Work and money worries
- The recent economic crisis is impacting on Scottish companies, causing increased levels of stress and anxiety for individuals and families because of uncertainty, debt or unemployment.
- If you are affected by any of these concerns, this section gives you advice on maintaining your wellbeing in these difficult times and offers guidance on where to go for services that may be able to help you.
- Stress from being unemployed can affect your physical and mental health. Social support acts as a buffer against the negative effects of stress.
- Talk to family, friends and colleagues; express your feelings and concerns.
- Find a support group for people in similar circumstances. Look in the local library or ask your GP for your local group.
- Look after yourself. Give your body enough sleep and rest.
- Drink sensibly. Excessive drinking is ineffective and an expensive way to deal with difficult feelings. The effects of alcohol on mood are short-lived and when the drink wears off, you will feel worse. Too much alcohol doesn’t solve problems, it creates them.
- Eat healthily. Concentrate on fibre rich food such as wholemeal bread, fruit, vegetables and fish. Drink plenty of water.
- Keep active. Physical activity stimulates production of endorphins, the body's natural antidepressants. It will make you feel energised and positive.
- Ask for help. Look for all possible sources of support among individuals, groups and organisations. If coping is getting hard, don’t hesitate to contact your GP.
- You may benefit from talking to a counsellor or a therapist. They provide regular emotional support
and guidance. Taking care of yourself will help you to stay in good shape so you are able to cope well with life’s difficulties. It will also prepare you for your return back to work when a job opportunity comes up.
Coping with the stress of job loss
The impact of unemployment
- Work plays an important role in many people’s lives. It provides money and a source of social support. Many people feel that their job defines them and their place in the world, so losing that job can feel like a loss of status and even a loss of identity. This can affect confidence and self-esteem.
- If you lose your job the most important source of support is strong relationships with family and friends. It is therefore important to talk openly about your feelings with those who care about you. In situations that leave you angry, confused or sad, family and friends can lift up your spirits and keep you motivated.
- Children need to feel included in what is going on too. It is best to explain the situation to them in ways they will understand, according to their age. Reassure them that unemployment is not forever and that their routines of school and play will still continue. Children are very observant and if they know what is actually going on they will be a source of strength. If you can maintain a positive vibe yourself, children can help keep everyone else going during a period of stress.
- If you are out of work, it is important to register and claim for benefit support as soon as possible, or you could be overwhelmed by accommodation and other living costs. If you are unemployed and looking for work, or working less than 16 hours a week, you could claim Jobseekers Allowance (you must be over 18 years old).
- Consider any job you can do, including part time and casual work. These jobs can lead to full time work, so don’t ignore them.
- Networking and keeping up-to-date with any information which leads to jobs is essential. Ask friends, relatives and colleagues about work.
- Offer your time as a volunteer. Volunteer work is rewarding and gives you an opportunity to meet other people in a similar situation and you may learn new skills.
For those seeking employment there are many sources of help in the community. Some of the help available is noted below.
Joined up for Jobs is the jobs strategy for Edinburgh. It sets out how a partnership of key agencies will help more people into employment.
What do they do?
- Support unemployed people who need help getting a job and sustaining employment
- Help employers to find the workers and skills they need
- Implement the strategy to unite the efforts of many agencies to address local needs.
Helping people find work
Joined up for jobs aims to help anyone in Edinburgh wishing to get a job, to help them become employable for the kinds of work they are looking for and to understand what employers want.
The Wise Group provides training and employment opportunities for unemployed and workless adults throughout Scotland and the North east of England.
It is a charitable organization which is dedicated to helping unemployed people back into work. It further offers paid work experience and personal development which helps people prepare for employment.
The Wise Group Head Office is based in Glasgow (0141 303 313) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Site for finding Governement services and information, with a section dedicated to resources and information about working, jobs and pensions. 'Finding a job' section includes a comprehensive list of websites to assist with topics such as job search, volunteering, apprenticeships and job offers.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) exists to:
- Promote opportunity and independence for all
- Help individuals achieve their potential through employment
- Work to end poverty in all its forms.
How might this affect me?
For many people life can be difficult when money is a concern. If there is a limited amount of money coming in it can cause you a great deal of stress. It can be important to check your entitlements and any benefits you may be due. A good source of advice can be your local Department of Social Security or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
As soon as you start getting bills there is a danger you can get into debt. Debt is a major concern for many people in Scotland. Getting out of debt may mean that you have to make a lot of sacrifices but if you get this problem sorted out it will certainly clear your mind. The important thing is to get it sorted before the debt becomes larger and larger as ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Get help and speak with a debt counsellor who can arrange an appointment with you to look at ways of tackling your financial difficulties. Taking this kind of action will help to ease some of the stress and pressure money worries can cause.
If you are in debt it is important to keep in touch with the people you owe money to. They may be writing or phoning you and putting pressure on you to pay up! Unless you contact them, they will assume that you do not want to pay and may take legal action against you. Honesty with them is the best policy. You may well be able to negotiate a payment plan. In being honest you are making them aware of your financial circumstances and they may give you a short payment holiday.
It is essential to:
- Make a list of your debts – priority and non priority debt (see below)
- Make an income and expenditure list. Where can you realistically make some savings?
- Do not ignore creditors' letters or phone calls
- If you are thinking of using a debt management company take advice from one of the free advice agencies (see below)
- Do not borrow, if possible, any more money to pay your debts.
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can also help you to:
- Draw up an income expenditure sheet and a budget
- Deal with your creditors on your behalf
- Help if you feel your creditors are harassing you
- Always advise on the best way forward.
Always try to sort these debts out first as the penalties can often be more serious:
- Mortgage arrears
- Rent arrears
- Income tax and VAT
- Court fines
- Fuel debts
- Loans secured against your home
- Car loan and you need the car.
These can be tackled afterwards as penalties can be less severe:
- Credit card and store cards
- Bank overdrafts
- Benefits overpayments
- Money borrowed from friends and family.
Money concerns can place a huge burden on students and some may worry more about their finances than their studies.
It is one of the biggest causes of tension and stress in shared households as students argue over splitting rent and bills. It falls on parents a good deal of the time to contribute to their children's bills but despite this the average student still leaves college/university in debt and some parents will have to work beyond 65 to pay for their children's university education.
Many students will get a part time job to help meet some of their expenses. The minimum wage still applies to these temporary jobs. The current minimum (valid from 1st October each year) for 18 – 20 year olds is £4.98 per hour and for workers over 21 the legal minimum is £6.19.