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Strategies for Dealing with Financial Stress Caused by the Pandemic


Photo: Kristina Paukshtite for Pexels

While financial wellness has become a necessary component of overall wellbeing, 2020 has revealed the inequities and inequality that exist in our society and economy that prevent some from achieving it. According to research from McKinsey & Company, women make up 39 percent of global employment but account for 54 percent of overall job losses due to COVID-19 and the economic fallout from the pandemic. This “she-cession,” as it is being called, is shining a light on how disproportionately impacted women have been by the pandemic. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) recently noted in a statement that although the official unemployment rate for women has fallen, the data does not address the 2.18 million women who have left the workforce since February, compared to 1.8 million men. IWPR also reported that Black (9.0 percent) and Latina (8.2 percent) women, ages 20 and older, experienced higher rates of unemployment than white women (5.4 percent).

While it’s no surprise that women often assume more than their fair share of household and childcare duties, it has also become abundantly clear in the midst of this global pandemic that many of the jobs lost have occurred in sectors dominated by women and that can’t be done remotely. According to Payscale, women are employed to a larger degree in jobs in community and social services, education, library and training, office and administrative support, and personal care and services, all of which are more likely to involve layoffs or reduced hours. Another key reason for the disproportionate response is the fact that in 2020, women earned 81 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. As a result, women who earn less than their male partners are often more likely to sacrifice their jobs or schedules to accommodate childcare, facilitate remote learning, and more.   

Money, or rather a lack of it, is most people’s number-one source of stress. Thanks to the recent pandemic, that stress is being compounded as people struggle to make ends meet, keep small businesses afloat, and rebound from unemployment. There are strategies you can employ to overcome setbacks and keep moving forward. Christine O’Neill, a coach who works with leaders and entrepreneurs and founder of Christine O’Neill Coaching, suggests slowing down before doing anything else, even if it seems counterintuitive. “We can tend to feel panicked and want to move straight into doing, without really thinking about the bigger picture,” says O’Neill. She recommends asking yourself the following questions:

  • What can and can’t I control here?
  • What wasn’t working before, if I’m being honest?
  • Where might there be an opportunity here?
  • What’s the smallest, most immediate next step I need to take?
  • And who or what is one resource I can access for help?”

When it comes to dealing with money-related stress, it’s necessary to take stock of your situation. “I often find clients who are stressed about money haven’t take the time to really understand how much they’re currently spending and how much they want or need,” says O’Neill. She recommends making a list of what you’re truly spending each month, including groceries, eating out, pets, utilities, subscription services, and more. “Recognize where you’re wasting money and/or can cut back, and do so,” she says. “This is important for anyone, really. We oftentimes think we need a lot more than we do.” O’Neill also encourages her clients to recognize there are many ways to create wealth. “To shift your thinking about the limits of how and where you can make money, I recommend making a list of 50 ways you can make money. Do it right now, and evaluate all the things you come up with. Then move one or two into action.”

About The Author

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent,,,, and, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.