Repeat after me: I was put in this position because I can handle it.
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In the last few days my family and I have taken a hit to our income. Between my fitness instruction and my husband’s side work in video production for events, we lost a couple thousand dollars of income thanks to the coronavirus and it sucks. It was money we depended on to pay off debts, and save for a car amongst other things. Now that we won’t be getting that money we need to plan and be strategic with the money we do have. Most importantly we need to be careful because social distancing and this global pandemic leaves a lot of uncertainty. And it can be terrifying sometimes, even though my family is amongst the lucky ones.
While I could give you practical financial advice right now, I’m not gonna do that. That advice is everywhere and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time till you feel overwhelmed by it all. Instead, I’m gonna give you advice on handling your feelings during this time. Because I know stress brought on by a financial crisis can lead to a crisis in other areas of your life, I want to give you some help.
Stop saying you should’ve…
As you’re dealing these problems now, it’s easy to look back and think about everything you should’ve done but didn’t. Sure you should’ve cut back on the shopping, cut more coupons or padded that emergency fund, but none of that matters now. You’ll be living in the past, and doing so only makes you feel worse. Instead, think about what you ARE doing and give yourself some credit.
Allow yourself to grieve
Even though you know you’re blessed to have a home, food etc. It’s ok to feel bad about what you don’t have. Yes, you’re lucky to have some privilege. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that you still had to cancel your trip, or you lost your steady paycheck, or you can’t afford your wedding or you won’t be able to throw a birthday party or you now have to manage virtual school with your kids AND work. You are only human. It’s ok to grieve what you lost. And there’s no reason to feel guilty for grieving something that seems “trivial to others, because it’s very real to you. Regardless of what shape it takes, money problems are real for everyone. Don’t let someone’s dismissive guilt trip make you think otherwise. Allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel. It’s ok.
Reframe the concern
Naturally, a financial crisis will bring concern and worry for a number of reasons. You could be worried about the inability to go out as much, the corners you’ll have to cut to get by or the change of routine while unemployed. it’s normal to feel that way. However, it may not be the best thing for your mental health. Instead, reframe the situation. Instead of focusing on the corners you’ll to cut, think about how your resourcefulness will be strengthened during this time. Instead of saying I won’t be able to go out as much, think about how your family will grow closer because you’re home together. If you’re concerned about the change in routine, reframe it by saying change brings opportunity. Doing so just might put your mind at ease during this stressful time.
Give yourself some grace
You are in uncharted territory. We all are. No one knows how long this will last, what the outcome will be or the exact right way to handle it. Sure, we can speculate and make educated guesses, but no one knows for sure. As we deal with the outcome of the Corona virus, how many times have you heard someone say, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”? No one was prepared for it. So stop feeling bad that you weren’t. You aren’t the only one in this position. Go easy on yourself. We’re all in this together.
Think about all you have
Even with a loss of money, you still have something that could help you. It may be a credit card you never used. It could be a book you’ve written but never published on Amazon. It may even be your active Linkedin profile or a special skill. Whatever it is could help you get out of your current position. And of course, focusing on what you do have instead of what you don’t have can definitely help you mentally.
Remember everything you’ve overcome
I know I said you shouldn’t live in the past. But in this regard I encourage it. Let your ability to persevere in the past bring you comfort. I highly doubt this is your first financial crisis. Everyone has dealt with money issues in some way whether it’s job loss, not enough money to buy a new car, or even overspending on groceries for the month. Whatever it was, you managed and got through it. Remember that in a few years from now or even a few weeks, this financial crisis will just be another challenge that you conquered. You’ve triumphed in the past and you can do it again. Remember, this time you are working with experience dealing with personal finance issues.