How does job instability affect individuals?
With Covid 19 causing a financial crisis unlike anything since the Great Depression, anxieties towards jobs and recovering financially from the current economic crisis are at the forefront of people’s minds. Job instability is an awful experience; the anxieties that accompany it are hard to escape and can result in your health both mentally and physically taking a hit! Research has proven a direct correlation between job insecurities and declining mental health in workers. If this mental health decline is left unchecked, then a series of other issues may arise, such as substance abuse and self-harm.
Research has shown that both men and women experience anxieties over job insecurities. However, studies show that both genders deal with these anxieties differently. In addition, studies have shown that there are two main coping strategies when it comes to job instability.
This is when an individual strives to change the source of their stress and is implemented when the situation can be changed.
Consist of regulating the emotional response to the problem, and they are more likely to be implemented when the situation is viewed as unchangeable.
Studies have shown that when either of these strategies is implemented, depressive feelings decrease. However, in the face of job instability, it can be particularly challenging to focus on positive coping strategies and instead, it can be easier to focus on negative coping strategies.
Further coping strategies could include:
Negative coping strategies
- Avoidance strategies
- Social withdrawal
- Wishful thinking
Positive coping strategies
- Cognitive restructuring (focussing on the positive side)
- Express emotions
- Social support
No matter your coping mechanisms, this blog aims to educate readers on how job instability can negatively affect mental well-being and how to cope effectively.
Gender studies show that women tend to use more coping strategies than men and are more willing to open up about their feelings and emotional stress. However, in men, these emotional coping mechanisms are not implemented to open up about their feelings and emotional stress. Instead, men are more likely to turn toward self-criticism and social withdrawal to deal with their anxieties.
How job instability affects us mentally
While we sometimes want nothing more than to take some time off work, it can positively impact your life by having a structure and routine for your days. We also get to interact with people socially we may not interact with usually, offering us financial freedom. Hence, when these are at risk of being taken from us, it can cause a loss of identity, depression and anxiety. The bottom line is that people have mouths to feed, shelter to pay for, and health care issues, all of which together make adversely impact our way of living. Sadly, those with limited financial resources are most at risk of job instability, threatening their way of survival.
Furthermore, those who lost jobs due to a massive societal shock, such as the pandemic, have multiple issues, and prioritising mental health can be challenging. First, it is essential to implement positive emotional coping strategies listed above, such as turning to others for social support, cognitive restructuring, and expressing emotions. For example, suppose you feel as though you are ashamed to talk to close friends about your mental worries. In that case, it is essential to turn to professional guidance before effects on your mental health become detrimental.
If you would like to talk to someone about your mental health worries and the stress of job instability, then I would be more than happy to help. I know how challenging these times can be for those looking to lose a job off the back of the pandemic and build up to cold winter months. Speaking about your anxieties and stress is extremely beneficial and a great way of sharing the burden in a trusting, safe space. Letting something like a job get to you isn’t worth the emotional burden you must bear; if you find yourself leaning towards negative coping strategies, this could lead to a further onslaught of problems such as substance abuse and self-harm. Speaking to a professional therapist such as myself can help you implement positive coping strategies to focus on the positive aspects of life to get your mental health back on track.