Coping with Financial Anxiety in Challenging Times

By Zandile Chiwanza

Six years ago, I joined Money Rehab, a group on Facebook created by the founder of Her Therapy Space, Kristin Winchester. Kristin started the group to empower young women like me to change how they think about money.

As a recent graduate, I suffered from financial anxiety, and I was living beyond my means to cope. Go figure. Once I became tired of dealing with the emotional consequences of debt, such as stress, anxiety, shame, depression, and low self-esteem, I started my journey to financial wellness.

Thanks to Kristin, when anxious thoughts come to me, I acknowledge them and proceed to focus on what I can do instead of what I can’t. 

The pandemic isn’t just coming for our physical health. It’s coming for our financial health too. In light of this, I felt that I needed to share some tools to cope with financial anxiety to keep our emotional and financial health on track as we navigate this tumultuous terrain.

1. Start/stack an emergency fund

An emergency fund gives you options. Experts recommend that you save the equivalent of three to six months of your regular expenses in a no worries fund.

I know it’s not easy! Heck, I don’t even have that much saved up, but starting small is always an excellent way to get into saving. And let’s get real, finding these savings may not be that hard right now. Thanks to COVID-19 many of our spending habits have changed. Redirect those coins to your emergency fund. 

2. Reprioritize/ reorganize budgeting 

Focus on freezing unnecessary spending. If you’ve done a budget in the past, what might have seemed like a NEED a month ago may no longer be the case. If you’ve never done a budget, now is the time to create one. 

Remember to breathe, take a step back, reassess priorities, budget accordingly, and seek guidance if necessary. 

3. Get educated

If you know better, you do better — right?

Educating yourself about personal finance can also help to ease your financial anxiety. There are many resources on budgeting, credit, savings, debt management, and investing on the Internet. Hit me up if you need recommendations. 

4. Manage your mindset

I learned from Kristin’s group and am still learning that money is SO strongly connected to our emotions. Think about it; emotional situations often lead to poor financial decisions. 

It’s normal to be worried about the impact of this pandemic on your finances, so this is not about dismissing your feelings and fears but about challenging unhelpful thoughts. 

One of the best ways to ease your financial anxiety is to make sure you’re thinking and speaking positively about your finances. Despite the tough times, look on the bright side; after all, there’s always something to be grateful for.  

Let us know if you find these tips helpful, and maybe we can do part 2? 

P.S. Journaling is a great tool to ease anxiety. Our free 15 Day Challenge is designed to increase awareness and insight, promote change and growth, and further develop your sense of self. Join in if you haven’t done so already. 

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Her Therapy Space is a Washington DC based licensed mental health private practice on a mission to help millennial Black + Brown women experience true transformation through 1:1 services, resources, and engagement in a community that celebrates the good, the bad and the ugly of life—together.

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