How to cope with unemployment

How to cope with unemployment


As South Africa faces a sharp rise in the unemployment rate, there’s no doubt that those who find themselves without a job may be facing countless challenges. As a society, we don’t speak enough about how the stress that comes with being jobless can take a serious toll on one’s physical and mental health.


Being unemployed can leave you feeling anxious and uncertain about your future. However, this feeling of uncertainty after job loss is something that isn’t uncommon. Whether your contract has just ended, or you were fired or retrenched, you may be experiencing a whirlwind of emotions such as shock, denial, frustration, anger and depression.


While losing your job can become quite overwhelming, here are three things you can do to regain some control over the situation, ease your anxiety and maintain high spirits.


Take care of your well-being

Losing your job may leave you questioning your abilities and self-worth, however, allowing yourself to grieve is a completely normal experience. Although we all grieve differently, finding a healthy outlet to provide you with relief will help you deal with the loss and eventually assist you in moving forward.


Focus or pursue activities that will bring you joy or a sense of peace. Whether it’s expressing your creativity or trying a new hobby, avoid letting the job search consume you. Make time for yourself, have fun, rest and relax. Say it with me, “Self-care”.


Ask for help

Unemployment is something that can have an impact on your whole family and anyone else living with you. Instead of carrying your problems alone, speak to someone you can trust. Express how you feel and what you’re going through. Their support may be able to help you get through when you feel like you’re in your darkest hour.


Even if it means putting your pride aside, leaning on the people who care about you allows you to let off steam and have an emotional release. If you aren’t able to speak to a family member or to someone you can trust, contact crisis lines such as the National Depression and Anxiety Support Group (0800 456 789) and the Unemployment Support Group (011 234 4837) for help. Always remember that it’s okay to not be okay and there’s no shame in anything you’re feeling. 


Don’t give up!

You don’t have to accept defeat. This is just a setback, not the end. Continue the job search and be proactive. Try not to get too comfortable just sitting at home and use this time effectively to achieve your goals and continue your job search. Update and polish your resume or CV and cover letter and ask yourself whether your resume reflects who you are and what you’re capable of. If it doesn’t, then you have to go back to the drawing board and think carefully about what you would like to include and exclude to showcase yourself.


Coping with unemployment can be stressful. Even though these steps may not prevent unemployment, they can help you alleviate some of the stress and anxiety you may be feeling. By following them you’ll be able to come out the other side still a winner.


In the words of Queen Beyonce Giselle Knowles “If you feel insignificant. You better think again… You’re part of something way bigger. Not just a speck in the universe… You’ll never lose, we are winners.”  

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