Whether your hours have been cut, you were recently laid off, or you’re an essential worker who is now the sole provider for the family, your finances have likely taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic. The changes to your income have left you in a position where you’re unsure of how you’ll continue to cover the costs of living. Months later, things haven’t gotten much better and the stress is really starting to pile on.
The bills continue to pile up, late fees and penalties continue to accumulate, and shutoff notices keep showing up in the mail. Not to mention, the cost of food has increased stretching your grocery budget thin, everyone’s at home which means the cost of energy has increased, and with summer break just around the corner, you’re also worried about how you’ll afford summer camp for the kids. You feel stressed, anxious, or even depressed as you desperately try to find a solution to your financial problems.
Financial Stress and Your Health
Though it’s only natural to stress about your finances, consistently remaining under high-levels of stress leads to several problems. Here’s a better look at what financial stress can do to your health.
- Physical health – Some under financial stress might experience high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, digestive issues, difficulty sleeping, body aches, weight fluctuations, and an increased risk of developing life-threatening diseases.
- Mental health – Emotionally, someone dealing with financial stress might experience feelings of anger, frustration, worry, fear, panic, sadness, and depression. When left unmanaged, these overwhelming emotions can result in mental illness.
- Behavioral changes – When you start to feel unlike yourself physically and emotionally, it’s common to start engaging in unhealthy behaviors to cope. You might be quick to lash out at others, stop caring for your physical or emotional health, withdrawal or isolate yourself from loved ones, turn to comfort foods (or start skipping meals), and numb attempt to numb the pain with drugs and alcohol. It is at this point, you need to reach out to rehab and mental health treatment facilities like Launch Centers.
Coping With Financial Stress
Unfortunately, you can’t undo or change the economic pitfalls the coronavirus pandemic has put the country in. There’s also, at this point, no way of knowing when things might return to “normal”. The only thing you can control is how you respond to stress. Continue reading to learn ways to cope with financial stress brought on by the national pandemic.
- Seek Assistance – There are government-funded programs available to assist low-income families and individuals. If the coronavirus pandemic has caused your income to drop substantially, you could qualify. Approved applicants can get help with food stamps, rent, health insurance, utilities, and more. If you get approved for these programs, it can ease your stress and significantly lower your bills.
- Live Frugally – If ever there was a time to be mindful of the money you spend, now would be it. Living a frugal lifestyle essentially means living at or below your means. Create a budget and find ways to cut back in all expense categories (i.e. eliminating unnecessary expenses, using coupons to save, etc). If you find that you still don’t have enough to cover your bills, it may be necessary for you to consider selling some things for cash or downsizing (house or car).
- Set a Designated Time for Money Matters – Though it would be nice to ignore your finances, you can’t. Be that as it may, that doesn’t mean you should harp on your financial problems all day long. Set a time in the day where you will do things like review bills, make phone calls to creditors, make payments, and evaluate your budget. Getting it out of the way early allows you to focus your attention on other things.
- Find Healthy Forms of Stress-Relief – Lastly, to overcome financial stress during the coronavirus pandemic, find healthy ways to relieve your stress. When you feel yourself starting to get overwhelmed, think of activities you can do to help recenter your mind and increase your peace. Depending on your interests this might mean taking a walk, hanging with your kids, watching television, sharing funny videos on social media, digging into a hobby or project, meditating, exercising, or taking a nap.
If the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted your finances, you’re not alone. There are millions of people across the country that are either unemployed, underemployed, or adjusting to a single-income household as non-essential businesses were forced to temporarily close their doors. Though the struggle is real and the stress is normal, remaining in this state for too long can have adverse effects on your physical and emotional wellbeing and cause a myriad of problems in your personal and professional lives. Start using the advice provided above to cope with financial stress in a positive way.