Our lives changed on 23 March 2020 when government measures were introduced to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
A few weeks into this new regime and many of us will be adapting to life in lockdown having introduced new routines to replace those we knew before. Some people will be urging us all to find the positives and will be enthusiastically sharing their own highlights.
However, for others our new ‘normal’ will be a daily struggle with our loss of social freedom, health fears, financial worries, uncertainty about the future and/or upheavals of an emotional or practical nature.
Everyone’s experience of the current situation will be different so it’s important not to compare yourself with others. If life seems unusually stressful right now, remember that you’re not on your own. Also, that there’s plenty of help out there to provide support.
Coping with financial pressure
If the effects of coronavirus on your working life have aggravated or caused financial concerns, the Money Advice Service has a guide on its website called Coronavirus – what it means for you and what you’re entitled to.
The guide offers free and impartial guidance covering issues such as managing your money and finding out what benefits might be available to support you depending on your circumstances. There’s also regularly updated information about the impact of the pandemic on moving home, housing costs, your travel plans and your pension.
If you’re particularly concerned about your pension, Legal & General have set up a designated COVID-19 information page for their pension scheme members to offer answers to some of the questions they’re frequently being asked at this time.
It may also be a good idea to consult a professional financial adviser if you’re unsure about anything. If you don’t have one already, you can find a list of advisers at unbiased.co.uk.
Help to stay safe from scams
Please be aware that the current situation has led to an increased risk of scams and fraud. Scams are often smart, sophisticated and hard to spot at first glance. The Financial Conduct Authority has some helpful tips to help protect you from falling victim to such scams.
Coping with emotional pressure
It can seem as if many are using the lockdown to enjoy a break from work, learn new skills, enjoy existing hobbies and catch up with some DIY. While some are very relaxed using digital forms of video communication like Zoom and Houseparty, others are much less comfortable.
Everyone’s situation is different. Many people might not want or be able to join in with these support networks. And in addition to practical worries like financial concerns, they may be feeling anxious and scared.
A good source of information and support is the NHS Every Mind Matters website. There are practical guides to managing mental health issues as well as signposts to organisations and helplines that could make a huge difference to your emotional wellbeing.
There’s even a special section on coronavirus and wellbeing offering guidance on topics such as adjusting to working from home and caring for children and young people.
You might also like to try the NHS Mind Plan Quiz to get tips and advice tailored to support your needs.
Just follow the link above and answer five questions to get your personalised mind plan from Public Health England to help you get through this extraordinary period.
This article was previously published by Legal & General 19th May 2020