If you are unemployed, you know and understand the stress you are under. But are you aware of the effects of your unemployment on your family? Unemployment is not a solitary issue, it’s a family issue.
You are home more. You are concerned about finances. You are stressed and frustrated. Your family feels these issues but may not talk about them but reacts in different ways. Here are 10 ways you can deal with the added stress.
- Explain your situation to your family, what happened and why. They have a right to know. Allow them to ask questions and answer them honestly.
- Take on extra chores around the home. This is especially helpful if your spouse is working or has had to increase their hours, or had to get a job. Even though you will be spending time looking for a job, taking on extra duties there will be less bitterness of your time at home.
- Control your stress. Your stress, spoken or not, is affecting your family. They can see and feel it.
- Assure your children that this is only temporary. Assure them that you are looking for another job and soon things will get better. In the meantime, everyone has to make some sacrifices.
- Ask for suggestions on ways to save money. Include everyone in this process. This is the touchiest subject. When they have some input, it will be easier for them to cooperate in responding to the necessary changes.
- Be careful how you answer questions from your spouse. How you answer is just as vital as what you say. What is going on with you is affecting them. They, as well as you, have had to make changes. They are worried and/or frustrated, too. Two common questions that you may have to answer are: “What do you do all day?” and “Have you tried (insert various job search strategy)?” These questions need consideration when answered.
- Spend quality time with your family. You have more time, spend time with your family. You have purchased many things to occupy time, use them. Take out the board games and DVD’s. Go outside for a walk, picnic, throw a ball around or go for a bike ride. Libraries usually have free passes to museums.
- Watch for changes in your children. Emotional and physical changes are likely to take place as a response to changes in the household due to unemployment. Your reaction to these changes is crucial. They aren’t about you personally, but as a result of the situation. They may take it out on you because they don’t know what else to do.
- Seek therapy if needed. If you have tried everything to keep your family together during this difficult time and your family is struggling to cope, seek professional help. You may be able to find free or low cost therapy by doing some looking. Church ministry can also help you out.
- Remember your wedding vows. You promised to be true in good times and in bad, for richer and for poorer. These words were blissfully spoken when you were only thinking of the good and the richer. This is still the same person you made these vows to. Acknowledge that there will be good and bad days ahead and be ready to be patient when the bad days come.
I don’t know the author of this quote: “Come and grow old with me, the best is yet to be.” If you and your spouse understand the challenges and are willing to face them together, your temporary unemployment situation won’t tear you apart. Instead, this will be something you will look back on as one of the many trials you have faced and conquered.