Tips for Coping with Unemployment

UnemployedUnemployment is tough, not only are there financial repercussions, but there are psychological ones as well. Getting laid-off no matter whether it is due to adverse nationwide economic conditions, or due to personal errors in judgement, it’s still painful. According to a Gallup poll Depression Rates are Higher for Long-Term Unemployed. “The longer that Americans are unemployed, the more likely they are to report signs of poor psychological well-being. About one in five Americans who have been unemployed for a year or more say they currently have or are being treated for depression — almost double the rate among those who have been unemployed for five weeks or less.” 

On the other hand, Healthy Eating Linked to Lower Likelihood of Depression so even if you’ve been fired, you need to continue to take care of yourself and eat healthy meals.

Unemployment can initially result in our systems going into a form of “shock” which makes it difficult to think clearly and so we tend to get depressed and just “shut-down”. But it is important to act quickly to minimize the negative impact on both yourself and anyone who is depending on you.

1) Cut Back on Expenses

The first thing you need to evaluate when you are out of work is what expenses you can cut. With a lower level of income for the family, even if it’s just for a few months, spending less each month will be essential. Eating out less and spending less on entertainment will be a given, but looking at some more structural expenses may be in order. For example, with another person at home, you might want to look at cutting back on child care. You should also consider cutting out things like house cleaning and lawn services. You might also look into things like cutting back on cable TV services or magazine and newspaper subscriptions.

2) Make Sure You Get All Compensation Due

When you are out of work, whether it’s a permanent layoff or a temporary absence due to illness or injury, you need to make sure you are getting all the private and government money you are eligible for. For example, if you are injured in a car accident and can’t work, you may be eligible for short-term disability pay, as well as workers compensation pay if the accident happened while you were doing something work-related. If you have been laid off permanently, you likely will be eligible for unemployment pay and should sign up as soon as possible.

3) Look for Work Right Away

If you have been laid off, you should begin looking for work right away, even if you are depressed. You might even want to consider taking on part-time or temporary work while you look for a full-time job in your field. You could put specialized skills to work doing freelance or consulting work. You also might want to consider doing volunteer work to learn new skills and meet new contacts. Whatever you do you should consider Job hunting you full-time job. Don’t assume this is time for a vacation or an opportunity to play video games.

4) Take Advantage of Programs

If being out of work puts your income below a certain threshold, your family might qualify for programs such as food stamps or reduced school lunches. You should take advantage of these programs to help manage your family funds and not worry about any perceived stigma that may be attached to them.

Being out of work, even for a short while, can have devastating financial effects on your family. Following these tips can help ease the burden.

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