Financial Stress & How To Cope With It
In a 2020 International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy, 42% of people were reported facing troubles meeting their daily expenses; 40% were reported worrying over their financial situation; 37% reported that they were just “getting by”.
During a global pandemic, the economic world took a nosedive which resulted in many people losing their jobs and were faced with a major financial crisis. Finance is one of the most common sources of stress. According to a report by the American Psychological Association (APA), 72% of people feel stressed about their financial situation. This financial stress is linked to many mental and physical health issues.
“Money can impact a lot of how we see ourselves, how we see our family, how we treat our family members, how we treat other people. It can get us to a place where we’re low, sad, and depressed. It can get us to a place where we’re excited.” says Dr. George James, a marriage and family therapist.
What Is Financial Stress?
Financial stress is a condition where a person feels anxious and worried as a result of a financial or economic crisis. Financial stress is usually accompanied by a psychological stress response. Financial stress or money anxiety can harm a person’s mental and physical health.
Signs that you’re facing financial stress are:
- Arguing with others about money
- Trouble sleeping
- Constantly feeling angry and helpless
- Frequent mood swings
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Loss of appetite
These are all signs of stress whether it be financial or daily stress. But if these signs and symptoms continue for a long time, then a person is at serious risk of developing depression, anxiety, addiction, or thoughts of self-harm.
Financial stress has many causes. Some of them that are more prevalent are:
- Lack of a stable income
- A decrease in a stable income
- Mortgage or rent
- Education expenses
- Medical and health expenses
- Poor money management skills
Effects Of Financial Stress
Stress can take a heavy toll on your overall psychological health and well-being. Financial stress, in particular, can affect:
1. Access to proper healthcare
When people suffer from a financial crisis, they start to cut back on expenses that they shouldn’t. Receiving medical treatment is expensive and when people are under-budgeted, they deny themselves access to proper medical and healthcare treatment.
2. Poor mental & physical health
In many cases, a lack of financial stability can result in poor mental health as well as physical health. Some studies show that people who are in debt are more susceptible to conditions such as depression, anxiety, diabetes, heart diseases, and sleep problems. If left untreated, these conditions can turn life-threatening.
3. Developing an unhealthy lifestyle
When a person is in debt or facing a financial crisis, they are more likely to engage in risky and unhealthy behaviors like excessive drinking, eating, or other addictions to deal with the stress.
Coping With Financial Stress
There are ways that you can learn to help you cope with such a financial crisis and effectively learn money management skills. You can try:
1. Making One Financial Decision At A Time
Life can become stressful and overwhelming and it’s understandable as it is normal but during those hard times, our strength to make smart decisions can fly out the window. If faced with financial stress, avoid making back-to-back decisions at a time. Make one smart choice at a time to avoid financial stress.
2. Tracking Your Budget Regularly
Keeping a regular track of your budget can help you improve your financial health. I have been tracking my budget ever since I was in college and it has helped me keep my finances in check. Create a schedule, organize, and make smart decisions in spending your money. The more control you have over your budget, the less stressed you’ll feel.
3. Making A Plan
Making a plan for your budget can help you narrow down your stressors. This way you and your family can keep track of your expenses and reduce the miscellaneous ones. Making a plan and committing to it can seem difficult at first but in the long run, it can really help you manage your finances and reduce stress.
4. Avoid Miscellaneous Expenses
It is not practically possible to avoid dinner takeouts and grocery shopping but limiting to buying products you need instead of want can help you manage your financial stress. If the urge to buy something that is your want rises, take a deep breath, and ask yourself; is it really something that you require? Or is it something that you’ll have no use of in a few days, weeks, or months?
5. Ask For Financial Guidance
If you’re unable to manage your budget and finances, then you can ask for support from a professional financial advisor. Aksing for support in times of need can help you manage your stressors and avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
You Can Also…
I can understand that with the stress of the holidays, managing your finances can get difficult and can be overwhelming, especially now when our economy is not stable enough. Amid all this, don’t forget to practice methods such as deep breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, or your favorite stress management techniques.
Taking a break for yourself every now and then isn’t going to hurt. If you’re not well enough how will you manage your stress? If you feel that your financial stress is becoming too much for you to take care of, talk to your loved ones about your concerns.
Your loved ones can help you understand the cause of your stress and can support you through the hard times.
“Balancing your money is the key to having enough.” – Elizabeth Warren
Live well, stay safe!