While the Georgia Department of Labor shows unemployment rates in Central Georgia communities like Macon and Warner Robins dropping, a significant number of people are still impacted by job loss.
A person's initial thoughts may be, "How do I pay my bills?" or "What am I going to do next in my career?"
But some of the challenges an individual faces when he or she receives the proverbial pink slip are even more basic than dollars and cents.
On Eyewitness News Mornin' this week, Dr. Daphne Stevens, a licensed Macon psychologist, confronted the loss of self esteem and the emotional blow a person takes when the bad news comes.
She explains that possible problems include a drop in self esteem, strained family relationships, social isolation, even trouble sleeping.
And those factors, Stevens says, all too often give way to depression. She urges people to beware of these depression risks:
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Change in appetite
- Suicidal thoughts
She says the key to fighting your way back from these pitfalls can be broken down into some basic approaches. First, she says, remember unemployment is no reason for shame. Thousands of people nationwide have shared your experience and survived, even capitalized on new opportunities.
Second, Stevens reminds job seekers, unemployment is temporary. Consider being without steady work a phase and not a defining state of being.
Third, Stevens encourages people to ask themselves why they're unemployed. If their industry has changes dramatically or the type of work in which they specialized is obsolete, it may be time to move on.
Finally, accept that life is always about change, and, while frightening, change can be exciting.
She encourages people to cope by engaging in positive self-talk, communicating with family members, and eating well and exercising.
Healthy use of time is also key. Stevens suggests volunteer service projects, spending time with family, and picking up an old hobby.
Finally, she tells job-seekers to commit to one positive step every day towards employment. Even if it's just one phone call, interview or e-mail, it could be the one that leads to a new career.
If you have questions for Daphne Stevens, 13WMAZ will share them with her. Email them to email@example.com.
Here are a few more steps Stevens suggests to head off possible problems.
- Notify creditors.
- Consider temporary agencies.
- Contact Consumer Credit Counseling if needed.
- Check employment sites like monster.com
- Evaluate your marketable skills.
- Explore aptitudes and interests.
- Look at bigger picture: future jobs and training programs.
- Federal Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/oco)
- Find local technical schools for specific training