We’re in the midst of an unprecedented crisis in the world and an unexpected interruption in our lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a time of uncertainty, anxiety, worry and stress as we navigate social distancing, working remotely, homeschooling and being forced to stay in our homes. And many people are facing the added stress of losing their jobs or being furloughed. If you are the sole provider, carry the family’s health insurance, or like so many Americans live paycheck to paycheck to keep a roof over your head and food on the table, this situation is especially distressing.

With that in mind, we wanted to share some some thoughts and guidance on things you can do right now to help yourself. And, just as important, things you can do to help others in a time when uniting as humans is essential to get us through this tumultuous, uncertain global crisis.

Helping Yourself…


If you have experienced a job loss, whether temporary or permanent, the first piece of advice is to take a moment to be angry, upset or sad. It is perfectly normal to have all of those feelings. However, after you have taken a moment to process, your first step should be to determine if you are eligible for unemployment.  Most out-of-work employees will be. Here is a link to the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s website. You can apply for unemployment benefits online and if you need help, you can also contact their call center at 800-244-5631 with any questions.

If you have a mortgage or lease, see if you can suspend your payments.  Foreclosures and evictions have been temporarily suspended and many lenders are allowing periods of forbearance.

If you have student loans, consider suspending your payments.  The federal government has put protections in place to allow you to do so for up to 60 days on federal loans and to halt the accrual of interest for the time being.  It may be worth a call to your lender to find out whether there are similar options for private student loans.

There are also a number of great organizations that may be able to assist if you are having trouble paying bills:

  • Together Rising is a non-profit started to help connect people in crisis with other people and  organizations to address their needs.
  • United Way also has a helpline which connects people in need of assistance with people and organizations in their communities that can help. Just dial 211 for the helpline or check out their website for more information.


The next step is to begin actively seeking employment. Use this forced downtime to update and really polish your resume and to freshen up your LinkedIn profile.  Think about ways you can highlight your skills and experience that might resonate with current economic conditions or might make you particularly useful in a remote workforce.

Don’t assume that there are no jobs out there to be had right now.  Fill out online applications and send your resume to job listings.  While it’s true that many companies have put hiring on freeze, there are some industries that are in more need of folks than ever as a result of the crisis.  So network with people and try to connect through social media. The job market is going to be saturated at this time, so it’s a good time to try to think outside the box about how to apply your skills in a job that you may not have considered before.

Assume that any interviews being conducted will be done by phone, Skype or Zoom.  If that makes you uncomfortable, make sure that you practice before your interview. Enlist your family in helping you prepare. Even though you may have to dig deep to be positive right now, do your best to present yourself in a manner that is upbeat and optimistic about new job opportunities and experiences.  Prospective employers are going to be looking for resilient professionals as they weight their options and fill positions.

If you are fortunate to still be employed and are working remotely, we understand that this can be a tough time for you too! Our firm is working remotely, sharing our limited space and limited bandwidth with our spouses, our kids, and our pets.  So we get it!  Some things that we have done to make things more efficient are: setting up a work space for ourselves that is out of the way, taking small breaks to connect with our families, waking up early to stick to a normal workday, creating a loose schedule or daily routine, and checking in with each other periodically to make sure everyone is doing okay. It can be hard to feel productive at a time like this, but now is really your time to shine as an employee!


Finally, be sure to take care of your own mental health and physical well-being.  You can’t be there for your family or for your career if you aren’t there for yourself.  So take a minute to take stock of how you’re doing.  Anxiety is a heavy burden and these are high-stakes anxiety-inducing times.  This is true for those of us who are feeling isolated as we shelter in place at home by ourselves as well as those of us who feel we can’t get a minute to ourselves as we shelter in place with our roommates, partners, and families.

So figure out what works for you to keep sane and build it into your daily routine.  Some ideas: take a walk to get some fresh air, meditate, schedule a nightly call with a close friend or family member after your work from home is done or your kids are in bed, take a long bath, stream a yoga class or fit in a simple at home exercise regimen.

And if none of that is enough (which it may not be for many of us right now), find a way to connect with others who can support you.  Contact your doctor if you think you may need a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist.  Alternatively, here are some resources that might be of use if you find yourself in need of someone to talk to:

Helping Others

In addition to taking care of ourselves, we also believe that service to others is essential. If you would like to help out your neighbors and the greater community, we have gathered together a list of some great organizations that can use your help right now:

American Red Cross: – Since blood drives have been cancelled, the American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage. Make an appointment here or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to find a local donation site.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response Fund: This center supports nonprofit organizations working in areas identified as having a high number of affected individuals and those working with the most vulnerable populations. They help health-care workers with purchase of masks, gowns, gloves and other personal protective equipment, support quarantined and vulnerable individuals and provide hygiene promotion campaigns to limit the spread of the virus. You can donate here.

Feeding Illinois Network: This food bank and others are looking for volunteers to donate money or time in facilities across the state.  If you want to help out, you can visit their site here.

The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation: The beloved Cubs’ player is delivering daily lunches to hospital workers.  To donate to this cause you can text Hope44 to 52000 or visit the foundation’s website here.

Hang in there. We can all do small things every day to help ourselves and others during this difficult time. We at Case + Sedey, LLC are committed to do our part to hopefully relieve some of the anxiety and stress you and yours are experiencing right now. Be safe!