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Overcoming Challenges

6 Tips: Overcoming The Physical And Mental Challenges Of Unemployment

The year 2020 has been tough on many fronts for many people.   Job losses have been widespread, bringing stress and feelings of vulnerability to too many individuals and households. 

Overcoming unemployment’s physical and mental challenges is not easy, but it’s possible if you accept the fact that you can control much more of its impact that you at first might think.

We’re here to show some ways to overcome unemployment and the challenges that come with it. We previously wrote about the ways unemployment can have an impact on our physical and mental well-being.  Here we list a few of the things you can do specifically to overcome the stress of unemployment. We’ve divided it into two groups...first, how to better understand and cope with what may be going on inside us as we face unemployment, and second specific actions you can take to better the situation in your outside activities.  (We trust you’ll quickly see how intertwined they are and how helping one area helps the other).

What’s Happening?  The Internal Struggle 

The good news is there is a link between unemployment stress and mental health.  We mean ‘good’ in the sense that it helps explain some of the stress you’re feeling.  Studies have shown that people who lose jobs are twice as likely to report being depressed or feel symptoms of anxiety. 

While the feelings aren’t pleasant, you can start turning the situation around and reducing the internal struggle.

Physical And Mental Challenges Of Unemployment #1: Accept Your Feelings 

Many people want to distract themselves from their feelings, thinking there is only harmful and can be turned away.  As shown in various recovery settings, accepting emotions is a better alternative. First and foremost, separate the “feeling” about the situation from the situation itself.  Unemployment may have happened to you, but the feelings you have about it are yours to control.  Accept the feelings as just that...YOUR feelings...and you’re on the path to taking back control of part of the overall situation.  Try to step back, take some deep breaths, and grant yourself the gift of being patient. You are trying hard.  You are doing it in arguably one of the worst times in our history.  It’s okay if it takes you a little longer than you’d have otherwise thought. 

Physical And Mental Challenges Of Unemployment #2: Maintain Perspective 

Maintain Perspective

Take all things into consideration when you start to feel down about yourself and your situation. Remember, this is not a failure.  It has been an unprecedented time, with unprecedented effects. Companies have had to make choices that impacted many people.  Remember, that’s the situation.  You didn’t cause it, but you get to control how you feel about it. 

Also, there’s a higher level of reality you should consider as a positive.  This is NOT a permanent state of things.  The more you can accept this aspect of it, the better chance you have of making that reality happen, meaning you start focusing on getting out of the situation rather than being stuck in its current reality.


Physical And Mental Challenges Of Unemployment #3: Take Care Of Yourself 

Practice self-care. This includes taking breaks to avoid overwhelming yourself. Make time for activities to relax and destress. For example, write down your feelings, make a list of what needs to be done later, or simply take a deep, calming bath. These are all simple steps but can quickly shift the mood or environment, either of which will boost the internal state of things, allowing you to bring more of your A-game to the outward-facing options.

Fight The Good Fight 

No one steps into the ring without having prepared in advance.

This means having a mental strategy, practicing, and relying on those that you know to help you where they can.  The fight out of this current reality is no different.  The practical steps are essential to overcoming unemployment (and its related stress).  Let’s look at three of the most concrete steps you can take to pack a punch as you get back on track!

Physical And Mental Challenges Of Unemployment #4: Develop A Game Plan 

Life has a funny way of interrupting if we have no plan. Make yourself one, and stick to it.

As we noted, no athlete (fighter or otherwise) goes into the game without having mentally scanned the field, thought about how they’ll maneuver the terrain, or preplanned their counterattack if they suddenly find themselves at a disadvantage.  In the context of tackling unemployment, before you go to have conversations that may turn into a job, think of the preparation that should happen.  

  1. Update your CV, looking at it through the eyes of someone that knows nothing about you.  
  2. Search for jobs, looking for descriptive points in the listing you can directly tie to some of your skills or passions.  
  3. Prepare for interviews (even if you haven’t had any yet). We all have recorders in the palm of our hands now.  
  4. Think about recording yourself, answering the typical questions you can think of, and then listening to how you sound and how you look to someone that doesn’t know anything about what might the ‘real’ you. 
  5.  If you can’t think of great questions to ask yourself, do some quick research on the most common interview questions employers tend to ask. Practice them, so it feels natural when you answer them in front of others.
  6. Most tactically, build yourself a schedule to start getting these things done. 
Physical And Mental Challenges

As we said towards the end of our last article, your job search is your current “job.” This planning IS your work right now.  Stick to a schedule, so you’re one step closer to being paid by someone else for your work.  If you’re finding lots of jobs that require things you are not trained to do, look at how you can get trained. These are activities you can do to prepare to get yourself back into the game mentally. 

This is just the planning stage, but DO NOT take it lightly.It’s as crucial to success as the execution of the plan itself.

Physical And Mental Challenges Of Unemployment #5: Exercise 

No matter how hard you work on the mental prep, your physical and mental beings are tied together.  If you only take care of one, you’re asking for trouble with the other.  Stress relief plays a massive role in a feeling of positivity.  Going back to the mini role-play we suggested in asking yourself interview questions, think of how you perceive someone that doesn’t come across with energy and vibrancy.  Now get yourself some of that energy and vibrancy so you can bring it when you’re having employment discussions. Stress gets in the way of being productive if you don’t find a way to relieve it. 


To this end, getting some exercise is very important. It improves your mood, gives you energy, and boosts your confidence.  Most importantly, relaxing tension in your body takes away some of your stress that can clog your mind. 

We are not suggesting a full-out killer workout every day, but make sure you’re getting your body moving.

There are so many studies that show the benefits of even moderate exercise, it’d be a fool’s errand for us to try to note them here.  Trust us!

Physical And Mental Challenges Of Unemployment #6: Network 

According to LinkedIn, 80% of professionals understand networking is imperative for finding and acquiring new roles. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that you try to start networking as much as you can, whether it be online or in-person at job fairs, open days, or other networking events.  Reconnect with old friends or colleagues who may notify you if there are open positions where they work.  Ask for a virtual cup of coffee and be honest about what you’re seeking.  Also, be candid about the fact that you may not have been in touch for a long time, but now is when you’re calling on old friends for new ideas.  Be open to (and grateful for) their time and thoughts.  Follow up with them to let them know how you’re doing with any guidance they give you or walls you’re running into.  The math that’s lost on most people is that you don’t need to worry about the thousands of jobs that may NOT fit your profile.  You only need that one fit, that one right connection with someone.  That’s the next step you’re looking to take.   

Final Thoughts 

You can do many things to ensure that you aren’t just sitting around and letting the hard times get the best of you. Overcoming unemployment is difficult, but not impossible. Moreover, you should not need to do this alone. During this challenging time, it’s crucial to seek out resources to help you get out of your situation.   At Kinetic Potential, our Career Advisors are ready to help you formulate your game plan and point you in the right direction. 

Do internal work to care for your mental health.  Do external work to ensure you can find a new role. You will make it out of this situation as long as you keep trying!  KP is ready to help where we can.

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