You read that correctly.
In this heightened period of desperate uncertainty and anxiety it is time to apply a different thinking to our financial health. This means tearing up the rules that typically govern good financial practice and implementing new measures that protect our wellbeing.
As a start to this blog, take a deep breath, hold for the count of four and breathe out for the count of four. Repeat four times.
Believe me I am starting this blog doing the same because I want to be in a creative and innovative mindset and the frame of mind and body that I have been in for the last week has been the polar opposite of that.
I have been overwhelmed with the virus and not because I am ill but because I have gotten so stressed about running out of money, not having an income and losing all the ground I have gained in my finances. This coupled with the even bigger fear that one of my family may fall victim to it, resulted in a literal death spiral in my normal optimistic frame of mind.
I am calling timeout on my attitude. I have had enough of letting myself succumb to this anxiety and disempowered thinking and have laid out the game plan going forward. I hope this gets your creative juices flowing and you can similarly put together your game plan.
“The first wealth is health” Ralph Waldo Emerson
The most important goal during this challenging time is remaining healthy, mentally, physically and spiritually. I feel the universe has tried everything to slow down our busy lives and we have fought against it. Now, unfortunately due to tragic and never before experienced circumstances the emergency brake has been pulled on our frenetic lifestyles and we have been given the gift of time to reset.
Stressful and anxiety induced as this time is, we owe it to ourselves to practise self care and a lot of it! Start with compassion.
We are all afraid, feeling uncertain and, if you are anything like me, you may feel like you have been dumped in the middle of a stormy ocean with no directions, frantically doggie paddling against the roaring waves.
This is ok, this is unchartered territory and we are allowed to feel out of our depth, in fact we are expected to feel this way.
Accept the feeling but don’t feed it. Don’t throw fuel on the fire of your fears by following the various news sites. Make a conscious effort to default to the positive social media pages you follow. If you want updates on what is happening choose facts. Look at the World Health Organisation Website, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 and the health services https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
Identify what you can control and focus on those things. Your positive attitude, your kindness to yourself and others, following the CDC recommendations and creating a positive environment at home. The things you cannot control, leave to the universe.
“When life gets blurry adjust your focus” Unknown
We have officially entered the lock down phase in the UK, many of us face the real prospect of losing our jobs and earnings and not having any income for a period. Thinking about this and the expenses we know we face can be hugely panic inducing and it is very tempting to try and avoid facing it.
When we don’t shine a light on the problem it spirals, both in our minds but unfortunately in this case also in reality as well. Take the time in the next day or few days to determine the exact amount of cash you have or will have available to you over this challenging period.and quantify the expenses you currently have or will have.
Prioritise the most important. Food, shelter and those you have a legal obligation to make. Identify those you can eliminate, defer or reduce.
If you are going to have a problem paying rent or your mortgage, approach your landlord or lender as soon as you can. We are all facing an unprecedented event and lenders will be extending payment holidays and support.
Bundle up your conventional financial thinking and put it into storage for this period. Stop contributing to your pension and investments if you have to. Cut down on any non-essential outflows that you are committed to and focus solely on the here and now.
Don’t give up on your financial goals, just understand you are taking a temporary diversion. Keep working on them by planning and strategizing the steps after this.
Leave your investments. Yes it is scary to see the value literally fall off a cliff over a number of weeks but remember it isn’ t a true loss unless you sell.
And use your emergency fund if you have to. This is what it is for. Remember though only extreme emergencies, even though it can be quite tempting to indulge in some emotional spending. As a side note even though I wasn’t buying clothes or fun things, I realised this week that my grocery shopping bill had doubled as I had been fully drawn into the panicked stockpiling, a true life example of emotional spending !
And my final reminder to myself, although it may not mean much now, think about this;
“When things are bad, remember: it won’t always be this way. Take one day at a time. When things are good, remember: It won’t always be this way. Enjoy every moment.” Anonymous
This is a hugely challenging time and likely to feel overwhelmingly stressful. The antidote to stress and negativity is gratitude. Grab the 7 Day gratitude challenge and start building your resilience.