9 Steps for Coping with Unemployment Anxiety

Unemployment is a painful time.  This transition can also be a time for growth.  Families can use stress relieving techniques to regain control of their anxieties while facing their reduced circumstances and seeking new employment.

 While job uncertainty creates stress, taking steps to incorporate life balancing practices alleviates anxiety.  Self-nurturing adds balance to one’s life and builds up self confidence in the best and worst of life circumstances. One place to start is with basic self-care. The self-care wheel found at Olga Phoenix Project suggests activities to give care to the self in each of six areas-spiritual, physical, emotional, personal, psychological and professional.

 Steps You Can Take Right Now:

9 Healthy activities you can add to your day to combat the down side of unemployment are:


Become aware of your breathing.  Several times a day, practice breathing deeply, as you notice the good feeling of sending oxygen throughout your body. 3-5 Slow, deep breaths can help you care for yourself throughout a tough day.

Guided imagery

Use peaceful memories to mentally relax in the present moment.  Five to ten minutes is all it takes to engage your imagination and feel the renewal of your spirit. Audio recordings are available if you prefer to listen to guided imagery.

Talk to yourself

Affirmations are another self-soothing habit, inexpensive and proactive.  You can list them on a sheet of paper, or on file cards that fit in your pocket.  Some of these, which you can repeat to yourself throughout the day, could be: “I am lovable.”  “I am capable.”  “I am smart.”  “I am good.”  “I am important.”  Self-care books with other suggestions are available at your library or bookstore.


Though tempted to feel abandoned when things don’t go our way, leaning into faith when things don’t go our way can provide a real source of strength in times of uncertainty.

Hang out with others

When in job stress, it is important to stay connected to friends and to not isolate ourselves.  If your friends tend to expound on their latest cruises and vacations, you may feel safer with other more life-giving friends at this time.

Make use of media

Recall favorite books, movies and songs that have uplifted you and inspired you.  TED TALKS have a number of anti-anxiety and stress-busting talks you may look up and watch online.


A healthy practice for every day is to wake up recalling something for which you are grateful and just before going to sleep being thankful. Rather than being lazy, dig deeper than the visible surface to those intangible things you might overlook, but truly appreciate.


Think back to a time when you were in a challenging situation.  Recall the strengths you exhibited as you coped with the situation and regained your strength to move on. Now think how those strengths can be utilized in these circumstances. Those traits you have are called resilience. They stay with you and can be called into use over and over again.  They are yours.  You can call on your resilience every time you require power to meet a challenge.

Look for the Gift

 This is a tough one, and it may not be clear until years down the road.  Does your unemployment open a window for you to accomplish another of your life’s goals?  Could this be an opportunity to work on a neglected project that your unemployment makes time for?

You Can Do It!

The above steps can be put into practice, little by little, if they are life-giving for you. We all have times we wish we didn’t have to endure.  However, we can choose to be balanced and healthy while going through these tough times.  As the Olympic coach Bela Karolyi says, “You can do it!  Why not?”

For further reading see fullerlifefamilytherapy.org for blogs Managing Disappointment and “Fear and Panic.”

Laurie Cardella Headshot

Contributed by

Laura Cardella, LPC-Intern

Supervised under Dr. Amy Fuller, PhD, LMFT, LPC

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