Expert gives tips on how to deal with job loss during COVID-19 pandemic

Don't focus on what you cannot change - Grace Kariuki

Dealing with job loss during coronavirus pandemic

Losing your source of income at any point in life can be very traumatizing. It’s even harder at this time when we are facing the covid -19 pandemic. Unfortunately, due to the hard economic times being experienced across the globe, some people have lost jobs and others have closed their business being left confused about the next step to take.

Amidst all the stress and panic, you can easily make the wrong decisions or fall into depression. Pulselive talked to a therapist, Grace Kariuki, who took us through the process of dealing with job loss during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mixed emotions after job loss

First, Grace tells us that it’s normal to experience a range of emotions like panic, sadness, confusion, shock, and helplessness. Given that people will react differently to loss, Grace advises seeking psychosocial support from family, friends, spiritual mentors or professional counsellors.

“The first reaction is usually about how to pay bills or provide for the family. How will I pay rent? How will I put food on the table? Plus many other financial concerns. Then there is the feeling of sadness. Why me? This question can be laden with thoughts of guilt and shame. One might feel like they are being punished for something or they may feel as if they have been abandoned. So, emotionally and psychologically, a lot is going on that might create a barrier to problem-solving,” the expert acknowledges.

Solving the problem

For you to overcome the psychological trauma of losing your job or business, Grace says that you have to deal with the grief and loss issue which has different stages; Shock, denial, numbness, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Once one has reached acceptance of the loss, then it is time to move into problem-solving and decision-making. This is to adjust to the new normal and to advance by letting go of "what was." At this point, it is important to get a notebook and a pen. Get to a quiet place and start writing down what this loss of a job means to you. Identify the fearful and anxious thoughts you have. Write them down one by one.” she advises.

After accepting the situation, the next step is to look at your bills and identify what you need to pay or cancel out to survive. Look at what you already have and the available financial sources and budget for that. This is when you cancel out your WANTS and only deal with your NEEDS. Then you can now start considering alternative sources of income to cater for your needs.

“Instead of continuing to worry about what you cannot change, pay attention to the opportunity that has been presented to you and act on it. Some people will come out of this season having started a very successful journey of entrepreneurship that was triggered by the panic of losing employment.” Grace tells this writer.

Stress management after job loss

Managing your stress after job loss will also ensure that you successfully transition to the next phase. If you are dealing with stress, Grace recommends trying out these tips:

  • Physical exercise
  • Journaling as a way to process the negative thoughts and feelings
  • Eating healthy and getting adequate sleep.
  • Minimizing the time spent on social media and internet
  • Increasing your human connection
  • If the feelings of panic and fear persist, seek help from a counsellor

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