How Employment During COVID Affects Your Anxiety

Image Credit: FG Trade/E+/GettyImages

A global pandemic was bad enough. To throw in teetering toward an economic collapse just seems like overkill. That's how 2020 has been treating us, though, and if it's freaking you out, that's completely normal.

What we may not have expected is who's bearing the brunt of anxiety in a time of pretty catastrophic under- and unemployment. Researchers at the University of Connecticut have just release a disquieting new study about mental health during COVID-19 and its surprising fallout for workers. One might expect that being out of work would be more stressful than maintaining a reliable paycheck, but in fact, the opposite is true. Workers with jobs actually report more stress than those without.

"Controlling for demographics, controlling for income level, and also taking into account participant health and concerns about COVID — and the extent to which people were engaging in social distancing or quarantine — we are seeing that job security and financial concerns are the significant predictors associated with anxiety and depression," said principal investigator Natalie Shook.

One out of every 3 Americans has been left financially stranded by COVID, and even the act of staying home all the time (working or not) is grinding us down in a big way. In addition, we're worried about the future of the United States — and about how racism is beating up our mental health. As far as the workplace goes, Shook urges employers to reduce uncertainty about their future for employees as much as possible. The less people worry about being eliminated, the better they'll be able to live their lives and perform.