Sadly, unemployment is a fact of life for many people, especially our youth. You might be smart, educated and really keen to get to work, but sometimes there are just not enough jobs to go around. Some people can find this really difficult to cope with, which can have a negative impact on their health.
How can unemployment affect my health?
Having nothing to do all day can get really boring. The days may drag, and you might find it hard to even think of a reason why you should get out of bed in the morning.
Having a job gives you confidence and a feeling of belonging and self-worth. Being unemployed can make you feel the exact opposite – unsure of yourself, worthless and isolated from the community.
Sometimes when you can’t find a job, you may feel as though you are a failure or that there is something wrong with you. Being knocked back for the tenth job in a row or having to sit at home while your mates go out and have a good time can really bring you down.
Applying for jobs and attending interviews can be very stressful. People may also tell you that you’re not trying hard enough. Running low on money can also cause you stress, as you worry about how you are going to cover the cost of the rent, bills or a new suit for that big interview.
Drug and alcohol abuse
Boredom, depression and stress can all lead people to abusing drugs or alcohol. They may see it as a means of escape, or a way to pass the time. This can have a serious impact on your health, as well as the likelihood of you scoring a job.
What can I do about it?
The best thing you can do is tell yourself that it’s not your fault. Many people go through stages in life where they can’t find a job – sometimes there are just no jobs around. Stay positive and keep on believing in yourself.
Be aware of the effects that unemployment can have on you. If you do feel low or worthless, challenge these thoughts – don’t let them get the better of you!
Work out new ways to use your time to your advantage. Keep up the job hunting but try learning some new skills or a new activity. Whether it’s something to put on your CV or something that gets you outside in the fresh air keeping fit, it’s well worthwhile. Why not do some volunteer work at the local community centre, take up part-time study or learn how to surf? Give yourself permission to enjoy life and feel happy.
Remember to keep an eye on your physical health. Make sure you eat healthy foods, and cut down on cigarettes and alcohol.
Also, keep in touch with your support system. Whether it’s mates, a careers adviser or someone at your job centre, having a support system can really help you to stay motivated.
Finally, find out what sort of financial assistance you may be eligible for. Your Centrelink office can advise you on your rights and responsibilities.