All of a sudden in the past 10 days 100’s of thousands of people lost their jobs. That’s people with mortgages, rent, children, responsibilities, and in a literal night and day shift they go from having money to pay for all these things to not.
That movement from having a job to having none was brutal and life changing and terrifying. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. There’s a gut wrenching worry and the unrelenting terror that keeps you awake at night and makes you think of nothing else. Then you see people outside going about their regular business and you feel like shouting at them because they shouldn’t be when your entire world is falling apart.
It’s looking likely that my husband will also lose his job in the next week or so and I find that familiar anxiety rising in me. This time though I have the benefit of having been through extreme financial difficulty before and I know how to manage.
Step One: Prioritise
The most important thing right now is to try and stay well and socially distanced (and wash your hands). You do this by figuring out what is important and MUST be paid for as opposed to should be paid for.
What are at the top of the list? Simply food, light, and heat. You need all these three to stay well. If you have a mortgage or rent there are systems set in place now to ask for a break from the banks etc. Use these if you have to. There is no shame in doing this.
Step Two: Solidarity
We are not in this on our own. During the recession everybody was treated individually and at times when it was difficult I found that I felt we were being picked on by the bank. The difference now is that people have been laid off all at once. So you have others to speak to that are in the same situation; reach out, text your coworkers and friends, us social media. Don’t feel on your own. This will help.
Step Three: Focus On What You Can Control
The Covid-19 crisis, not having a job, being cooped up in the house? All of these you can’t control.
You can control the small things. You can make a cup of tea, sort out the bottom of the fridge for once, organise the laundry, hug your kids. These things you can focus on. If you focus on the small stuff and allow the bigger things to take care of themselves you will begin to feel better.
Step Four: Reduce and ReUse
Take a look at your finances, figure out what you can let go. Ring your service providers and negotiate a reduced repayment arrangement. Cut out those crappy monthly subscriptions that you don’t need anymore.
Get a large sheet of paper, write down all the food you have in the house. See how many meals you can get out of that. Plan your meals. Wash your hands.
Step Five: Endure
Know that you are not on your own. You will get through this.
Decide something nice that you will do when you get through the other side. You will get through the other side. It could be a trip to the hairdressers or a pint in the local pub. Whatever. Promise yourself you will do that and work towards it.
I’m just working towards the day we have free hugs for everyone!
Seriously though this is so blooming difficult and I wish we didn’t have to go down this road again. I’m grateful that I have the skills to survive though.
We will endure.