The relationship between depression and unemployment poses a unique problem – the more you can’t find employment, the more depressed you become, the less motivated you are to seek employment.
An unemployed person has a real risk of developing anxiety and depression. So many people lost their jobs during the past year with lockdowns and businesses closing down. In some sectors, jobs are very scarce and the job market has changed a great deal. When you are under pressure to secure a new job, feelings of anger, frustration, hopelessness, and depression can easily develop.
Of all aspects of social misery nothing is so heartbreaking as unemployment. – Jane Adams
Fast Facts on Unemployment in SA
- 28,5%: South Africa’s unemployment rate (2020)
- 55.2%: South Africa’s youth unemployment rate for the age group 15-24 (January – March 2019)
- 31%: Unemployment rate for graduates in South Africa in 2019 compared to
- 19.5%: Unemployment rate for graduates in SA in 2018
- Almost 4 in every 10 young people in the labour force did not have a job
However, the graduate unemployment rate is still lower than the rate among those with other educational levels, meaning that education is still the key to these young people’s prospects improving in the South African labour market.
The causes of unemployment
include increased population, rapid technological change, lack of education or skills, and rising cost lead to financial, social, and psychological problems.
Common reactions to unemployment are:
- problems getting to sleep or staying asleep,
- tiredness and fatigue,
- Loss of appetite
- memory and concentration problems, such as forgetfulness or vagueness
- feeling overwhelmed, anxious or fearful
- mood swings or over-reactions to small things,
- muscle tension or pain,
- withdrawing from others, not socializing as much
- Loss of hope
The following article appeared in https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/how-to-manage-stress-stay-positive-while-unemployed-0714165
1. Share what you are going through with the people in your life. Bottling up your emotions turns you into a shaken soda can. You can keep the emotions suppressed for a long time, but eventually, you will explode, and all those bottled-up emotions will come pouring out. If you have some bad news or major upset, tell people close to you about it and how you feel.
2. Stay active and engaged in activities, even if you have to force yourself. Although you may want to be alone (increased isolation leads to increased loneliness), you may feel better if you try to participate in some routine activities you previously enjoyed with your family and friends. Volunteering is another way to fight isolation, and it has the added benefit of allowing you to give back to the community. Volunteering can also provide valuable networking opportunities.
3. Practice self-care. Make a list of small activities that you can do once a day that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to cost money. Read a book from the library, go for a walk, a bicycle ride, swim, watch a movie, visit a friend for coffee, or bake something.
4. Practice self-love. Don’t be tough or critical of yourself. You have to love yourself first before other people can love you. Make friends with yourself.
5. Allow yourself time to heal and adapt. Don’t expect an overnight miracle. Feeling better takes time. Keep your expectations realistic. Understand that depression is an illness, and it takes time to adapt your lifestyle, for the medicine to work, and for you to resume your activities as before.
6. Avoid making any major decisions, such as relocating or ending a relationship, until you feel better.
7. Practice eating a healthy diet, at least 80% of the time. Under or overeating is a symptom of depression. It is essential to have a well-balanced diet that prevents tiredness and feeling run down.
8. Practice healthy coping skills. Avoid “soothing” with smoking, drug use, or alcohol, which can all cause dependencies. In particular, alcohol is a depressant and, despite giving it a temporary lift, can worsen depression.
9. Separate planning from doing. Being unemployed creates a situation where many people feel they will do anything out of desperation. It can cause the person to become tangled up in making lists and plans without following anything. Plan today (preferably every evening) what you will do tomorrow. Write it down. It keeps you focused and crosses it off the list when you completed the task. Taking time to reflect can increase your chances of learning from your experiences. At the end of each day, look at your list and cross off the things you’ve accomplished. Try writing down what you feel proud of accomplishing that day.
10. Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule. Don’t just sleep till you wake up (which can be 11h00) because you have nothing better to do. When you have a whole day to yourself, it can seem like you have all the time in the world, but this time goes by quickly, and before you know it, a year has passed. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help you stay productive and will also regulate your mood. Set an alarm Monday through Friday. Having a plan will help you to make the best of each day, and it fights depression. One of the best rules to get going for persons who really struggle to get out of bed is to wake up, stand up and make your bed neatly. Then you are ready to start the day.
Feeling Ashamed of Being Unemployed?
Are you afraid or ashamed to tell people that you are out of work?
Accept that unemployment is a normal occurrence.
Firstly: is it a shame or a normal condition? The job market has been fluid for as long as man has lived. There have always been people in and out of work. It is just part of life as we know it. It’s a difficult time, it’s hard to cope, but it’s seldom something anyone intentionally wants.
Don’t be ashamed to tell people you are unemployed.
A recent study in the USA showed 44% of people got a job through their social contacts. The more social contacts that you have, the easier it is to get a job. It also means that if you are too shy to tell people you are unemployed, you could be missing out on jobs.
Don’t assume that everyone is a critic.
How do you feel about a friend or family member who is out of work? Do you treat them like they are an outcast? You probably have more sympathy and acceptance for a stranger than you might have for yourself.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Unemployment is a normal part of life for millions of decent people.
- Being unemployed is not a crime or a moral failing.
- Feeling ashamed of economic conditions is like blaming yourself for the economy. You didn’t cause it; you don’t control it. Bad things happen to good people during difficult times.
- Taking back your life means getting out, talking to people, and normalizing what you do.
- Don’t assume that people will judge you. Maybe they have been through this in the past.
- The more people you talk to, the better your chance of getting a job.
The article appeared in https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/anxiety-files/201310/feeling-ashamed-being-unemployed
Graduated and unemployed?
If the expectation is that you’re going to graduate and get a job, and this doesn’t happen, it can be upsetting. It’s important to realise it’s normal to feel down about this and then take measures to prevent your behaviour from spiraling.
1. Target your resume
As a general rule, you should never stop editing your resume for the rest of your career. Research shows that most employers spend less than 30 seconds reading a CV. Develop an infographic CV where they can see a synopsis of who you are on one page.
2. Revamp your resume post-interview.
Continue to revamp your resume throughout your job search process to address any questions potential employers have asked within interviews, which can be key indicators for improving your resume.
3. Start looking for jobs right away – AND DON’T STOP.
The job hunt can take a while, so it’s best to start as early as possible. If a job prospect seems promising, don’t stop your search until you have an employment offer that is signed, sealed, and delivered.
4. Don’t waste time and effort.
Don’t waste your time by applying for jobs you already know you don’t qualify for. Rather spend your time looking for a position that has actual potential!
5. Invest in a great interview outfit.
Pick something timeless, professional, simple, and polished that won’t go out of style. Men should look for a nice suit or even go for a nice pair of dress pants and an Oxford shirt. Women should look for a simple dark dress and blazer or dark pants or skirt paired with a simple white blouse and, perhaps, a blazer.
6. Grow your network.
It’s important to build your network of professional contacts within your industry. You can do this by joining professional organizations and getting involved in their events.
7. Be realistic.
As a recent college graduate, you likely have limited experience. As a result, you may not be qualified for your “dream job” right out of the gate. Working toward your dream job is what your ultimate goal should be. Many college graduates take on jobs that have nothing to do with their degree or don’t even require degrees to pay bills
8. Stay open to different possibilities.
Avoid boxing yourself into one job description. Getting your foot in the door is often a bridge to your dream job. Rather than turning down a job offer that is not your dream job, consider where any job offer may lead. Always be open to learning new skills while you are searching.
The beliefs people have about themselves and the world around them come in 2 categories
1. Sensible or rational beliefs: they are true; they make sense or are helpful.
2. Foolish or irrational beliefs: these are untrue, don’t make sense, or are not helpful.
The foolish, irrational beliefs or thoughts are cognitive distortions. To feel like a failure is a cognitive distortion. Cognitive distortions are inaccurate thoughts that reinforce negative thought patterns or emotions. They are faulty ways of thinking that convince us of a reality that is simply not true. It is tough to get ahead if you are overwhelmed by negative thoughts.
There are a few main cognitive distortions that you need to know about and perhaps recognize in yourself:
1. Filtering: it refers to how many of us can somehow ignore all of the positive and good things in our life and focus solely on the negative. It can be far too easy to dwell on a single negative aspect and ignore many good things.
2.’Black and White Thinking’’: It is all about seeing black and white only, with no grey shades. This is all-or-nothing thinking, with no room for complexity or nuance. If you don’t perform perfectly in one area, you may see yourself as a total failure instead of simply unskilled in one area.
3. Overgeneralization: is taking a single incident or point in time and using it as the sole piece of evidence for a broad general conclusion. For example – you went for a job interview. It was a bad interview, and you didn’t get the job. Now you assume you are bad at interviews – period.
4. Jumping to conclusions: refers to the tendency to be sure of something without any evidence at all. For example, you believe someone dislikes you without the flimsiest of proof.
5. Blaming: We assign our responsibility for an outcome by blaming others for what goes wrong.
6. Crazy-making: When confronted by others, the person tells them they are totally wrong and off-track with their observation – thereby telling them they can’t trust their own perceptions.
7. Compartmentalizing: The person divides life into compartments, where one has nothing to do with the rest. It is a way of keeping thoughts, feelings, and behaviours separate from the other parts of your life.
8. Hopeless & helpless: The person believes nothing can improve the situation and feels all is lost.
How do you challenge and change foolish, irrational beliefs (FIB)?
A foolish belief can be turned into a question, and then you can dispute it, for example:
FIB: Nothing good ever happens to me and never will.
Question the FIB: Does nothing good ever happen to me?
Answer: I have a good, caring family. I cannot say that nothing good ever happened to me.
FIB: I always fail
Question the FIB: Do I always fail?
Answer: I’ve done some useful things in the past, so I don’t always fail.
FIB: I deserve this
Question the FIB: Do I deserve this?
Answer: I don’t deserve this – life is tough, and everyone has tough times. I am not specifically being tormented.
FIB: I’m totally worthless.
Question the FIB: Am I totally worthless?
Answer: Although I have done some stupid things, I have also done some good things with success, so I cannot judge myself as a worthless person
When is it time to get some help?
- Feelings of guilt
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Withdrawing from others
- Feelings of hopelessness and suicide
- Inability to get out of bed
- Weight loss or gain
- Everything feels more difficult due to a lack of energy.
When you experience the above-mentioned changes, it is time to seek professional help.
The following article appeared in https://www.moneycrashers.com/budgeting-tips-5s-system/
1. Make a Budget
The first step for any family wanting to take control of their finances is to make a budget. A budget will allow you to understand where your money is going and enable you to adjust your spending by designating how much you can afford.
2. Live Within your Means
Be honest with yourself about what you can afford. Don’t go into debt to get a brand-new BMW when you can only afford a used Corolla. Don’t go on a shopping spree and rack up bills on a credit card. Aim to pay for everything with cash instead of with credit. If you do not have any cash to buy something, it’s imperative to understand the difference between needs and wants before using credit.
3. Cut Down on Expenses
Look over your expenses to see what you could do without them. The first and most obvious expense is digital TV. The cost in SA is nearly R1000 per month, and you are wasting a lot of time watching pointless television. Also, consider getting rid of expensive gym memberships – which in SA can be R800 per month. Start finding alternative ways to exercise at home and stay in shape.
4. Earn Extra Income
If you cut every expense from your budget that you possibly can but still can’t pay your bills, consider finding ways to bring in some extra cash. You can do many things to earn extra money at home, working just a few hours a week, such as freelance writing, web design, and babysitting. Consider starting a small home business, but watch out for work-from-home scams and get-rich-quick schemes.
Most of us like to have a lot of stuff. But do we really need it all? Do you use everything you own, or is there something in your home that you could sell online on Amazon or eBay? Think about your home. Perhaps you do not need as much space as you currently have and can downsize to a smaller home or apartment. There are a lot of benefits to downsizing the home that will save you a lot of money.
7. Become Self-Sufficient
I am fascinated by the idea of becoming self-sufficient, although I am also intimidated by it. Of course, becoming self-sufficient is a process and not an overnight transformation. Some ways to become more self-sufficient include growing your own vegetables in a home garden, cooking and cleaning the house yourself, making your own homemade baby food recipes, and doing your own car maintenance.
8. Shop Around
Make a note of specials offered in stores. Look at prices when you shop. The most expensive products are usually at eye level. Specials are often on the highest or lowest shelves or at the back of the shelve.
Sometimes you just have to go without. Perhaps that means saying no to your friends when they want to go out. Or perhaps that means participating in free activities instead. Sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice some of your “wants” to make life better for your family. You will become a better person for doing so.
The line between luxuries and necessities isn’t always clear, and it is a line that can move over time. For example, is fiber internet a luxury in your home to watch movies or is it necessary because you need it for work?
The dictionary defines a necessity as “an indispensable thing” – something that everyone needs. There are some things that everyone clearly needs just to survive, such as food, water, shelter, and clothing. Food will include having access to fresh fruit and vegetables and clean drinking water in the area where you live. Housing is to be able to afford “adequate shelter or housing” for yourself and your family. Health: do you have access to adequate health care, a safe place to exercise, and easy access to medicine?
MUST-HAVES / WANTS:
“Must-Haves” are bills you “have to pay no matter what”. These are expenses that you can’t eliminate, no matter how low your income is. All the basics, like rent, transportation, insurance, and utilities, go into this category. It could also include a car payment and auto insurance.
Living on a budget often requires you to cut spending on Must-Haves, as well as Wants. Downsizing to a smaller house or an apartment is a way to get your budget back in balance while still meeting your basic need for housing.
A luxury is “an inessential, desirable item that is expensive or difficult to obtain.”
Note that this definition has two parts. Luxury isn’t just something that’s “desirable” – it also has to be expensive. This suggests that luxuries are valuable not just for the enjoyment they provide but also as a sign of status. If luxury items are, by definition, expensive and unnecessary, then it follows that people must be more likely to buy them when they have plenty of cash.
Economics Help explains this concept by comparing three different types of goods:
Inferior Goods. These are products that people are more likely to buy when their income falls. One example is cheap, single-ply toilet paper, a good way to save money compared to regular, two-ply toilet paper.
Normal Goods. These are products that people buy all the time – everyday basics like food and clothing. People buy more of these goods when their income is higher, but not all that much more. In general, they buy only what they need, stocking up just a little when they’re flush with cash.
Luxury Goods. These are products that people are much more likely to buy when their income rises. Two good examples, based on the Pew poll results, are flat-panel TVs and iPods. If you’ve just gotten a raise or received a hefty tax refund, you’re much more likely to go out and buy a new flat-screen than if you’re on a strict budget.
The line between necessities and luxuries isn’t rigid. It changes over time as new goods enter the market or become obsolete. It also depends on what’s seen as normal – not just in the world, but in your own social group. This means that one person’s clear luxury could be seen as normal – even necessary – to another. If your friends don’t have cars, a car could be a luxury. If everyone you know has a car, it becomes a necessity.
The article appeared in: https://www.moneycrashers.com/difference-between-needs-wants-luxuries/
References & Resources