The unprecedented events of 2020 and the impact of covid-19 on daily life have forever changed the way we do things. In an effort to limit the spread of the virus, it was as if the whole world shut down overnight. Billions of people across the globe were asked to stay home and limit their interactions with one another causing countless businesses to shut their doors until the pandemic was under control. For many businesses, those doors will never open again. The effect this has had on the global economy and our collective mental health has been catastrophic and is still unfolding before our eyes.
Tourism Industry Hit the Hardest
The IMF (International Monetary Fund), an organization consisting of 190 countries that aim to help secure financial stability claims that the global economy declined by almost 5% in 2020. Most countries are now in recession with the hospitality and tourism industries getting hit the hardest. Waiters and bartenders who were once able to get by on tips were sent home with little financial hope for the future. Those whose jobs depended on the influx of travelers going from place to place and all the things they bought in between were forced to find other forms of income with very little warning. Entire towns that thrived solely on tourism have completely shut down. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 20 million Americans lost their jobs between March and April of 2020 alone.
Financial Concerns Linked to Depression and Anxiety
The monetary insecurities have had a huge emotional toll on countless individuals who did not anticipate a global financial crisis. When one is faced with the fear of not being able to provide for their families or keep the roof over their head, depression and anxiety may arise. Financial concerns are also the source of an increase in several other mental health issues. Many have experienced more feelings of low self-esteem, loneliness, irritability, pessimism, heightened negative emotions, and for some even an increase in alcoholism and drug use. There is a strong connection between financial concerns and increased stress levels. All of these mental health issues can have a psychosomatic effect on the body manifesting in things like insomnia, migraines, and other physical discomforts. Overall, monetary setbacks have been known to play a major role in the decline of someone’s mental health.
The Silver Lining
There is hope, however, amidst the fiscal chaos. Unforeseen events have been known to inspire great change in us. When we are forced to adapt to new circumstances to survive we often find hidden talents buried beneath our consciousness. While the old familiar doors may be closed forever, new ones can now open providing new opportunities and previously unknown possibilities. For many, economic hardships can wake you up from a job or career you hated, allowing you to finally explore your true passions. Maybe now is the time to learn how to manage your finances and save for the future. Once the shock and mourning period of a sudden life crisis wears off, having a positive attitude can greatly contribute to getting your finances back on track. Utilize the countless online emotional resources that can support helping you to focus on what’s important. And when you’re ready, sit down with a pen and paper, take a deep breath, and make a plan.