During February, inflation costs rose to 10.4%, despite economists’ forecasting a drop below that.
The announcement will be a fresh blow to families across the UK who have already been feeling the pinch over the past year due to rising energy bills and food prices.
A national survey recently revealed that nearly a quarter (23%) of households are already finding it hard to pay their bills, and experts have expressed their concerns over the impact this will have on the state of the UK’s mental health.
Below, Martin Preston, founder and chief executive at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, has weighed in on the latest rise in inflation costs and explained what it could mean for the health of people across the UK: “Over the past year, the UK has understandably been feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis, as prices for basic household items and energy bills have continued to rise.”
“But when we become worried about our financial future, it can have several severe health implications.”
“Firstly, excessively worrying about finances can lead to what is known as worry burnout, a state of emotional exhaustion where a person feels worn out and overwhelmed by worry.”
“Worry on this level can cause severe mental distress and exasperate feelings of depression and anxiety that a person may already be feeling due to the cost of living crisis.”
“Secondly, when mental health problems get out of hand, to the point where we cannot cope, it can lead some people to turn to substance misuse to alleviate some of the symptoms they are experiencing.”
“Some people may find that substances like alcohol will help them forget their financial problems, but addiction always comes at a cost.”
“For example, when money is tight, a person dependent on a substance will always find a way to fund their habit even if it makes their financial situation worse than it already was.”
“Additionally, addiction can also cost you your relationships with your loved ones. People struggling with substance abuse often lie or steal to keep their habits going. Sometimes, as a result, family members will choose to cut ties to protect their mental health in such a difficult time.”
Tips for coping with financial Strain
As inflation continues to rise, financial concerns and worries will be common. However, that doesn’t mean it must get out of hand.
With this in mind, the team of experts Delamere have provided some useful tips to look after your mental health during the cost of living crisis.
Relax with mindful meditation
For many of us, relaxation means putting our feet up and enjoying some television at the end of a stressful day. But according to research, despite feeling calm at the moment, this doesn’t relax or rejuvenate you, as it worsens your feeling of stress and leads to feelings of guilt.
Techniques used to relax the mind and body are the best coping strategy for stress, such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing and visualisation.
When dealing with stress, you need to activate your body’s natural relaxation response, which helps to slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure and balance your mind and body.
Distract your negative thoughts with physical activity
Physical activity can help reduce your stress levels and can greatly influence your physical and mental well-being. Exercising regularly, even if that’s just 10 minutes a day, can help individuals suffering from stress cope with their symptoms.
When exercising, breathing deeper triggers the body’s relaxation response. But certain exercises can be more helpful than others when relieving stress.
Just like any other cardiovascular activity, walking outside for 20-30 minutes several times per week can improve sleep, increase energy and increase stress-busting endorphins.
According to research, writing can help boost positive emotions and reduce stress and anxiety. Spending 20 minutes daily writing about positive experiences can improve physical and psychological health.
The aim is to find the positive during stressful periods to reduce tension and built-up anger. Start by thinking of an experience that makes you feel unhappy or uncomfortable, and begin writing about the positives you can take from the experience.
Social support for stress relief
Reaching out to family and friends for help and support is crucial in coping with stress. Socialisation increases a hormone within our bodies that can decrease anxiety levels and make us feel more confident in dealing with stress.
Limited social support has been linked to increased levels of depression and loneliness. It has also been proven to alter brain function and increase the risk of alcohol use, drug abuse, depression and suicidal thoughts. Social interactions with family and friends are crucial in how you function daily, and spend time each day talking and interacting to relieve stress.
Improving your nutrition can help to improve your well-being
Another approach reportedly effective in helping individuals cope with the symptoms of stress is adopting a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and diet. Certain foods are proven to help combat stress levels and improve emotional response.
It’s tempting to reach for a heavily stacked burger or grease-covered fries, but instead, opt for green leafy vegetables, which produce dopamine. Dopamine is a feel-good brain chemical that keeps you calm.