“Back in 2017, my husband was made redundant from the company he’d been with for nearly 15 years. He was devastated at the time, but fortunately found another job fairly quickly.
“At the time, we had three children all under eight and money was very tight. He’s been with the new company ever since and has worked really hard for them and been promoted twice. The problem is though, he’s now terrified the same thing will happen to him again.
“He’s worked really hard all through lockdown but with so many stories of people being laid off, he’s permanently anxious about losing this job too. As a result, he’s been working all hours under the sun to make sure he stays in people’s good books. He has even suggested he should try and get a second part-time job, just in case!
“He’s already exhausted, so how he thinks he’ll manage two jobs, I just don’t know. He’s so stressed out and has started shouting at me and the children. I’ve tried to help by getting a job myself, but I’ve had no luck at all. How do I stop him from working himself to death?”
“I am very conscious of the fact a great many people are going to be left without jobs and in debt because of the pandemic, and the effect it’s had on employment (amongst many other things). I wish I could tell you that it will be alright, but I really can’t because who knows what will happen after all this.
“Obviously, if you could get a job, it might take some of the pressure off him, but the marketplace is hugely competitive. That’s doesn’t mean you can’t help. Give your husband all the support and love he needs and try not to directly criticise his decision to look for another job himself. If he perseveres with this idea though, you might remind him that if he stretches himself too thin, he may not have enough energy to do his main job properly – and thereby risk redundancy again, as well as his wellbeing suffering.
“He needs to find time to relax and recharge, so encourage him to make space for this. Things like yoga and meditation would certainly help. If that’s not his cup of tea, perhaps you could get the family out for a walk each evening when he comes in from work – and try and get into the countryside to do it at weekends. Walking in nature is recognised as being very helpful to people’s mental health, and the stress your husband is under certainly needs an outlet of some kind.
“Staying calm yourself won’t be easy, so perhaps you could try the yoga/meditation option? You don’t give me any clue what your husband’s job is, nor do I know anything about the industry he is in, but some activities will obviously have survived all this better than others.
“Hopefully, your husband’s fears will be unfounded, and his employers will be robust enough to survive the damage this pandemic has inflicted. But those things are often out of our control – so focusing on what we can control, like caring for our wellbeing, can be very beneficial.”
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