Is there a link between the economic recession and depression? Yes. Researchers indicated a rise in suicide in the United States between 2008 and 2010. (See Increase Seen in U.S. Suicide Rate Since Recession) The rate of suicide increased four times faster than previous years before our recent economic downturn. Similar findings were also found in some European countries.
No matter what country you live in though, losing your job in today’s economy is challenging. For some people losing their job is not just an uncomfortable bumpy ride but an airplane crash. How are you coping if you are recently unemployed or been off work now for a few years? Another scenario– if you are still employed, how would you deal with the loss of your current job?
Do not plunge into panic and despair. Recession and depression do not have to be twins walking hand in hand. Here are some suggestions to help you cope through this phase of your life:
- Don’t Blame Yourself – Losing your job is not your fault. Millions throughout the world are currently unemployed. We are part of a global economy that is intertwined like a ball of yarn. One event affects another. Do not browbeat yourself by thinking maybe you could have saved your job. Most cuts are across-the-board regardless of how good a worker you are.
- Keep a Routine – Falling into bad habits can be easier when you have more time on your hands. Don’t stay up all night surfing the web or watching television. Try and keep your body on a similar schedule of time as though you were working. Of course, no need to rise with the dawn unless you want to! Keeping a routine of some sort will keep you in a working mindset, whether working around the house or for that potential job that is coming your way.
- Have Purpose – According to the author of Blue Zones, Dan Buettner says centenarians, or people who live to be one hundred years old or older, have a purpose in waking each day. For instance, is it your purpose to be more physically fit? Do you want to show more kindness and understanding in life? What purpose drives you? The making of daily goals toward reaching your purpose, whatever it is, is quite satisfying to the soul. Even small accomplishments made toward your purpose will result in positive satisfaction.
- Exercise – Physical and mental exercise are important. As most of you know, when you exercise your body releases endorphins which act as your own body’s natural painkiller. Endorphins can help reduce moderate depression. In addition, exercise increases your serotonin levels in the brain which will assist you in staying calm while enhancing your sleep. You should incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. Also, make sure you are challenging your brain. Crossword puzzles and Sudoko puzzles are great ways to do this.
- Volunteer – The book, Healing Power of Doing Good, cites research stating that volunteering reduces stress levels, pain, insomnia, and other stress-related illnesses. There is always more happiness in giving. Beware though— you must volunteer for something you are truly passionate about. Negative results can occur when volunteering for something you really don’t like.
- Things to be Happy About – Every day, starting today, mark down on a sheet of paper one different thing to be happy about or something you appreciate in your life. The treadmill of life can keep you so busy at times that you may have forgotten there is beauty in life. The treadmill has slowed down now; start smelling the roses. You will be surprised at how much brighter life will look to you.
You can implement one or all of these things into your lifestyle. A little tweaking here and there can make a real difference in your coping with unemployment. However, seek professional assistance if your depression worsens. There is a difference between an occasional day of depression and serious depression. Let a professional determine what you may need.
So whether you have been unemployed recently or it’s been a few years, you can cope knowing you have the skills to do it. Now is the time to actually develop new life skills and focus on the more important things in your life while you have that extra time. Count your blessings—not your problems. Recession does not have to equal depression.