In early March, the coronavirus was declared a national pandemic in the United States. The highly contagious and sometimes deadly virus started spreading like wildfires as it infected thousands of people. In an effort to flatten the curve and secure the health and safety of the general public, the US government implemented temporary laws and regulations. This included the closing of non-essential businesses, prohibiting public gatherings, and strongly advising all Americans to remain at home unless absolutely necessary.
COVID-19 Increases Financial Fear
These temporary adjustments, though vital to preserving lives, have inadvertently caused a great deal of financial pressure for the average American household. Millions of people have lost their jobs while others find themselves working fewer hours each pay cycle. As if money management wasn’t something most people already struggled with, this sudden disruption has evoked a lot of fear and stress.
Every day, a myriad of questions run through your mind exacerbating your fear and anxiety. Will today be the day you are laid off? How will you continue to afford the things you need? What’s going to happen to those who rely on you? What bills will you prioritize? What happens if you can’t afford to pay your car note, rent, or mortgage? Will you be homeless or without transportation? More importantly, how long will it be before things go back to normal?
Consequences of Living In Constant Fear and Anxiety
You have every right to experience the emotions you have right now. In fact, it wouldn’t be normal if the current pandemic didn’t drudge up some overwhelming moments of fear, panic, and anxiety. Be that as it may, remaining in this state of mind every day will result in grave consequences both physically and emotionally.
When the mind and body are under constant pressure, the resort to what is known as fight or flight mode. Your body’s natural systems go into overdrive to try to cope with the added pressures. You might begin to experience trouble eating, overeating, difficulty sleeping, lack of concentration and focus, irritability, frustration, social isolation, body aches and pains, weight problems, a weakened immune system, and a greater chance of developing mental illnesses or life-altering health conditions.
Coping with Pandemic-Induced Financial Stress and Anxiety
Seeing as how remaining stressed and anxious about the financial pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic will only do more harm than good, it is vital that you develop the appropriate strategies for coping. Below are some strategies you might consider trying.
Take Care of Your Health
Although it’s common for those struggling financially to put their health and wellbeing at the bottom of the list of priorities, this is the worst thing you can do. In fact, now more than ever, you need to take care of your health. If you are not physically or emotionally well, this not only adds to your problems but reduces your ability to take action and gain control of your finances during the pandemic.
Every day, you should be consuming at least three nutritious meals a day, exercising for at least 30 minutes, and getting at least 7-9 hours of good sleep. You should also maintain daily routines, take care of your hygiene and physical appearance, and find ways to indulge in positive activities that boost your mood.
Identify and Control Triggers
What causes you to feel the most fearful or anxious about your finances during the pandemic? Though you can do nothing single-handedly to control the virus or the economy right now, you can control how you respond to what’s going on. This starts with identifying triggers and controlling them.
Does watching the news cause you to become overwhelmed? If so, then reduce the amount of time you spend watching. Do you get stressed out by phone calls from creditors and service providers? Try contacting them, explaining your situation, and looking into options to reduce or put off payments until you’re back on your feet.
Work With What You Have
Unfortunately, you can’t snap your fingers and fix your financial circumstances. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your emotional wellbeing is to learn how to work with what you have. By taking a serious review of your finances and expenses and devising a new management strategy, you can greatly reduce your fear and anxiety.
How do you learn to work with what you have? Though things may be tight, there are a number of strategies to consider. Create a new budget reporting your actual income during the pandemic. Eliminate or reduce expenses to stretch your income further. File for unemployment or other financial assistance programs to cover some of your necessities. If you’re in a financial jam, yet still have an income source, you could try online installment loans to help tide you over.
Finances have long been one of the leading causes of stress for American citizens. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only added to those pressures and increased levels of stress and anxiety for millions. As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the physical, emotional, and financial health of many, it is essential to learn how to cope. Using the above-mentioned strategies can help you to overcome these emotional pressures as you work to find a more permanent solution to surviving the pandemic.