Between rapidly changing pandemic-time rules (curfews! rule of six! weddings of 15!); talk of a ‘second wave’ and the incoming end of the furlough scheme, you’d be forgiven for feeling somewhat anxious.
If the latter issue does affect you, perhaps you’re experiencing heightened levels of panic. While a fresh initiative – the ‘Job Retention Scheme’, in which the government will top up your wages if you’re reduced to part time hours – has been announced, as you know, this only applies to ‘viable jobs.’ This somewhat clumsy, cruel language refers to occupations in industries which are still suffering the effects of coronavirus measures, such as those in the night time economy or in retail.
For those threatened by the loss of income, whole or partial, it’s very natural to be struggling. Here, Clinical Psychologist and author of The Imposter Cure, Dr Jessamy Hibberd, and Therapist and founder of Cultureminds Therapy Platform, Sharnade George, offer some wisdom. Hopefully, you find something to help you work through this shaky time.
1. Work to manage your feelings
‘The uncertainty of whether you will or won’t lose your job can be difficult: It’s natural and very human to experience a range of emotions in response to this, and it’s important we allow these feelings, giving ourselves time to adjust to this new information,’ says Dr Jessamy.
‘Our emotions help us to make sense of what’s going on. We can’t just jump to coping without processing what’s happening first, and then finding a space for it to fit into our thinking – a bit like dealing with grief, loss or trauma. Whilst it’s good to allow your feelings it’s also important not to get stuck in them and to differentiate between what’s helpful and what’s unhelpful.
‘The Buddhists say that whenever something difficult happens two arrows fly our way. At the moment that first arrow might be the looming end of furlough and the threat of job loss. The second arrow is your reaction to it. Now, we can’t avoid the pain and suffering the first arrow causes. However, we do have a choice in how we react – and we can prevent ourselves getting shot a second time. Whilst you’d hope after the first arrow, our minds would jump into gear and start supporting us, in fact our mind starts to work against us, telling us it’s futile and not to bother doing the things that make us feel better and, instead, enticing us with all the things that leave us feeling worse, such as catastrophising, alcohol, withdrawing and worrying.
‘It’s hard to