Overcoming your COVID-19 financial anxiety - Refresh Financial

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Overcoming your COVID-19 financial anxiety

 

Anxiety can sneak up on you and can have the power to render you useless. Unfortunately, personal finances are one of the biggest causes of anxiety, For many Canadians, stress and anxiety will be especially high during this time of economic uncertainty as a result of COVID-19. Money worries can get in the way of not only your productivity but also your happiness and overall health. Thankfully, there are many practical things we can do to combat this fear. Here's how to fight your money anxiety!

Stop and focus on your surroundings

When you find yourself overwhelmed at the fear of the economic unknowns, pull your mind off your finances for a moment and instead focus on the smells around you, the sounds you can hear, what you can touch, or the colours you can see.  This is a technique called 'grounding', and it basically means bringing your focus to what is happening to you physically, either in your body or in your surroundings, instead of being trapped by the thoughts in your mind that are causing you to feel anxious. With a clearer mind, you can more easily focus on what you have to do right now. Excessive worrying about your financial situation won't help. Positive actions, however, will. Without a clear head, you won't be able to put together a sensible plan.

Face your fears

If just thinking about your money situation fills you with dread, force yourself to confront it. Too many people bury their head in the sand and hope the problem goes away. It won't. Look at your monthly bills and get on the phone to your creditors and lenders to see how they can help. Most mortgage companies are offering deferrals for up to six months. Some provinces are offering help with rent payments. Utility companies, cell phone providers, and credit card companies are all offering programs to help Canadians navigate their way through this difficult time. Remember, you are not alone. There are many people in the same situation as you are right now. While that doesn't make your situation any easier, it can help to reduce anxiety just to know you are not the only one facing this problem.

Cut down on unnecessary expenses

Most people spend a lot of money each month unnecessarily - but they aren't aware of it. Making a budget of absolute essential costs (e.g. rent and food) will show you just how much money you need to make it through the month. Find expenses you can start cutting down on and put those savings towards your essential costs. You'll be surprised at how many of your monthly expenses are not essential - for example, cable TV, internet, your car, your cell phone etc. They are undeniably important, and you probably feel like you can't live without them, but truth be told, you can. It's far more important to pay your rent and put food on the table than to have cable TV and internet. Taking any step toward tackling your money worries and a budget is the best first step. Just completing your budget will give you a sense of accomplishment and help to combat those feelings of anxiety.

Get to know your bank account inside and out

Look at your bank account every day. The more you do this, the less it will scare you. There's also a bonus side-effect: seeing this information every single day shows you what's wrong. It's hard to look at it day in and day out and not eventually start to make changes for the better.

After the pandemic

If there is one thing we can all learn from COVID-19, it's the importance of planning for the unknown. There are going to be a lot of people who wished they had put together an emergency savings fund that they could have dipped into to help them get through the pandemic. While another pandemic is hopefully not going to happen any time soon, there are many other situations that could affect your life, for example, an illness and injury that makes it impossible for you to work. Learn from this experience to better plan for the unpredictable future:

Start saving an emergency fund

An emergency fund will help alleviate stress and worry about the future because you'll be prepared for those 'what-if' moments. Moments like losing your job, getting injured, if your car dies or your dog needs surgery. With an emergency fund behind you, you'll be well equipped for the unexpected and have peace of mind moving forward.

Create a plan to pay down your debts

It's likely that you're going to come out of this pandemic with some debt. Don't panic, instead, come up with a plan to pay down the debt. Continue to live without those non-essentials and start putting more money towards debts you owe. If you feel that your debt is more serious than that, consider seeing a credit counselor and discover what your options are. Sometimes, just talking to someone else about your finances can take away a lot of the anxiety and stress.

Improve your credit score

There are different ways to rebuild a damaged credit score. A secured savings loan or secured card are two of the most popular methods of rebuilding that will skyrocket your score. Find out more here.

Anxiety is never easy to deal with, but these pointers should help you knock some power out of it.

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Refresh financial offers custom credit building solutions to help you build your credit score FAST.

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