Even as businesses reopen, millions of Americans have lost their jobs due to Covid-19. So how can you help a friend or family member get back on their feet?
As we begin our fifth week of Savannah’s #stayathome order, those who have lost jobs or whose loved ones may be temporarily unemployed are really hurting. The stress of coronavirus is really hitting home.
Mental health is an important part of overall well-being, and so we have asked Dr. Davana Pilczuk to offer some suggestions for dealing with coronavirus stress, including the challenge of losing one’s job and the stress of being apart from others.
How can you help someone you love deal with the stress of being laid off?
First, just listen to them. When people come to us to vent or complain, we tend to start giving out advice. Try to do the opposite. If a loved one calls you up and tells you the painful news, just listen. Fight the urge to lecture or advise and just truly listen.
Questions Calm the Brain
When we get upset, it’s hard to think logically and see next steps. We react with our primitive brain, where fear and anxiety reside. By asking questions, we use the prefrontal cortex, or the logical part of our brains, which is the part we need to help us make some rational decisions. Questions like, “What are you most upset about?” “What are some old hobbies that might occupy your time?” actually help calm people down.
Don’t assume you know what someone needs when they turn to you for help. Instead, ask what help looks like. Asking something like, “How exactly can I help you?” in order to clearly understand what’s needed will make the conversation more productive, for both of you.
Well wishes are nice to hear, but someone who is truly struggling will need more than that. If the person who comes to you for help is important to you, or has helped you in the past, then step up. Hire them for a little side business. Let them tweak your webpage, walk your dog, or cut your grass. Whatever it is, actually provide them some active form of help.
People Need Purpose
When someone you care about is hurting due to coronavirus stress or temporary unemployment, more than their pocketbook has been injured. We derive a great deal of purpose and value from our work and when that is taken from us, we suffer an emotional loss.
Be kind in these moments, listen, ask questions and remind your loved one that they still have great value in this world and you are here to help them through this.
Dr. Davana Pilczuk, Owner & Principal, The Human Performance Group LLC