Unemployment is an issue that never seems to go away in our society, and it can happen to just about anyone, no matter their age, experience, or background. While unemployment can be a very short-term situation, when it continues for a substantial period it can be severely damaging to a person’s mental health. It can lead to a loss of confidence and self-esteem, which in turn, makes people less likely to apply for jobs or come across well in interviews, causing an unfortunate cycle. Conversely, when we do have a career, it can have a hugely positive impact on our mental wellbeing. Here are five ways that your career can boost your mental health.
Earning an income
One of the main downsides of being unemployed is the lack of a reliable or substantial income. This can lead to anxiety, stress, and many people find themselves indebted to either lenders or family and/or friends as they try to get by. Financial pressure is renowned for the devastating impact it can have on individuals, relationships, and families, so it makes sense that having a career with a reliable income would provide both peaces of mind and security. Being financially independent can also help a person’s self-esteem as they will not need to rely on others.
Building an identity
A career can give you a strong sense of identity, particularly if you are working in a sector in which you are interested and have a role you enjoy. When you love what you do, you will be motivated to give it your all. If you work within a company or team, you may also have a sense of communal identity and the reassurance of the support of others, as well as an understanding of the unique value you bring. Wearing custom clothing as part of a uniform can reinforce this sense of identity and of belonging to a group.
Providing social interaction
Going to a place of work regularly and working alongside other people provides social interaction, which is important for our mental health. Whether we get on with our colleagues or not, reaching a level of familiarity can help us to feel valued and noticed. In some cases, people meet good friends throughout their career, which can bring them joy and emotional support for many years.
Being unemployed often means that people spend a lot more time at home and, with no schedule to stick to, their routine can disappear. This can lead to a loss of purpose and can even interfere with a person’s circadian rhythm if their sleep pattern becomes erratic; for example, sleeping late in the day and staying awake at night. Having a career provides routine and structure on a daily basis, but also gives people longer-term projects and goals to focus on.
By sticking with a career, developing skills, and nurturing talents in order to succeed, a person can give their self-esteem and confidence a significant boost. There is no feeling quite like completing a project that nobody else could have done, or hitting targets, or succeeding in making a difference to others. The right career can become an integral part of our identity and success in that career through hard work and dedication is immensely rewarding.