More than 40 million Americans across the country have filed for unemployment since stay-at-home orders went into place around mid-March. Businesses have been shut down, many of which are still unsure when they will be able to open their doors again.
This pandemic has affected essentially every single industry. Many people (incorrectly) believe that the healthcare industry is not facing layoffs and furloughs. And while this might be true of those who work in the emergency rooms, a huge number of health care workers are facing job loss and hour reductions.
For many of us, our jobs are far more than just a paycheck; they are a reason for getting out of bed in the morning and give us a sense of purpose and responsibility. Health care workers may be having an especially difficult time right now, as they want to help their patients but feel scared and powerless.
Keep this advice in mind when it comes to keeping yourself emotionally healthy, especially if you have recently experienced a layoff.
Know that what you are feeling is normal
You may not know what to do with yourself right now. We are all facing a new reality and it is normal – and expected – to feel a whole range of emotions. Instead of pushing these thoughts and feelings away, accept them. Acknowledge your negative emotions, give them language, talk through them, or write them down, and then let them go. This is an exercise in mindfulness.
Develop a new routine
Humans generally gain comfort in the routine of a normal day. One of the most critical things that you can do is develop a new and healthy routine. Something as simple as having a regular time to get up in the morning or go to sleep at night can go a long way in making us feel emotionally stable. Try to incorporate aspects of your old routine into your new one. If you used to go to the gym during your lunch hour, for example, look for ways to work out at home during the same time of day.
Search for ways to self-care
The exercise was just mentioned in the last section, which can go a long way in elevating your mood and overall disposition. Beyond that, try to find a small way every day to focus on socialization and your nutrition. Make it a goal to call a friend on the phone (video chat or not) and catch up. It only has to be for a few minutes, but this is a good way to reconnect and share your emotions with someone who can understand. What you put into your body also plays a big role in how you feel overall. Cooking and preparing meals can be a particularly great way to spend your time, as well.
Use this time as much as you can, but do not try to overdo it
There will inevitably be some people who seem to be thriving during this time. If you are having a difficult time, do not beat yourself up. Accept your emotions for what they are, and – as much as you can – focus on using your time to provide self-care and focus on the things that bring you joy.