Money Worries:How to Stop Your Finances Harming Your Health
Whether you lose your job or your savings take a hit, money worries can really give your emotional wellbeing a knock. You can feel shock, anger, guilt and a sense of powerlessness at your situation, as well as the stress of trying to solve the problem. This can affect your mental health with anxiety and depression, so now it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself and your family.
Financial wellness can be affected by many life events, including unemployment, redundancy or retrenchment, redeployment, losing your job, losing a large investment, or losing your retirement income. At first, tackling the problem can be difficult as you’re still in a state of shock or disbelief at what has happened – you can’t fix something until you realise it exists! You can also be too anxious or worried about the future to form a solid plan, as well as a deep sense of loss for the future plans you had already made, which may not now be possible. Plus, the anger you feel at your situation or members of your family, and the embarrassment you feel at getting yourself into this mess, can cause you to become isolated from others.
When you put these emotions together, it doesn’t make a good recipe for getting back on your feet. Most people find that these feelings fade a little with time, and so they are able to move forward. However, if your distress and anxiety lasts for longer than a few weeks, you may be at risk of mental health problems, such as depression. Ask yourself the following questions, and if you answer yes to any of them, you may need to seek a doctor or other health professional:
1. Do you find it hard to do your normal everyday activities, such as going for a walk, preparing meals or talking to your friends and family?
2. Are you using alcohol or drugs to help you cope or feel better?
3. Is it difficult for you to relax and sleep?
4. Have you been acting more angry, irritable or intolerant around other people than usual?
5. Have you been feeling overwhelmed, not able to cope and thinking about suicide?
Aside from seeking help from a professional, there are things you can do to stay on top of your emotions during this difficult financial time. Firstly, write down every worry you have. It’s not helpful to have all these anxious thoughts floating around in your head on a loop, but writing them down will help you to take some control of the situations. Once you’ve identified your concerns, list them in order of importance so you know which ones to tackle first. Next, arm yourself with information and advice, be it from organisations or the internet. It might help to talk to someone who understands financial issues such as budgeting, saving, investing and managing debts, as they can explain things clearly and help you to get your head around things.
Aside from this, you need support from your friends and family members. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this, and getting your loved ones involved will help as they can share the burden, and help you to remain positive. You should speak to your doctor about your lifestyle, as this can really affect your mood. Ask about stress-management techniques, maintaining a balanced diet and exercise programme, and ways to eliminate or avoid smoking, drugs and alcohol. Finally, you need to be patient and positive. It takes time to recover from a major loss like this, so think about times in the past where you’ve overcome obstacles, and apply this to your current situation.