Personal Finance

Dealing With Financial Stress During COVID-19

The ceaseless COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted most parts of our lives. Like countless others, as you work from home, you may have been a victim of “cost-cutting” or “laying-off” in your company. With unemployment on a sudden rise and small businesses struggling or forced to shut down, we are all bogging down under financial stress. 

New to the term “Financial Stress”? Let us help you with that. 

Financial stress is the anxiety or worries you feel regarding financial difficulties in your life. Like any other kind of stress, financial stress can impact your health in a multitude of ways, from how you physically feel to the way you behave with your near and dear ones. 

Financial stress has become a monster making us sweat with constant headaches, uncertainties, fears about our and our family’s future with furrowed brows. Imagine sleeping only to wake up with disturbing thoughts or visuals of losing your job and being unable to pay bills, the surmounting debt, or the monthly budget going out of hand.

Now before you jump to conclusions, have a look at the tell-tale signs of financial stress:

  • More or frequent arguments with your better half or family members are the most common signs. The conflicts can or cannot be related to money.
  • You are hiding bills or receipts from your mate or family members so as to avoid being nagged or “getting caught” spending money.
  • Facing trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night.
  • Binge eating to relieve tension or a drastic change in your eating manners.
  • Failure to improve your financial behaviour, loss of control of thoughts and or loss of hope, disconnectedness, etc.
  • Physical body responses like – Excessive sweating, headaches, cold palms, etc.

A study infers that financial stress can lead to prolonged inflammation in the body. Keeping your stress levels flat – especially financial stress – can help you keep your overall health in check in these trying times.

Dealing with the pandemic-induced Financial Stress

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc, the hardest-hit families aren’t in a position to reduce expenses, as they are forced to withdraw their emergency savings. Nevertheless, there are steps you can take to improve your finances, irrespective of your socioeconomic status.

Overcome Physical Signs of Stress

Reducing the physical signs of stress helps you resolve the money problems adding to financial stress. 

  • Eat healthily: The COVID-19 induced problems and the financial stress coupled together have pushed us all towards unhealthy foods for comfort. Commit to sticking to healthy eating habits.
  • Stick to an exercise regime: Gyms being closed isn’t an excuse not to work out. Working out at home helps release those happy hormones, too, other than keeping you fit and fine.
  • Reach out to the doctor: If you are experiencing physical signs of stress, talk to the doc. They can help you find ways to tackle these.

Address Your Feelings

Before you start hustling with your money problems, it is advisable to keep your emotions in check. 

  • Talk to People: Staying connected plays an essential role when it comes to being mentally healthy. Communicating your financial problems to someone, a friend, family member, or colleague goes a long way to make you feel better and provide you clarity.
  • Tackle signs of addiction: Stressful times and bad habits are old friends. If you have previously or presently struggle with addiction, take measures to address it.
  • Take time to unwind and recharge: No matter how much or how worse the crisis, spare some time to recharge and recline. 

Watch Your Finances

Now that you have a cool head and a calm mind, you can focus better. Hence it’s time to take a glance at your financial predicaments. Before you begin addressing these difficulties, split them into various categories. Investment experts suggest tearing up your challenges into the categories mentioned below:

  • Critical and changeable: These challenges have an immense bearing on your financial stress levels and can be changed by taking action.
  • Necessary and unchangeable: These difficulties too significantly affect your financial stress levels but can’t be dealt with.
  • Not Important and changeable: These transitional challenges are disturbing and boost your stress levels but don’t add to your financial stress.
  • Not Important and unchangeable: These are vexing challenges that can raise your stress levels and can’t be changed, but they don’t really contribute to your financial stress.

Ask For Professional Support

After you have successfully recognised which challenges are unchangeable and which aren’t, you can turn to professional support. Financial experts can connect you to techniques and means to tackle your difficulties efficiently.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made seeking assistance to address your money problems vital. Financial professionals are generally up-to-date on the new programs or schemes by the government or other agencies even during the pandemic. They are adept at advising government arrangements that are the right fit for you.

Here are some resources you can utilise, depending on the financial challenges you are facing:

  • Credit card debt or budget problems: Connect with a certified credit counselling agency to get a free consultation. They will examine your debt relief options and assess your budget.
  • Mortgage challenges: Find a HUD-certified housing counsellor that you can consult.
  • Student loans: Visit StudentAid.gov to evaluate your relief options. You can also call your loan provider straightaway to explain your situation.
  • Tax debt: Tax specialists or certified public auditors can help you with a settlement plan with the IRS.
  • Medical debt: Consider calling your health care provider directly instead of the collector. They might set up a payment plan for you.

Adhere to the Plan

After conferring with the associated specialists to generate a plan, you need to stick to the course of action. 

  • Stick to the plan: Stick to the plan, no matter how tough. You will feel the financial stress lift and a sense of calmness taking over.
  • Nothing lasts forever: Your balance can recover, and you might succeed at getting back to the financial state you were in or want to be in. Just keep moving forward.
  • Accept change: Changes can be annoying, but they are needed to reduce your financial stress. Try perceiving the changes you’re making or undergoing as new possibilities.
  • Exercise gratitude: Coping with money problems and financial stress can be crushing at times, but learn to exercise gratefulness. Be appreciative of each and every day. 

You’re Not Alone

Though it might seem that you’re the only person in the whole world facing the brunt of financial stress, you’re not. 

With the advent of technology, it’s effortless to find supportive communities online and personally. You can share stories and resources as a community while you sail through your financial stress. Concentrate on taking one small action, one step, one a day at a time. Practice taking consistent action in your everyday life to generate stronger finances over time.

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