As we start to experience life returning to a ‘new normal’, it is a relief that Australia did not experience the same devastating loss of life and widespread illness seen in other parts of the world.
However, the border shutdown and enforced isolation, whilst effective in controlling the virus, has had a shattering effect financially for many people and may be causing you and your family distress and worry.
Tackling your debt
Financial worries, like any form of overwhelming stress, can take a huge toll on your mental and physical health, your relationships, and your overall quality of life. According to the National Debt Helpline, it is important to address any financial issues straight away, so the situation does not spiral to the point where it feels overwhelming. The National Debt Helpline website has step-by-step guides and useful information on how to deal with specific types of debts. The site has a section devoted to COVID-19 related information and ways to manage your finances during this crisis. The National Debt Helpline also runs a free, independent financial counselling service, which you can access by calling 1800 007 007 or visiting their website.
Dealing with job loss
Losing a job is not purely a financial issue, it can result in the loss of structure, purpose and social relationships. When you find yourself out of work, it can leave you feeling a huge range of emotions, including hurt, anger, or sadness. You might be questioning your identity, grieving what you have lost, or feeling anxious about what the future holds.
It is vital to recognise the emotional toll that any sort of loss can have on your mental well-being and to reach out when you need support. Beyond Blue has some practical advice to help look after your mental well-being after losing a job. Here are their five top tips:
- Be kind to yourself – losing your job during the pandemic does not mean you have failed
- Connect with others – communicate how you are feeling with those close to you
- Maintain a routine – structuring your day can help keep depression at bay
- Exercise regularly – there is evidence this contributes to mental well-being
- Clear your mind – practise mindfulness to support you in being in the present moment, potentially resulting in feeling less anxious
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The next few months will be challenging for many people in our community, but there is help available. The Lifeline WA team has put together a collection of links and resources that may be able to help, including links to advice on car repayments, utility bills, and hardship information from Australian banks.
Please remember that you are not alone and that there is always someone to talk to if you are in crisis. You can contact Lifeline 24/7 on 13 11 14.