in April 2020 and have slowly improved by 50%
- Work on your mental health, finances, and resume before looking for COVID jobs.
- It is crucial to set boundaries to promote work-life balance when you work-from-home