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5 Ways to Manage with Our COVID-19 Related Financial Anxiety

It has been more than a year since we have been plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of us are experiencing financial constraints because of the pandemic. Living in uncertain times is difficult to remain positive as we do not know when this would end and when we will be able to bounce back up from this. That said, we can’t stop what life brings but we certainly can learn how to live through it. Read more to find out how to deal with COVID-19 related financial anxiety.

“The pandemic is affecting millions of people in various ways. That said, it is no better time to lean on your community for support and give back the support when you’re able.”

It has been more than a year since we have been plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of us are experiencing financial constraints because of the pandemic. Living in uncertain times is difficult to remain positive as we do not know when this would end and when we will be able to bounce back up from this. That said, we can’t stop what life brings but we certainly can learn how to live through it.

Here are 5 ways to manage our COVID-19 related financial anxiety:

1.Start with Awareness & Acceptance

Having to live in such an unprecedented time, we must first find our way towards accepting the reality as such. Things may not go back to normalcy anytime soon, and perhaps, it will never return back to our old ways of living. However, if we could give up trying to control the current state of affairs, and focus on accepting it, we would then be able to lower our stress reaction.

That said, to feel anxious and worried about our financial situation is only normal but if left unchecked, it can lead to depression, anxiety and physical issues such as headaches, backaches, ulcers, increased blood pressure etc. Do manage your stress as it will help a bad situation from worsening.

Hence, do be aware of your stress levels by using a mood tracker or doing body scans. And if your stress level is getting too high, use a coping method to relax – which can be anything from exercising, meditating or even curling up to watch a movie.

2.Limit Your Exposure to Triggers

Yes, we should remain informed about the latest news updates, however, do you know there is such a thing of too much news? It can be a trigger for panic and anxiety, this is especially when you see your social media feeds that very often do not communicate the facts accurately. So, ensure you’re reading news from a credible and trusted source and fight the urge to go “down the rabbit hole”.

Limit yourself on checking for updates – check it in the morning and once at night and only turn on alerts for anything that is urgent. At the same time, set a dedicated “no screen” time in your daily lifestyle and spend the time talking with friends or family about topics that are not related to the pandemic, finances or the economy. Use this as a mental vacation to help you recover and recharge.

3.Stay in the Present

Anxiety happens when we choose to live in the future or making assumptions before they even happen. This is why mindfulness is a great tool to remain focussed in the present. By using grounding techniques, we can have more attention to the here-and-now. This can be gentle (counting your breaths) or more of a jolt to our system (splashing cold water on our face). And if you start to feel really panicked or having an out-of-body experience, having the ability to ground yourself is essential. Don’t try to dismiss the feeling, but to pay attention to what is happening and bring tangible sensation back to our bodies.

In addition, do start meditating as it has been proven in studies that it can improve mental health as it helps bring our attention to the present. Or if you rather move than sit still, do join a yoga class. Personally, it would be even more beneficial if we could do both. Find out more in my previous posts on Meditation and Yoga.

4.Connect With Your Community

If you’re having a difficult time, always know that you are never alone. The pandemic is affecting millions of people in various ways. That said, it is no better time to lean on your community for support and give back the support when you’re able. Yes, we must be physically distant, but remain socially connected. Reach out to close family and friends, let them know what you’re going through. Sometimes, we feel better by simply sharing our anxiety and putting our fears into words.

At the same time, there are community resources that are practical for us. Instead of running in circles and unsure what to do (financially), reach out to for advice from financial professionals. Call your banks and any service providers to find out if they’re making special exception and aid amidst the pandemic.

5.Focus on the Positives

We may be thinking “I don’t see anything positive about my finances right now” and that is completely understandable. There’s no point denying or dismissing the reality of our situation.

To improve our mental health, it is essential to see the whole picture and avoid hyper focussing on a particular area. Hence, gratitude exercises are a good first step to open the door to positivity. And the more we practice gratitude, the better our brains get at recognizing positive things. Simply start by thinking about one person, place, or thing that you’re grateful for. Focus on the feelings that arise and hold them in your heart. Do know that you can return to this place of appreciation anytime you feel discouraged with the things surrounding you.

Last but not least, do take a moment to appreciate yourself. You’re going through a hard time and you’re approaching with incredible resilient. Continuously remind yourself how you had overcome other tough times and when this challenge is over, it will be another chapter in your book of accomplishments.

 

Credit: Talk Space

Michael Teh, 7th July 2021.