Don’t let the situation be the reason your life plan turns to chaos. Here are some tips on how to cope with difficulties.
Advisors: Laura Laverde Acevedo, psychologist
Yuliana Bedoya Restrepo, financial analyst
The isolation experienced during the period of confinement due to the global pandemic was difficult for many to handle. It turned out to be an unprecedented situation that puts most people at a point that triggers irritability, mood swings, or changes in daily routines. For Laura Laverde Acevedo, psychologist from the Universidad San Buenaventura, what has been caused is a scheme known as “tunnel vision,” which is the fact of constantly thinking about the future and anticipating answers to questions like this: how are we going to restructure?, what are social and family relationships going to be like?, where am I going to work? “In this aspect, stress about the future is actually stronger than the stress of what is happening in the present,” states Laverde.
According to the psychologist, one reason that some people can go into crisis is that they have basic psychiatric disorders or emotional difficulties that have never been diagnosed and are triggered by this situation. Beyond that, there are options for staying mentally healthy and facing this period with greater clarity.
The Colombian College of Psychologists offers some advice in this regard: first, avoid over information. This generates an idea in the brain and causes greater stress, raising cortisol levels and anxiety. The second, accepting reality. Although these are difficult times, it is important to understand the rules, even with the gradual reopening, and understand that they are followed as an act of self-care for oneself and for others. The third, being connected to loved ones, whether they are friends, family, neighbors, or a partner, and maintaining those relationships on an emotional level is empowering and comforting.
You can also take the time to learn things that you have always wanted to but have never been able to due to a lack of time. “Discipline is important because it creates habits and, in turn, creates new ways of thinking that will build a lifestyle,” concludes Laverde.
And the economic difficulties?
Although there is a “new normal,” household obligations remain the same. Unemployment affected many and the bankruptcy of numerous companies and businesses put financial stability in jeopardy.
In this regard, Yuliana Bedoya Restrepo, advisor and analyst of financial innovation, recommends being very calm according to the situation. “The first step is thinking about what you can do to have more money, how to be more productive. Getting to know yourself, what you like to do, what you are good at, and what skills you have and how to develop them in order to put them at the service of another. Often, we say that we have to decrease expenses, but we also have to increase income,” she comments.
We must also use a radar for the situation: if you are a person in debt, the first thing to do is to focus on those debts, and once this is paid off, adopt the habit of saving, especially for priorities such as health and education.
Bedoya advises a mapping of financial purposes, as sometimes people have additional sources of income and do not know how to manage them. “We are not going out so much, but e-commerce is very strong. There has to be a balance between rationality and emotionality. Think about each purchase, whether you are buying something only for the desire or if it is a real necessity to avoid adding things to the shopping cart all the time,” she concludes.
Learn to eliminate ant expenses
Evaluate your expenses and make a budget that identifies some expenses, such as the so-called ant expenses, which are those small and continuous purchases that can be eliminated or changed. Also, follow these tips from analyst Yuliana Bedoya.
- Make a market-conscious list to avoid spending money on unnecessary purchases. Being in a limited situation, anxiety levels are altered and cravings may increase.
- Avoid the so-called “phantom consumption,” which happens when your cell phone or PC are connected to the outlet even if it is not charging. Also, try to save water and energy, as this will result in lower utility charges.
- Make a personal or family budget, which will help to have more control on what can be spent on leisure or entertainment.
- Understand that the situation will be temporary, so it may be useful to renegotiate your debt with the bank, using mechanisms such as portfolio purchase, among others.