“Less than half (48 percent) of participants functioned as usual after losing a job, with most people taking several years to return to normal life.”
These results come from a research study conducted by Psychologists Frank Infurna and Suniya Luthar of Arizona State University, as reported by Medical Daily.
This study’s findings differ significantly from prior research on this same subject. It shows some people are less resilient than others.
When you lose a job or role, wide-ranging emotional reactions take off. It isn’t hard to break under your pressures and, ultimately, give up.
As such, the implications of this finding, stated by the researchers, are worth noting:
“If we believe most people are naturally resilient, this also implies anyone suffering some trauma needs little or even no help. At the same time, believing we have some innate ability to bounce back might lead us to expect too much of others — and ourselves — following a devastating life event, which may influence us to “blame the victim” whenever recovery is not immediate.”
Some struggle with managing the realities of unemployment. The resilience of others, on the other hand, helps them come to grips with their realities sooner.
What Is Resilience?
Mandy Oaklander, in The Science of Bouncing Back, defines resilience as:
“. . . essentially a set of skills – as opposed to a disposition or personality type – that make it possible for people not only to get through hard times but to thrive during and after them. Just as rubber rebounds after being squeezed or squished, so do resilient people.”
So, the good thing is: you can boost your resilience skills while navigating this transition. And, if you’re interested doing so, then please keep reading this article.
Upon completion, you’ll walk away with 5 different habits to practice daily. They’ll help you push through your difficulty with perseverance.
Benefits of Resilience in Unemployment
But first, let’s discuss the benefits of resilience.
You have two choices while you’re dealing with unemployment: break under your pressures or bounce back and press through.
When you choose the latter, you choose resilience – and resilience helps you ‘roll with the punches’ of the unemployed life.
Additionally, there are mental benefits as well. “Resilience can help protect you from various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety,” says the Mayo Clinic Staff.
You function in a healthy manner, when you boost your resilience skills.
Ways You Can Build Your Resilience
If you’re interested in enhancing these skills (you’re reading, right?!), then consider the 5 strategies I found helpful.
1.) Adapt to the Change in Your Circumstances.
Unemployment is one of those ‘negative’ changes in life, when compared to positives – such as graduating from college and/or graduate school or getting a job offer at your ‘dream’ company, for example.
You enter the realm of the unknown when it happens unexpectedly. It also brings other problems: lack of a job, loss of a steady income, change in your daily routine, and varying emotions and moods on a regular basis.
It isn’t easy to adjust to this type of difficulty. Change is painful.
But, learning to adapt and cope with unemployment is vital, if you want to thrive in every aspect of your life. Refusing to do so only leaves you stuck. Or, you regress backward instead of moving forward.
Everyone has different reactions to life’s changes. What I’ve found helpful, however, is:
- Accepting the Change. Changes happen in life, so you must be flexible to them – and adapt. This requires a release of past life and career expectations and your failure to meet them. This also requires the ability to be open to new paths in your career journey.
- Maintaining a Proper Perspective on Unemployment. With a proper perspective, you believe everything will work out fine, regardless of how things look right now. You understand your area of control and do what you can to better your situation daily.
- Learning from Your Failures. This is important when you’re unemployed and actively looking for a job. Every employment rejection you receive is a failure to secure a job you wanted. Still, it helps to bounce back and learn from these failures – assess what you can, make necessary improvements, and move on.
2.) Thrive on Hope (and Foster A Positive Outlook).
I’ve said it before and will repeat it here: how you view your situation impacts your ability to get through.
You’ll find it harder to function, if you’re going through unemployment without hope.
Why? Because your suffering will have you believing it’s the end of the world. You’ll see unemployment as a paralyzing event instead of a challenge. This, in turn, will have you believing you’re screwed in life.
When you have hope, on the other hand, you see your situation from the right perspective. You know this situation is temporary, regardless of how long it lasts, and you keep going onward.
When you maintain this perspective, you foster a positive outlook. You learn and grow from everything you experience (including the negatives), making changes when required. You believe there’s a job for you somewhere and see every failure as a learning opportunity instead of the definition of who you are as a person. (There’s more on learning and growing in the next point.)
In my life, for instance, hope is part of my faith in God. This hope inspires my resilience, despite those blue days and moments of discouragement. It provides the courage I need to move forward daily also.
So to you: never lose hope.
3.) Focus on Learning and Growing, Personally and Professionally.
Do you know a good way to stay active during this time? By learning. You’re learning more about resilience by reading this article, for instance. Good thing!
Active learning increases your positivity while dealing with unemployment.
It’s beneficial for your career as well.
Nowadays, there are many changes in the workforce. You can’t predict what happens in your career. If you’re like me, then you didn’t see unemployment coming your way. But, you have the ability to bounce back when you boost your resilience.
It’s helpful to learn new things through one of many ways: volunteering, helping another in some way, freelancing, or reading and applying. It’s also beneficial to learn more about:
- Your Reaction to Change. Have you moved past your negative reactions, or are you stuck in them?
- Your Life. Your progression in every aspect of life. Also, your interests, habits, strengths, weaknesses, skills, and values.
- Your Industry of Choice. Industry changes, issues, and updates in technology.
4.) Care for Yourself Every Day.
I discuss this often on Serenity Amidst Frustration because of its importance.
If you’ve been reading this blog, then you know care for self here covers your whole self: spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. This is one of the best things you can do throughout this time.
It’s easy to ignore your needs while you’re unemployed. It’s easy to push yourself to the point of exhaustion and overwhelm.
And what happens is: you participate in an unhealthy behavior, which is neglecting yourself. This isn’t good and affects your ability to push through your challenges with less stress.
When you take care of yourself, in contrast, you better your chances of moving onward healthily. You build your mental, emotional, and physical resilience. So try to do the following every day:
- Eat and Stay Hydrated.
- Rest and Relax.
- Establish and Maintain Boundaries in Your Job Search.
- Take a Break(s) When You Need One.
- Engage in an Enjoyable Activity.
These are a few of the many ways you can take care of your outer self. You already know what you should do for you, right? It’s just a matter of doing those things.
Additionally, you shouldn’t forget to take care of your inner self. Worrying and focusing on the future aren’t the hardest things to do in this situation. But, both come with negative effects on your health and well-being.
This is why you should beware of your focus and thoughts. This is why you should schedule and plan with flexibility. This is also why reading and studying the Scriptures (for the Believer) is important.
Please keep in mind: finding a job isn’t the only priority in your life right now. If you believe this, then you’ll move about without healthy boundaries in place. This will leave you distressed, stressed, frustrated, overworked, and exhausted.
This isn’t a good place to be, so care for yourself daily.
5.) Practice Patience and Endure.
As shared previously, the average length of unemployment nowadays spans longer. Patience is essential when you don’t know where your next employment opportunity will come from.
Unemployment allows you to practice patience on a daily basis. You want your situation to change immediately, but you must wait until it happens. It’s a challenging waiting process, no doubt.
But, the waiting provides opportunities to:
- Reflect on every aspect of your life for development and perspective.
- Think about your career and what you really want to accomplish.
- Invest your time in enriching, skill-building activities and helping others around you.
Research shows being patient comes with benefits too. A few are:
- Better Mental Health.
- Goal Completion.
- Good Health.
What I’ve found helpful when it comes to practicing patience is:
- Dealing with the challenges of unemployment with grace.
- Trusting things to work out – while I continue to do what I can each day.
- Engaging in spiritual disciplines and gratitude.
Resilience is “a set of skills” enabling you to bounce back from your challenges. You can learn and develop it to assist you in moving forward – with more wisdom and strength than you had before this experience.
I’ve presented 5 ways I’ve enhanced my resilience during this time for your experimentation. However, I realize you must find the best way for you to rebound and press through this transition – based on your life.
Even if you move against implementing these strategies, the most important thing is: coming to grips with your life’s change and refusing to let unemployment destroy every aspect of it.
P.S. How have you built your resilience in unemployment? Share with me on Facebook. Or, you can sign up (in the box to the left of this page) for article updates!
Disclaimer: This article contains outgoing links to the work of others on the following websites: Medical Daily, University of Washington, Time, Mayo Clinic, Mind Tools, and The Greater Good Berkeley Center.