Coping with economic and psychological stresses during Covid-19 pandemic

The ongoing pandemic has forced many of us to face unemployment, underemployment, or long suspensions from work. How can we adjust our mindset and find a way out?

Manage anxiety and stress proactively 

Anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing, as it motivates us to take action to get ourselves out of the doldrums. However, excessive anxiety may cause various physical and mental symptoms. It may damage our health and deplete our resilience. To avoid being overwhelmed, we may try the following to adopt a healthy lifestyle:

Maintain a regular schedule for routines. Give yourself “planning time” to handle financial issues and “family and personal time” to bond with the family and take a break.
Spend some time exercising every day to relieve physical and mental stress. 
Avoid using tobacco, alcohol, or drugs to cope with anxiety, stress, or sleep problems.
In addition, we can adjust our mentality to stay positive. When we lose our job, we may start to have self-deprecating or overly pessimistic thoughts such as “I’m useless”. We should remind ourselves that these thoughts are often biased and irrational, and review our situation from various perspectives in order to think in an objective and balanced manner.

Keep an open mind and seek different solutions

Although the epidemic and its economic impacts may not end quickly, society will eventually recover. We can stay hopeful and see the current situation as a “transitional period”. During this period, if it is too difficult to find work in the same field, we can keep an open mind by considering various types of jobs in different fields as well as self-employment, part-time and/or temporary jobs. We can diversify our job-seeking channels and seek assistance through labour organisations, recruitment agencies, and relatives and friends. We may also consider participating in continuing education or vocational training, and apply for financial assistance when necessary.

Overcome difficulties together as a family

We can try to be frank with our family members, let them understand the financial difficulties that we are facing, and discuss possible solutions together. It may be necessary to discuss the possibility of role exchange in the family if our spouse or other family members land a job first. We can also discuss ways to broaden the sources of income or reduce expenditure, and if it is possible to adjust consumption patterns, living habits and/or expectations among family members.

Source: Hong Kong News