Millions of people around the world have lost their jobs and sources of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Philippines, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) projects 30,000 to 60,000 job losses due to COVID-19 related factors.
Right now, you may be one of the many who are facing sudden unemployment and loss of income. Uncertainty is affecting not just your finances but your mental health also. In fact, psychologists note that losing a job often has the same emotional impact and grief of losing a loved one.
When you're ready to move forward, there are many things you can do to regain control of your life. Here are some of them.
- Review your finances
Unemployment can make some people feel ashamed. However, this should not be an embarrassment because even the most successful person has lost a job at some point.
Give yourself some credit for the big and small accomplishments you’ve made before this crisis. Examples are setting aside money for an emergency fund, having a side hustle, or for getting that insurance policy instead of traveling. This also applies to tangible assets you’ve acquired while you were still earning, which are now helping you cope during this difficult lockdown situations. For example, your house, car, the refrigerator, air conditioning, laptop, or mobile phone.
Review the things that you already have. Make a list if you have to. This exercise can give you a stronger sense of hope and security. Which of your assets can help cover immediate expenses? If you have mutual fund investments or insurance policies, are there dividends or endowment benefits that you can claim at this time?
- Make a list of what you need to pay and know your options
The inability to pay bills is a major concern when faced with unemployment. Many of us are not prepared to withstand a financial shock and will have trouble paying bills this month (and perhaps, even the next).
Mentally replaying bills you need to pay can be exhausting and make you feel even more out of control. Do this instead: Write down your immediate bills on a piece of paper. Examples are rent, mortgage, credit card, electricity, power, water, phone, and internet bills.
Once you’ve identified your priorities, know the available options and payment facilities that are being offered by power companies, financial institutions, and service providers. List down all possible payment options that can help conserve cash.
- Downsize your life
Continue to be creative in finding ways to cut down your expenses. Downsizing offers emotional and financial benefits. Simplifying your life can help you focus on what's essential while freeing up much-needed cash.
Are there expenses or luxuries big and small that you can live without right now? How can they ease your financial burdens? Remember, the money you save is the money you earn - and can serve you well until your retirement years.
- Start looking for new income sources
There is no need to wait until the crisis is over to look for your next job. You can gain an advantage by being steps ahead of others. Use your time to seek income opportunities.
Are there freelance, temporary, or part-time work opportunities that can get you through while you look for something more permanent?
- Invest your time in yourself
Upgrade your skills to increase your chances of being hired - fast. Spend your time to update your CV, clean up your social media, and connect with the right people.
It's equally important to invest in your physical health. Working out at least 30 minutes a day releases endorphins. It will help fuel your confidence, drive, and motivation to go after your next dream job.
When all of this is over, how ready are you to go out and face a vastly different world? We hope these tips help you bounce back and brightly thrive in the new normal.