Dealing with COVID-19 induced Financial Anxiety
Updated: May 13
By Jane Walters
As humans, we have a wide range of emotions. Anxiety is just one of them, but unfortunately, it seems to me to be one of the most unpleasant. It also seems to be one that is being felt most acutely by so many people right now with the situation around COVID-19. There is a sense of fear and foreboding for what impact the coronavirus is likely to have on ourselves and our loved ones from a health perspective, but also as business owners, what it means for our liquidity, livelihood and ultimate business success.
I have compiled a few tips that I hope may help to reduce your financial anxiety about COVID-19 and put yourself back in control of your emotions and finances.
Stop and take a deep breath. At times of intense stress and anxiety we need to bring ourselves back to our body. Use your senses to bring yourself back to the present moment, perhaps by doing some deep breathing, meditation or by using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. If we get ourselves caught up in a state of anxiety, overwhelm or confusion we find that it’s hard to move forward. Creative thinking (which is going to be really important for us all right now) requires brain space and a sense of freedom to thrive.
Change your stories
A lot of financial anxiety occurs because of what we believe about money and more specifically, what it means about us or our life. That’s why it’s important to be aware of your stories about money. Many of these money stories come from our childhood and often specifically from our parents. Did not having enough money cause fights between your parents. Did one or both parents have negative opinions of “rich people” or “poor people”? I speak to a lot of women who just don’t trust themselves to earn and manage their money, all stemming from experiences or messages that were previously outside of their awareness.
It’s important to uncover and discuss your views about money and understand where they come from and whether they are serving you. If not, it’s time to start re-writing them. Think about what a healthy relationship with money would look like for you and practice those thoughts and create habits that support it. If you’d like my free worksheet to help you with this, head to my homepage and sign up to have it delivered to your inbox.
Back to Reality
Remember, the future hasn’t happened yet. Much of the stress and anxiety you feel is based on an imagined outcome – and most likely you’re imagining the worst-case scenario for your business. Am I right? We have evolved to be able to anticipate future events in order to keep us safe and while being aware is important, until it is history, it has not yet been written. Know that having access to that very vivid imagination of yours can potentially be very useful, but that it is best applied to creating solutions for your business. Focusing on the here and now and creating a strategy for the things you CAN control will help you take the power back.
While I believe our thoughts and feelings are super important, there is definitely a point where we must consider the reality of our situation. There is no point in pretending that everything is going to be ok when your customers have no way to access your services, you have reduced cashflow, or you’re unable to pay the bills. Now is the time to take action. Here are a few steps that you can take to start preparing yourself and your business for the impacts of COVID-19:
Review your budget: Work out an estimate for what the impact may be on your income. Review your expenses to see where you may be able to cut back. Are there costs that you can reduce, either by cutting them out completely, reducing staff hours, lowering the usage of a service or by negotiating with your suppliers. And when I say suppliers, this could be your landlord, product components, electricity and gas provider, or your bank, etc.
Pivot: How can you change or enhance your current offering? Is there anything relating to your existing product or service that you can offer online? Perhaps teaching rather than doing, or holding sessions remotely? Or is there another market that you could tap into, perhaps abroad or with people who are still spending.
Government Support: Work out what government support you are eligible for and apply as soon as possible. New stimulus measures are being announced regularly, check out the Treasury website to ensure you are getting the most up-to-date information
Existing customers: Make sure you keep in touch with your existing clients at this time and don’t be afraid to make the ask. That could look like offering them a special discount or another incentive for them to buy from you, asking for a testimonial or referral, or it could just look like offering your time or advice (in a limited capacity) to help them out and build the relationship.
Build Community: This is a good opportunity to build community. This collective trauma we are experiencing brings with it a silver-lining and in my mind it is the opportunity to go deeper, to create connection and to make a big, meaningful impact on people’s lives – even if it’s just to make someone smile.
Work ON your business: The slowing down of the whole economy and many people’s lives can also be an opportunity for you to assess where you are in your business and in your life. Is this still the business still in alignment with your values, is it heading in the direction that you want it to? Carve some time out to go inside yourself and ask the hard questions.
Symptoms of stress and anxiety can be made a lot worse if we don’t look after ourselves. The stress and anxiety from COVID-19 can have a detrimental effect on our immune systems – right at a time when we need to be at full immunity! Lack of sleep, poor eating or drinking too much alcohol can make the effects of this crisis so much worse. Prioritising yourself and your health isn’t a selfish act, it’s absolutely necessary. Try meditation, go to bed a bit earlier, take a walk (while social distancing!) or do something that you enjoy. True self-care isn’t spending a fortune on a fancy spa treatment (although it would be hard to get one of those right now!), it’s prioritising your mental, physical and financial health.
If you would like support in easing your financial anxiety, exploring your money stories or creating an action plan for a better financial future, book in a free mini session with me here. And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with anyone you think may benefit.
In health & wealth,
Jane Walters is a former financial planner turned financial coach, who is passionate about empowering women to take control of their finances so they can live life on their terms. She lives in Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches and can currently be found home-schooling her two children and spending more time than she would like indoors.