More than 40 million Americans — or one-quarter of U.S. workers — have filed for unemployment benefits since the middle of March. These staggering figures have understandably made people across industries worried about losing their jobs, too.
Those concerns can take a toll on a person’s mental and physical health —especially coupled with worries about how long it could take to get another job in this economic climate.
“Fear is meant to motivate us in a specific moment when our life, health, or well-being is directly threatened,” Los Angeles therapist Amanda Stemen, owner of Fundamental Growth, told HuffPost. “The problem with fear about something that could happen in the future is that we hold onto that fear for far longer than our nervous systems are meant to hold onto it.”
Ongoing fears about losing your job can worsen existing mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Physically, that stress can lead to headaches, appetite changes, sleep problems, reduced immune function and digestive issues, Stemen said.
While some people can thrive at work under extreme pressure, it hinders others’ job performance at a time when they really want to excel.
“Since chronic stress impacts our cognitive abilities, people who experience layoff fears may struggle to concentrate, complete tasks to the best of their ability and in a timely manner — or at all — and come up with creative and innovative solutions,” Stemen said.
Such fears may also make it more challenging to manage your moods, which can strain relationships with your colleagues.
“People might struggle to motivate themselves and be more likely to lash out at co-workers or struggle to work with others in general,” Stemen said.
So how can you cope when you’re constantly worried about getting laid off? We asked experts to share their advice.
Acknowledge your fear.
Between everything you’re reading in the news and what you’re hearing from people in...