Financial and Mental Health Wellness Go Hand in Hand
While self-care has become a marketable catchphrase and the wellness industry continues to grow, one area of well-being is often left out of the conversation: financial health. If we don’t start understanding the depth of that impact—and focusing on solutions to help—our collective mental health will suffer in addition to our budgets. One study found that individuals with depression and anxiety were three times more likely to be in debt.
Understanding Financial Stress
Financial stress is emotional tension that is specifically related to money. Anyone can experience financial stress, but financial stress may occur more often in households with low incomes.
Stress can result from not making enough money to meet your needs, such as paying rent, paying the bills, and buying groceries. People with less income might experience additional stress due to their jobs. Their jobs might lack flexibility when it comes to taking time off. They might work in unsafe environments, but they are afraid to leave because they won’t be able to support themselves financially while they look for another job.
Most people stress about money from time to time. But financial stress can become problematic if it disrupts your everyday life. For instance, you might find you can’t focus on or enjoy other parts of your life because your money-related stress is causing you to worry so much.
Impact on Your Health
Although any stress can take a toll on your health, stress related to financial issues can be incredibly toxic. Financial stress can lead to the following:
Delayed health care: With less money in the budget, people who are already under financial stress tend to cut corners where they shouldn’t, like health care.
Poor mental health: In many instances, the link between mental and financial health is cyclical—poor financial health can lead to poor mental health, which leads to increasingly poor financial health, etc.
Poor physical health: Ongoing stress about money has been linked to headaches, stomachaches, migraines, heart disease, diabetes, sleep problems, and more.
Tips for Coping
Learning to cope with financial stress and effectively manage your financial situation can help you feel more in control of your life, reduce stress, and build a more secure future.
Here are some tips to get started:
- Declutter your budget. Since life is rarely constant, regular budget checkups are essential to improving your financial health. Take control of your finances by setting aside time to schedule, organize, and declutter the money coming in and out of your bank account. The more empowered you are, the less stress you will feel.
- Understand the debt cycle. Understanding debt is the first step to getting yourself out of it. One study found that you may be able to pay off your debt more quickly by paying off one account at a time and starting with your lowest debts first. Do your research and pay attention to interest rates. First, pay off the debt with the most considerable interest rate to avoid higher costs over time.
- Don’t forget general stress management. As you improve your financial situation, you can reduce stress by practicing stress-reducing techniques and making other changes to create a low-stress lifestyle. Eating a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep every night, and doing some form of physical exercise are linked with reducing stress levels. You can also try mindfulness techniques like deep breathing and yoga to ease anxiety.
It might be impossible to fix your financial problems overnight, but you can start planning for success immediately. Make a list of the financial struggles that most concern you. You might seek professional assistance to help you with your finances. For instance, you can research student loan forgiveness programs and income-based repayment programs that may create more manageable payments for your debt. Take baby steps to tackle each problem, so you don’t overwhelm yourself.
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