Personal Finance

3 Steps to Relieving Financial Anxiety from COVID-19

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2020 was a rough year.

COVID-19 took the lives of over 400,000 Americans, and counting1. Over 70 million Americans have filed for unemployment2, and more than 100,000 small business owners closed their operations for good3.

For those who still earn an income, their fortune has been overshadowed by questions of uncertainty. How long will I have a job? How long will my business stay open? Will the government continue to boost unemployment? Do I have enough savings to last until we reopen for good?

For most Americans, COVID-19 has had some sort of impact on their financial wellness.

Don’t Let the Financial Anxiety Consume You

Whether COVID-19 has made a direct or indirect impact on your finances, it’s completely understandable to feel anxiety. We don’t often get the chance to witness a global pandemic and, until things are back to normal, the fate of our economy remains unknown. That being said, don’t let the stress of uncertainty consume you.

Here’s the thing –

Occasional stress is unavoidable. Chronic stress? That’s a problem. Chronic stress causes poor judgment, affects your ability to concentrate, and causes you to only spot the negative (instead of identifying positive opportunities). And if you’re going to ride out this COVID-19 tornado successfully, you’ll need to keep your wits about you.

This may be easier said than done, but we wouldn’t be a good bank if we didn’t deliver at least a few helpful tips. Below, we cover three steps to help you manage financial anxiety through COVID-19.

Step 1: Make a Plan

Make a list of the financial areas that are causing you the most stress. Are you worried about credit card debt? Unpaid bills? Job insecurity? Once you’ve identified your major stress areas, you can build a plan to resolve them.

For example, let’s say that your biggest stress areas are job insecurity and high credit card debt. What action items would help you relieve this stress? Probably paying off the credit cards and building a rainy-day fund, right? Unfortunately, these action items cannot be achieved overnight. So what can you do today to help resolve these issues? How about next week? And, next month?

Perhaps, while brainstorming ideas to relive your financial stress, you come up with the following action items:

  1. Build a budget.
  2. Call credit card companies to negotiate interest rates.
  3. Research debt management plans.
  4. Ask colleagues about freelance opportunities.
  5. Commit to paying an extra $X per month toward credit card debt.
  6. Commit to paying $X per month toward a rainy-day fund.

Once you organize these items into what you can accomplish today, next week, next month, and throughout the year, you will have a solid plan for resolving your most stressful financial concerns.

Step 2: Stop Worrying

Now, here comes the hard part –

Once you have a plan, your next step is to stop worrying. This may sound impossible, but remember: all future events fall into one of two categories. They’re either within your control or outside of your control.

If a possible scenario is within your control, great! Create an action item to resolve it and add it to your plan. But, if this future scenario is outside of your control, then there is no use worrying. After all, it is completely outside of your control. That means there is nothing that you can do to resolve the issue. So, stop wasting your mental energy by worrying about it.

In the Meantime, Take Care of Your Health

It may feel uncomfortable to sit still while you gradually put your plan into action. However, building a plan isn’t the only way to relieve financial stress. You can also take steps to improve or maintain your health. Doing so will not only keep your mind off your financial concerns – it will also provide more mental stability so you will be in a better position to problem solve.

Here are some ideas to help you take care of your health:

  • Write in a journal.
  • Take long walks or runs around your neighborhood.
  • Get 8+ hours of sleep.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Practice mindful meditation.
  • Catch up with family and friends.
  • Practice yoga.
  • Go hiking.

There are so many ways to take care of your health – find what works best for you and stay consistent throughout this process.

Step 3: Track Your Progress

As you put your plan into action, you will also want to track your progress regularly. Tracking your progress serves two purposes. First, it allows you to celebrate your wins, which is very important, so don’t forget to do this! It also gives you an opportunity to adjust your plan if you’re not hitting your target goals.

For example, if your plan is to put an extra $100 to a rainy-day fund every week, but you can only add an extra $10, it makes no sense to beat yourself up over this. Just adjust your plan accordingly. Remember, a plan is useful only if it’s realistic.

We’re Here to Help

When money is a cause of stress, the last thing you need is a bank that nickels and dimes you at every turn. At Axos Bank, we offer low-fee and high-yield deposit accounts to help you manage your money easier. Browse our checking and savings accounts to find a solution that works best for you.

Footnotes

  1. “U.S. surpasses 400,000 Covid deaths nearly one year after nation's first confirmed case”, NBC News, January 18, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-covid-19-death-toll-nears-400-000-n1254575.
  2. Kelly, Jack, “803,000 Americans Filed For Unemployment Last Week: 70 Million Sought Unemployment Benefits Since The Pandemic”, Forbes, December 23, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/12/23/803000-americans-filed-for-unemployment-last-week-70-million-sought-unemployment-benefits-since-the-pandemic/?sh=1520bd31517e.
  3. Long, Heather, “Small business used to define America’s economy. The pandemic could change that forever.”, The Washington Post, May 12, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/12/small-business-used-define-americas-economy-pandemic-could-end-that-forever.

3 Steps to Relieving Financial Anxiety from COVID-19

This blog post was published by Axos Editorial Team on April 14, 2021 and last updated on April 14, 2021.

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