There’s no doubt about it, Canadians are stressed out about their finances and it’s causing them physical and mental distress! If you’re losing sleep because of your current financial situation, you’re not alone. COVID-19 looms on, and as a result, many are finding themselves unemployed or living with a reduced income. Even though financial stress will always be there for many Canadians, there are ways to not only cope with the feelings, but also tackle them head-on to make the changes necessary for a brighter, lighter future.

Step 1: Create A Plan

Often, this first step is the most overwhelming of all because sitting down and taking a good hard look at where we are and how we got there can be enough to instantly evoke some unpleasant feelings. The thing is, getting a better idea of where you stand will help you create a realistic budget to move forward confidently. Take a deep breath and check on your financial status. Make a log of how much money you currently have, what you owe and what support might be available. Don’t forget to look into government programs on a federal and provincial level as well!

Step 2: Weigh Out Your Options

Once you have a better idea of your current situation, you can get a clearer view of what you can change to improve it.

Tackle your expenses first. Look at all the things you spend money on that you could live without then see what you can do to reduce your monthly payments by eliminating certain items or services. Do keep in mind that there are programs in place for people facing financial distress. These include payment deferrals, debt consolidation and refinancing, but do make sure you explore all your other options first so you’re making the most informed decision possible for your long-term financial situation and goals.

If at this point you know you need to earn more, you may want to consider heading back to school to upgrade your education, looking into online training courses to expand your skill set, investigating the freelance work world or searching for a higher-paying job in your field.

Change is never easy, but feeing stuck and hopeless is much worse. Start with some small changes and move up from there. This will allow you to ease your way into positive change without adding a heap of extra stress to your plate.

Step 3: Do Your Homework

Taking the time to learn more about your finances will have you feeling empowered to work the skills you’ll need to make better decisions for your future. Fight your fears and tackle some of your biggest financial concerns like reading/understanding credit reports, reducing your debt, saving/qualifying for a mortgage, building an emergency fund or achieving full financial freedom.

Step 4: Push Past The Shame And Guilt

More often than not, money stress can lead to feeling powerless or shameful which can in turn, put added stress on our relationships as we try to conceal our past mistakes/choices.

The best thing you can do is the opposite of what your instinct will tell you: talk about it! Having open discussions about your situation with a family member, spouse or friend can help you create a plan of action. If you feel you need more support, look into video conferencing with a certified therapist through resources like Maple.

Step 5: Celebrate Small Victories

The key to making progress is to celebrate all the small victories along the way. This simple act will help you feel more optimistic and confident about your new direction and what the future holds for you.

At the end of the day, no amount of worry or stress is going to solve your financial problems, only you can do that. Take the energy you’d spend on worrying, and use it to push past your fears, get educated, and move confidentially in the direction you’ve always wanted to. Not sure about which resources to use? Find yourself in need of professional help? Contact us to learn more about your options!