How To Deal With The Psychological Effects of Long Term Unemployment

Long-term unemployment can lead to a series of psychological health effects that can hinder a person’s chances of gaining employment. Studies have consistently highlighted the correlation between perpetual joblessness and depression, sadness and addictions, all things that can seriously diminish a person’s employability.

The psychological effects of long-term unemployment can be everlasting, and the consequences of not treating them right away can stay with someone for the rest of their lives. Indeed, receiving a pink slip and being out of work for six months, one year or two years can produce instability in a person and incite a downfall.

Hope is not lost, though. Rather than indulging in self-pity and still waiting for that phone to ring, a jobless individual should take the necessary steps to ensure that they do not fall into a pit of darkness and be clouded by negative feelings.

“The more you’re out of work, they think there’s something wrong with you," said Robert L. Leahy, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy and author of "The Worry Cure,” in an interview with CNN in 2012. "It’s a really nasty cycle that plays on you psychologically. It makes me doubt myself."

Here are seven measures to incorporate into your lifestyle in order to deal with the psychological effects of long-term unemployment:


Sometimes we all need a breather, an opportunity to take a step back and assess and reflect on our lifestyle. Taking a little time out of each day to sit and think about what you want to do with your life, what you’re most passionate about and how you can tackle the next series of hurdles can do wonders for your self-esteem and can help occupy your time wisely.

What makes life worth living?

In the 1979 motion picture “Manhattan,” Woody Allen’s character lies down on a sofa and lists various things that make life worth living. Some items on his list consisted of Louis Armstrong’s Potato Head Blues album, Ingmar Bergman films, Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony and the list goes on.

You should do the same by lying down and listing off the many things that make you grateful and happy to be alive. This can be anything from your family, home, health or even your interest in classic Russian literature. Remember, there are always people out there who are worse off than you.


Rather than sleeping in or spending your entire day watching television, go for a run, do some yoga or lift some weights. Any kind of rigorous physical activity is better than nothing at all, and this can help lighten up your mood and lift your spirits. We’re moving creatures and the need for exercise is always there.


If you’re jobless for a minimum of a year then there’s the chance that your skills may be outdated. Therefore, spend your free time obtaining new skills, new knowledge and new hobbies. Just because you have a college degree that doesn’t mean you should stop learning. We should be learning something new every day and perform tasks that make us more astute, conversant and wise.


Instead of sending out the same old resume to dozens of hiring managers, take a second look at your curriculum vitae and start producing several different versions. If your game plan hasn’t succeeded thus far then start making modifications, creating new resumes and cover letters and research what human resource professionals look for in resumes.

Furthermore, examine the labor market today and determine if your industry is booming or becoming obsolete and if there’s a labor shortage in other markets. You may have the skills to transfer over to another industry.

Improve the home

Let’s be honest: when we work Monday to Friday 9 to 5 (not including the commute) we’re too exhausted to do anything around the house. Well, now would be the perfect time to fix those kitchen cabinets, replace the leaky faucets, tidy up the garage and repair damaged goods. Keeping busy will help you avoid embarking on a journey into depression.


The most important tip to incorporate into your daily lifestyle is to think positively all the time. It’s easy to start becoming disenfranchised with your own life and feel that you are worthless. However, it’s untrue and as long as you start believing in yourself you can overcome any obstacle and get back up on that horse.

Unemployment is the most difficult experience that everyone faces at least once in their life. If you beat this employment struggle then it’s likely that you can become victorious in anything you put your mind to.

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How did you feel being out of work for a long time? Let us know in the comment section.



Photo by KellyB. via Flickr.




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