Premkumar Seshadri, Mentor and Advisor to the board, 1to1help. By arrangement
Worries about handling day-to-day living and long-term financial commitments could be overwhelming for those anticipating passing through financial instability. In the current global economic situation, the fear of unemployment is also very real. This financial instability caused by global disruptions or by self-perception of adequacy can surely cause feelings of anxiety and distress.
Employees react to the situation in various ways depending on the degree to which they are either personally affected or perceive the threat. The impact of which could be felt in many ways:
At work, it may become hard to maintain productivity. One may not be emotionally motivated to give one’s best. The individual’s appetite to learn could be reduced. At times, even simple work expectations seem like heavy lifts. The distraction of "shopping around" for alternate jobs could also impact individual productivity. Any additional workload compounds the problem, as this puts incremental pressure on one’s time to complete core work. The nuance here is that an employee's job might not be affected, however, anxiety lingers. The fear or reality, on the personal front, individuals and families struggle to come to terms with either a perceived or actual reduced budget. These disruptions in earning pose challenges regarding committed or planned expenses, purchases, investments, and even marriage plans.
It is very difficult to cut off normal expenses & justifying the same at home without augmenting the Stress. Anxiety. Depression (SAD) factor at home. The significant correlation between physical health and SAD almost invariably causes vulnerabilities like insomnia, headaches, backache, skin, and digestive problems. Chronic illnesses like Diabetes, Cardiac, PCOS & COPD tend to cause elevated situations that could lead to further complications. Also, substance abuse ( Tobacco / Alcohol/ Drugs ) amongst this cohort is common which could lead to further health risks.
These situations are surely not temporary and are a part and parcel of professional work life. The symptoms could be different, potency might be more or less, and an individual’s ability to cope with this also varies from time to time. Hence instead of giving in to feelings of panic or denying the magnitude of the problem, one needs to face the situation squarely and take steps to get one's life under emotional control. Experts recommend several actions that could be helpful and warn against others that are counterproductive. Let's look at some of these.
What to Avoid
Don't turn to substance abuse. Turning to alcohol, drugs, or excessive smoking is one way by which individuals could try to escape their problems. But, unfortunately, this is only going to make matters worse. Drug addiction or alcoholism will also impair individuals' ability to recoup their finances when things improve.
Don't take it out on your loved ones. During times of stress, we often experience increased irritability and frustration. Such situations could lead to incidences of intimate partner violence or domestic violence at home. In such cases, anyone who feels the urge to channel their anger through violence should seek help from a counselor to manage their anger immediately.
Don't turn inward. Another possible reaction is to 'clam up' and withdraw from others. By doing this, one is shutting off from people who want to help and potential solutions to the problems.
Don't make sudden financial decisions based on fear or stress. Instead, proceed with caution and get expert advice before making impulsive decisions, such as selling your home, borrowing from your provident fund, or changing investment options in your retirement savings plan.
Avoid too much exposure to news negative news. If this makes you worry. Limit how much financial information you consume.
What Can Be Done
*Focus on relationships with your friends and family and your emotional and physical well-being. Doing so will put things in a proper perspective and help you get through each day.
*Focus on what you can control. You cannot control the stock market or the economy, but you can control certain aspects of your finances. Remember that even in the past, there have been financial highs and lows.
*The best way to get through the lows is to manage your money wisely and find ways to cope with uncertainty. Learn to budget, use money wisely, and get financial counseling, if possible. Contact a financial expert (a chartered accountant) who can give you short-term solutions for your current financial problems, if any, without losing sight of your long-term financial goals, so you're not back in the same position a year from now. · Learn techniques to cope with anxiety and stress. Try relaxation and deep-breathing exercises, increase your physical activity and sleep, and partake in some leisure activities.
*Upgrade your skills. Look out for affordable avenues to upskill. It would not only distract you from the crisis but, even more importantly, will help improve your prospects when the crisis is over.
*Volunteering helps. Studies have shown that helping others can improve your well-being. Volunteering makes people happier and more confident besides allowing one to network with people.
* Live one day at a time. Focusing consciously on the "here and now" rather than thinking about the future can help calm fears.
* Be there for your family. You will need to set the tone for everyone in the family. By being there to address the concerns of family members calmly, you can help everyone get through stressful times without emotional downturns. The result will be a stronger family bond that serves everyone - in good times and bad.
Lastly, manage your emotions. When facing financial difficulty, it's easy to panic and not think through decisions. Another common reaction is denial. Pretending the problem does not exist will not make the economic issues or the stress disappear. It's essential to be aware of and handle your emotions to make informed choices.
Disclaimer: No Deccan Chronicle journalist was involved in creating this content. The group also takes no responsibility for this content.