Pattie Lovett-Reid: For some, isolation a bigger stressor than financial concerns
Despite a record number of job losses last month, not everyone is feeling the acute financial pain imposed by COVID-19, nor is everyone worried about making their monthly mortgage or rent payment. Some are fortunate enough to be handling their financial situation quite well.
What some are feeling the most is the impact on their mental health.
A new survey conducted by Sun Life revealed COVID-19 is having a negative impact on the majority (56 per cent) of respondents’ mental health, with 66 per cent saying social isolation is the top contributing factor. Meanwhile, financial concerns were less of a factor (51 per cent).
I was chatting with my son Dave, who lives alone, this past weekend. He is employed and loves his job that he can thankfully do from home. He also loves to travel, knows every restaurant in the city and often is my personal concierge when I need a good recommendation. But like so many, he is itching to get back to a sense of normal – whatever that may look like in the future.
I asked him what the silver lining was for him.
He responded by saying that he’s saving money. With few avenues to go out and spend, the default has become paying down his mortgage. His discretionary spending has gone way down, his fixed costs haven't changed, and his spending patterns have altered. In the meantime, he said he’s switched his focus to paying down his mortgage, which is a long term goal.
The question is: will he go back to his ways when freed up to do so? When I asked him this question, he responded by simply laughing and saying: "Well, you know me.”
I suspect, like many, the lifestyle he had prior to the pandemic will be very different going forward.