A quick self help guide for anyone who may be feeling guilty as a result of
colleagues being furloughed or made redundant.
The term ‘survivor guilt’ describes the emotional, psychological and physical effects of non-redundant/non-furloughed colleagues. As millions are losing their jobs as a result of COVID-19, it’s something that’s often over-looked and underestimated.
Feelings of guilt for not being on the furlough or redundancy list are normal.
Going through survivor guilt is an awful experience for anyone, though for people who work in service industries because they want to help others and make people feel good, it may feel worse. It hurts those people a lot when others are feeling bad, especially if they’re losing a valued colleague and friend. Your own emotions are likely to be struggling between relief that you weren’t on the list and feeling terrible about those who were. You may be asking yourself ‘why me and not them?’
Healthy feelings of guilt help you to feel empathy and compassion. However, when this tips over into unhealthy guilt, it’s a burden that can affect your wellbeing, leading to a whole lot of negative stuff including as unhappiness, disengagement, mistrust, fear, anger, low morale, listlessness, loss of pride, feelings of aggression, anxiety, depression and physical ill-health.
If not kept in check, survivor guilt can overflow into other parts of your life. This is why it’s important to regain control.
Ten top tips for managing your own survivor guilt:
1. Accept that you are not to blame and be realistic about what you can control -
you’re responsible only for your own actions.
2. Let go of the past – put your energy and focus into now and the future.
3. Make the most of your luck by helping others – make sure your guilt doesn’t
cause you to avoid them.
4. Empathise, offer your support and be there to listen - “I’m so sorry this
happened to you. How can I help…?”
5. Share your own feelings with someone you trust – it’s important to find support for yourself, which, in turn, will help you support others.
6. Keep a journal of your feelings – writing them down can help organise your
thinking and help you find solutions.
7. Use this as an opportunity to improve your mentoring skills – a good place to
start is to learn the GROW model.
8. Work on your own mindset – when negative thoughts surface, ask yourself ‘how is this helping?’ - think about flipping them over into positives
9. Develop your emotional intelligence – here’s a helpful guide or read Daniel
10. LET-THE-GUILT-GO…it’s not happy, it’s not healthy, it’s not helping
By taking control of your own emotions you’ll feel more able to function normally, to move forward and to support others. Very best of luck…
July 31, 2020