The COVID-19 pandemic has left millions of people trying to figure out how to pay their bills without a steady income. While unemployment benefits may help you stay on your feet for a little while, this is not a long-term plan.
It can be difficult to accept that you may have to drastically change your lifestyle for quite some time to make it through this economic downturn. You may even find yourself mourning the life you once had and the affluence you enjoyed.
All of these complicated emotions are perfectly normal. Right now, we have no choice but to do our best to embrace our current circumstances and come out the other side stronger than before.
Consider how you can address certain lifestyle changes.
No More Pricey Pastimes
If you’ve had to tighten your budget, you’ve probably had to forget about going out to eat, grabbing drinks with friends, or casually shopping for things you don’t really need. These pricey pastimes may not have a place in your life right now. But there are ways to recreate the emotions you once experienced.
Can you have a picnic with friends instead? Could you learn to cook your favorite restaurant meals at home? You don’t have to give up on small joys – you just have to cut down on your spending.
Perhaps you used to put some of your disposable income towards traveling. Maybe you loved saving up for plane tickets and going on adventures. Right now, that’s simply not possible for a variety of reasons. But it’s not easy to stay put when you’re used to exploring!
The best remedy? Exploring in your own backyard. You may want to consider planning a camping trip to a nearby state park with friends. If you do not live in a current hot spot, you could take a road trip to another safe area.
Anxiety Over Job Loss
There is no getting around it: losing a job is extremely stressful. If you have lost your job, you might be worried about your future employment prospects. You may worry that you won’t be able to provide for your family.
Right now, take any and all assistance that is offered. Do not be ashamed to lean on friends and family if necessary. And do what you can to cover your necessities while applying to new positions.
Lack of Spontaneity
When you do not have much wiggle room in your budget, you need to plan your spending carefully. And that means you can’t necessarily afford to be spontaneous. Don’t be shy about explaining this to your friends so that you can all plan ahead to do fun, inexpensive things together. After all, many of them are probably in the same boat!
Becoming More Frugal
Suddenly, paying to have something fixed or replaced can feel like a major sacrifice. Now is the time to trade services with your loved ones or go the DIY route. Letting someone know if they scratch your back, you’ll scratch theirs can go a long way towards getting the help you need! Previous generations often had to “make do” with what they had, but adjusting to a frugal mindset makes it all more bearable.
Have you recently lost your job or seen a major reduction in income because of the pandemic? Are you struggling to adjust to your new circumstances and worry that your mental health is suffering as a result?
You do not have to try to navigate this by yourself. Working with a therapist who offers affordable rates can help. We invite you to reach out to the therapists at Integrative Psychotherapy Group to discuss your options.