Looking after family and family relationships in times of redundancy
by Soumya Karkera
“I am scared of what the future holds for me and my family.” shared a parent.
I could feel the fear in their voice, the tension in their body, the concerns for their family, a sense of loss of identity, anger and questions like – Why me? Why does my family have to go through these tough times? This is unfair!
During the pandemic, I had the opportunity to speak to several parents and individuals who were at risk of redundancy or already lost their jobs. One thing that I noticed in common was the deterioration in their emotional well being and the impact on their mental health. Losing a job and being unemployed, can in itself take a toll on one’s mental health, the added pressure of financial worries, the stress and pressure of looking for new jobs can be extremely overwhelming. Also, losing a job can bring in some of the feelings that are similar to loss or bereavement.
Redundancy affects the whole family network
Losing a job not only impacts the individual but their whole family network. When financial resources are removed or stopped, the whole family struggles especially in matters like paying bills, mortgages, supplies for the family, school or uni fees for children, holidays, medicines become a matter of worry. This could also have an impact on the relationship between couples, other family members as other family members may have to contribute financially to help out etc. In the case of single parents and sole earners it can be even harder.
“I don’t even know where to start talking about my problems, I don’t know where to ask for help and what to tell my children. They will be anxious and worried for me and I don’t want to press the panic button. I have to cancel the holidays we have been planning for 2 years.” – Single parent
These are some things people shared with em when they were going through a period of redundancy,
- Feeling anxious all day
- Feeling pressured to find a job immediately
- Losing respect in the family, not being treated well
- Experiencing low levels of self worth
- Feeling the urgency to bring the money in and get things back to normal
- Experiencing high levels of stress, depression and low mental health
- Loss of identity and recognition of self
- Lack of confidence and control
- Fear of failing interviews and fear of rejection
- Not knowing how to talk and share the problem
- Feeling judged and not supported
How to Cope with redundancy with your family?
When there is a lot on your plate while looking for work, like doing interviews, applying for various jobs, finding the motivation to boost your self- esteem to go through failures and rejections it is important to find ways to keep looking for work and be in a healthy mind space. Seeing one struggle can change the family dynamics, it can be disheartening and bring stress to every individual of the family.
In this situation, don’t forget to focus on the positives like being able to spend more time with family, use this as a teaching moment to children that life brings with it both good and bad surprises. When things don’t go as expected, as a parent you can lead by sharing your own example. They learn how parents manage difficult times and find new learnings useful for their own life. Sharing both strengths and struggles are necessary for families to build resilience and keep moving forward.
The whole family can find ways to manage limited financial resources, new spending habits like budgeting and thinking about the needs, minimalistic spending, choosing to buy things second hand or from charities is an excellent way to explore new ways to still buy things without spending a lot.
As a professional who works with a lot of families, I suggest talking through these issues is important. It could be to a professional or someone you trust that can listen to you without judgements and come from a place of empathy, support and timely guidance to move forward. When you talk and share your worries, you will be able to process your thoughts and see your next steps clearly. It will help you to stay calm and connected and also provide the necessary reassurance from another trusted human.
What are some key things to remember, when going through such difficult situation,
- Allocate specific time in the day to apply and research for work (don’t make it a whole day thing, schedule your calendar) Similarly make time for rest and family commitment (add it in your calendar)
- Focus on what you can control, do more of it ( apply for new jobs, keep doing your interviews, ask for help regularly, take care of yourself, take regular breaks, eat well look after yourself )
- Pay attention to your mental health and get in touch with a professional if you need support
- Keep track of your spendings, explore your financial resources, speak to people who can help with getting your finances back up
- Identify how your current situation is having an impact on family and have open conversations about it, empathize with each other
- Don’t just focus on the negative, focus on the upsides of this situation
- Take care of your mental health, don’t ignore or neglect your self care practices
- Try to manage overwhelm, talk and share with people you can trust and be held in a safe space. This can help you feel calm, get clear in your thoughts and goals and communicate with confidence to your family.
“In every crisis there is a transition”- Dr. Edith Edger
This quote has stayed with me for a long time and I encourage parents to acknowledge the pain and suffering it brings with it but also to notice the growth and life lessons this transition brings along with it. The journey of moving forward for self and family, coming together of struggles and strengths, gathering tools that show the new way. Making conscious healthy choices, finding opportunities during this crisis all along the way during this transition is different for every family but holding each others hand and doing this together brings compassion to get through this phase with greater confidence.
Soumya, is a life coach for children and parents. Since she was a child she dreamt of becoming someone who could help children find their own voice and stand up for themselves at all times in their life. As a mum and practicing professional, she knows the importance of nurturing life skills that contribute to good mental health.
Soumya is passionate about arming children with simple, effective tools to use in their daily life so they can navigate the world more confidently. So, not only they are able to enjoy life when things go their way but also when life throws curve balls at them. Learning those essential skills now will help them to know themselves, understand their emotions, to step up to challenges and BELIEVE in themselves.
Soumya believes that it is equally important for parents to make shifts and changes if the family unit needs to function in harmony. Collaborating with parents, helping them to connect the dots and show them the bigger picture, providing reassurance, guidance when needed and rebuilding their own confidence is all part of her current role as a parent coach.
What’s in your suitcase is most discussed in Soumya’s session as this is all about educating, building awareness and finding helpful tools, techniques and strategies parents and children can carry with themselves for their road ahead. Tools that will
make them happy
keep them connected to each other
build their resilience
protect their mental health
boost their confidence
and always keep them connected to their true self