1. Just Don’t: I am not always coping. There are days when I am forgetful, excessively tried, irrationally angry, or very sad. It’s now been 8 weeks that it’s just been Dylan and I. I haven’t hugged another person or seen them physically since we went into lock-down in March. Our ‘WFH’ started slightly earlier as the floor above Dylan’s office had traces of COVID-19, so we took the decision a bit faster to do as little travel as possible. On balance, we are in the best position I could hope to be in, so I'm grateful for that and also some days are still horrible.
2. Call Friends: last week I was on a walk after not having spoken (memes excluded) to friends for a week. I found myself talking my own self out of calling them because “it’s been a week”, “they’ll be annoyed”, “they won’t understand”, and so on and so forth. One of my friends literally called me whilst I was having that little spiral and it was fine. Call your friends – they understand you and they love you.
3. Check My Credit Score(s): this is a really unique time and utterly bizarre but with an internet connection and a spare hour, I went through all the credit score sites (Equifax, Experian, and ClearScore) to update all my information, remove anything that wasn’t accurate, and check my credit score.
4. Go Outside: the news is scary, but if we remember the fundamentals of COVID-19, we can be safer. COVID-19 is airborne and highly contagious, so the 2-metre rule is effectively enough space to not breathe in the particles from other people. Do not touch swings and surfaces that lots of other people have and try to go to remote places.
5. Work: if you are fortunate enough to be in work and able to work from home, try and focus. If you have hobbies that you can elevate, try and engage with them – for me, I’ve found blogging and getting more involved in PeaceJam are really helpful to make me focus on one thing at a time.
6. Do Therapy: if you suspect it might be worth trying, it probably is. If you regularly go, try, and do online sessions.
7. Check Finances: the reality is that things are not going to be good after this. Taxes will increase, incomes will be lost or reduced, and the job market will be massively competitive. Start saving whatever money you can now and cut costs that you determine as not being essential – for me, that’s things like subscriptions, takeaways, or less than necessary treats. As early as mid-April, the BBC reported that the IMF predicted that the global economy would contract by 3% - the worst global decline since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Ignore discounts and deals, and start saving up enough money that you can pay rent, bills, and basics for as long as possible without an income.
8. Connect with MPs: speak to your local MPs about what is going on in the area. We, as the UK, are all weathering the same storm but with varying levels of equipment. Speak to your local MP – you can usually reach out over twitter, Facebook, or email and find out how your community is coping and whether you qualify for support or are in the position to provide support. Ask them too about what the government is doing post-COVID-19 to support people, finance, housing, and essentials which will need to be paid for. If it’s not clear what Boris was saying and you’re expected to return to work, reach out to MP’s and ask them for clarification.
9. Think About Diversifying Tax Bases: have a think about what else we can tax in order to start repaying debts that have been taken out to combat COVID-19. Marijuana for example, may be a good place to start and there’s already a lot of groundwork that’s been done by Clear. At the same time, the market has become increasingly accepting of CBD oil (available in Holland and Barrett’s) and CBD infused tampons from Daye. In 2018, ninety-five tonnes of marijuana was produced in the UK in 2016 for medicinal and scientific use, accounting for 44.9 per cent of the world total. The Independent reported in 2018 that the UK is the largest exporter of the drug, with 2.1 tonnes exported in 2016 – roughly 70 per cent of the world’s total (Source). The more you get taxed as a worker, the less take-home salary you will earn for the same, if not more, work post-COVID. So, if we can collectively find another source to tax, it will lighten the burden on workers and therefore families.
10. Learn to Invest: if you don’t understand markets and buying stock, now is the time to learn. There are some businesses that are booming as a result of COVID-19 and some that are doomed. Warren Buffet sold all his shares in Airlines whilst some people are buying oil futures. Stocks are available pretty cheaply at the moment, but rumour has it that the American stock market is over valued and set to bust in the next couple of weeks. Interestingly, research from McKinsey and Co shows that the online make-up market has taken no major dips and remained pretty buoyant compared to other consumer markets (Source).