The previous several years have not seen much relief from financial strains, exacerbated by a global pandemic, high inflation rates, and a looming recession. The current economic situation has negatively impacted most people, and it is having adverse effects on their mental health.
What is financial stress? It’s an emotional strain that’s primarily tied to money. Financial stress can affect anyone, but it’s particularly prevalent in homes with low earnings.
Not having enough money to cover your expenses, such as rent, bills, and groceries can cause financial stress. When financial stress interferes with your daily life, it can become serious. Looking for sources to boost your income, prioritizing essential bills, and directing your efforts to things within your control are ways of managing financial stress.
Financial stress can cause anxiety, insomnia, and other mental problems. Although external factors might cause financial strain, there are ways of mitigating it and enhancing your financial security. Below are some of the best ways of managing financial stress.
Look for Ways to Increase your Income
You can only lower a budget so far, so you’ll need to ensure it doesn’t become an additional source of worry for you. Your budget’s line items probably already feel the strain from the higher-than-normal cost of consumer products.
Instead, consider measures to improve your income. Ways of increasing your income include:
Negotiate a pay increase: Employers might be more inclined to raise wages due to the high inflation rate and the competitive job market.
Work a few additional hours: If you’re paid per hour or at least qualify for overtime compensation, consider speaking to your boss about putting in a few more hours each week.
Take on a side job: Those looking for a creative way to supplement their income while working full-time may want to consider doing a side job. This can involve performing tasks like food delivery, tutoring, or operating a blog.
Focus on Things You Can Control
Some things causing stress are beyond your control. If you focus on such things, you could get more stressed due to your frustration at being powerless to influence them. Instead, concentrate on the factors under your control. For instance, you can look for ways to reduce your grocery spending by a few dollars or set a strict food budget.
Taking these measures saves you some cash and makes you feel accomplished and in control of your finances. It could also help to lower stress.
Consult Your Lenders
Debt can weigh you down and cause untold stress. Speak to your lenders before allowing debt to consume you. Always remember that lenders are always willing to talk to you about your problems and find at least a temporary solution.
Save as Much as You Can
Follow a regular savings schedule if you don’t already. Saving gives you a sense of control which eases anxiety. Moreover, having an emergency fund set aside lowers your stress level. Consider investing it in a high-yield savings account if you intend to keep your cash accessible but not idle.
Monitor Your Success in Saving Money
You won’t know if you’re making progress if you don’t track it. Make an effort to ascertain your precise financial condition. It will help you understand if your steps are bearing fruit.
Knowing your progress is also beneficial because you improve your general well-being when you achieve your financial objectives, such as debt repayment.
You can better control your stress by living a healthy lifestyle. Strive to exercise for 30-45 minutes daily in whatever way seems comfortable for you. It’s beneficial to your physical and emotional health. A simple exercise like walking can be a great stress reliever.
Prioritize Essential Bills
Pay your most important bills first if you’re worried about your financial ability to clear them all. Prioritizing your bills has two benefits;
It directs you to consciously consider how you spend your money as a budgeting exercise. You might discover that you can lower or do away with some payments.
Deciding the bills to pay in advance puts you in a position to comfortably clear your bills without fumbling.
Impact of Financial Stress on Your Health
The following are ways in which financial stress affects your health.
Depression – Everyone with financial difficulties can experience depression, helplessness, and difficulty focusing or making decisions.
Insomnia – Stressing about overdue debts or insufficient income will keep you awake the whole night.
Anxiety – You feel exposed and uneasy when you don’t have money. The stress over overdue debts might result in anxiety symptoms, including a racing heart, sweating, trembling, or panic attacks.
Weight change – Financial stress can alter your appetite and make you overeat or eat less than usual.
Unhealthy coping mechanisms – These behaviors include excessive drinking, substance abuse, legal and illegal gambling, and overeating. Money problems can also trigger suicidal thoughts or self-harm.
Social exclusion – Financial stress curtails your social life and makes you withdraw from friends. It’s hard to hang out with friends when you don’t have cash.
Ailments – Diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart complications, and gastrointestinal issues are physical conditions resulting from financial stress. Money worries might also make you put off or miss going to the doctor in countries where healthcare is not free out of concern that you will incur additional costs.
Financial Stress Therapy
Usually, therapists discuss clients’ stress reactions while they are in therapy. Those specializing in treating financial stress have a thorough awareness of the effects of money issues on an individual and their family. They are familiar with various financial systems and procedures and often have the expertise to discuss these difficulties.
Therapists won’t offer you financial management advice, but they will acknowledge your emotions and motivate you to come to terms with your current financial circumstances.
Although we know that many things in life are more important than money, worry and stress can overwhelm you with financial difficulties. It can undermine your self-confidence and cause you to feel imperfect and despondent. Your body, mind, and social life may suffer greatly.
If you feel your financial condition is too much, discuss your worries with close family and friends you can trust.