What to do if you are unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic

Key points

  • Studies have shown that unemployment is related to increased depression and anxiety.
  • Acknowledging your feelings can help you recover from loss and move on.
  • When you feel overwhelmed, focus on what you can control and take action.

In any case, unemployment pressure can seriously affect your health. But during the coronavirus pandemic, your stress level may be higher than usual.

Given our current situation and global economic conditions, the likelihood of finding a new job soon is much lower. It is unclear when the social distancing measures will end or how the economy will develop when you can return to work.

Add in the fear of illness, the inability to leave home, and the need to educate your children, and you have the secret to increasing your risk of mental health problems.

Fortunately, if you are unemployed, there are steps you can take to deal with stress in a healthy way. Managing your pain and taking positive action may help you maintain mental health in this crisis.

The link between unemployment and mental health

Unemployment is associated with greater risks of depression, anxiety, suicide, drug abuse, and violence.

In fact, research has shown that unemployed people are twice as likely to experience depression and anxiety symptoms compared to people who maintain a stable job.

Here are a few reasons why not having a job can have a serious impact on your mental health:

  • Difficulties in paying for basic necessities: reduced income makes it difficult to buy food and pay for housing. The associated stress makes it difficult to maintain mental health.
  • Lack of purpose: not contributing to society and not bringing any income home to support their families will make some people feel that their lives lack meaning and purpose.
  • Reduce social interaction: No work means less social interaction, which directly affects mood and happiness.
  • There are fewer resources available for maintaining mental health: When your time and energy must be used to manage your life (food, housing, and basic necessities), you can use it to promote good mental health behaviors (exercise, maintain social relations) Resources will be reduced, etc.).
  • Unhealthy coping skills may be more tempting: while some people may cope with unemployment by cutting additional costs, others are turning to unhealthy coping skills, such as drugs and alcohol, which can damage health and well-being.

Faced with this situation, you can do two main things to manage your mental health: solve your unemployment problem, and solve your feelings about unemployment.

Solve the problem

When you are unemployed, it is important to take actions that help solve your problems, such as finding resources that can help you manage your financial stress and find a job.

During the coronavirus pandemic, finding a job may not be so easy. You may be waiting for the business to open so that you can return to your original job. Or you may not be sure whether your old job will exist after all this is over.

There are few places to hire now, so your chances of finding another job are limited now. But this does not mean that you should wait for things to get better with nothing to do. You can now take action to manage your finances and solve your employment problems.

This operation may include the following:

  • Apply for unemployment: Applying for unemployment may relieve your financial pressure.
  • Looking for new job opportunities: Whether you are looking for a new full-time job or a way to make money in the “gig economy”, actively looking for a job can help you feel better.
  • Create a budget: Creating a budget can help you better control your financial situation.
  • Manage your payments: Explaining your situation to your credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and other financial institutions may help reduce your payments. Financial institutions may also give you more time to pay your bills.
  • Search for useful resources: Whether you want to talk to a career counselor or looking for help paying your electricity bill, there may be resources available.
  • Continue your education: Taking credit courses or registering for online courses to enrich yourself may be helpful to your career.
  • Update your resume: If you start applying for a new position, updating your resume (and soliciting feedback from others) may increase your chances of finding a job.

Solve your views on the problem

In addition to solving your employment problems, you can also solve your emotional distress positively.

  • Practice good self-care: adequate sleep and a healthy diet are the keys to relieving stress. If you want your brain to function at an optimal level, you need to take care of your body.
  • Maintain social interaction: Although you may not be able to meet with friends and family in person, it’s important to keep in touch. Video chat, phone conversation, or send messages to each other on a regular basis. Positive social interaction can greatly improve your mental health.
  • Schedule your day: Going according to plan can help you feel better. Create time to deal with your work situation, leisure time, and time to do things that help improve your mental health.
  • Exercise: Exercise is a key component of maintaining good mental health. During a pandemic, you may need to be creative because most gyms are closed. But using apps or video exercises in the living room can greatly help you maintain your physical and mental health.
  • Coping skills to achieve health: journaling, meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are just a few examples of healthy ways to relieve stress. Make sure you have enough healthy coping skills available so that when your pain starts to increase, you can take some healthy measures.
  • Eliminate unhealthy coping skills: You may be inclined to turn to alcohol or food that can immediately relieve your emotions. But in the long run, these things will bring you more problems. Therefore, make unhealthy coping skills more difficult to obtain and monitor your usage. You don’t want to accidentally create bigger problems or bring new problems to your life.
  • “Change channels” during meditation: Indulging in things you can’t control will make you fall into an unhealthy state. If you find yourself thinking about how bad your life is, or you are making catastrophic predictions, please interrupt yourself. Get up and do something to change the channels in your brain. Distract yourself with housework or activities.
  • If you are experiencing difficulties, please consult a professional: if you feel frustrated or anxious, or if you are having difficulties at work, please contact a mental health professional. Talk therapy or medication may help you feel better.

Resources that can help

During the coronavirus pandemic, unemployed individuals have access to many employment and financial resources.


Whether you are worried about health insurance or having trouble paying utility bills, 211 can refer you to someone who can help. They specialize in finding useful resources, and they are free.

State government website

Each state provides slightly different benefits and services, so it’s important to visit your state’s website. This website can help you find financial assistance programs and unemployment applications.

Career one-stop service

This website explains unemployment benefits and can help you understand your eligibility.

Family’s First Coronavirus Response Act

The bill was enacted in March 2020 and explains unemployment benefits, paid sick leave rules, and food aid benefits during the pandemic.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

Small businesses can apply for low-interest disaster loans, some of which can be waived.Learn more here

Feed America

The Feeding America website provides information about local food banks and how to access them during this crisis.

What this means to you

Unemployment is frustrating and terrifying. Due to the uncertainty of the situation, it is difficult to plan for the future now. But taking care of yourself and your mental health can help you cope with some of the pain you feel.

However, if you are trying to manage your mental health, this is not a sign of weakness. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talking to the therapist will help. There are many ways to contact the therapist online, so you don’t even have to leave home.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means that you may receive updated information while reading this article. For the latest updates on COVID-19, please visit our Coronavirus News page.