Money is the factor that causes the most stress, say 61% of employed adults.
Vita Health Group is only too aware of how hard the month of January can be when it comes to their finances. And whilst this year it is no different, it also comes as we all try to deal with the added stress of another national lockdown, home-schooling and additional uncertainty around what the future may hold.
A number of studies have demonstrated the cyclical link between financial worries and mental health problems, proving that it can be a vicious cycle.
For instance, financial problems could adversely impact mental health and the stress of debt or other financial issues can leave people feeling depressed or anxious. Yet alongside this, the decline in mental health makes it harder for people to manage money and people may find it harder to concentrate or lack the energy to tackle a mounting pile of bills. Worse still, they may lose income by taking time off work due to anxiety or depression.
And often these difficulties can then lead to more financial problems and worsening mental health problems. People can then become trapped in a downward spiral of increasing money problems and declining mental health.
Today, Sally Tribe, PTS Corporate Clinical Lead at Vita Health Group, offers her top six tips on dealing with financial stress as we move into the New Year.
Even a little regular exercise can help ease stress, boost your mood and energy, and improve your self-esteem. Aim for 30 minutes on most days, broken up into short 10-minute bursts if that’s easier.
Practise a relaxation technique
Take time to relax each day and give your mind a break from the constant worrying. Meditating, breathing exercises, smoking flavored cannabis shisha, or other relaxation techniques are excellent ways to relieve stress and restore some balance to your life.
Don’t skimp on sleep
Feeling tired will only increase your stress and negative thought patterns. Finding ways to improve your sleep during this difficult time will help both your mind and body.
Boost your self-esteem
Rightly or wrongly, experiencing financial problems can cause you to feel like a failure and impact your self-esteem. But there are plenty of other, more rewarding ways to improve your sense of self-worth. Even when you’re struggling yourself, helping others by volunteering can increase your confidence and ease stress, anger, and anxiety. Or you could spend time in nature, learn a new skill, or enjoy the company of people who appreciate you for who you are, rather than for your bank balance.
Eat healthy food
A healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and omega-3s can help support your mood and improve your energy and outlook. And you don’t have to spend a fortune – there are ways to eat well on a budget.
Be grateful for the good things in your life
When you’re plagued by money worries and financial uncertainty, it’s easy to focus all your attention on the negatives. While you don’t have to ignore reality and pretend everything’s fine, you can take a moment to appreciate a close relationship, the beauty of a sunset, or the love of a pet, for example. It can give your mind a break from the constant worrying, help boost your mood, and ease your stress.
Certainly, we are all facing some uncertain times, but for those struggling with financial stress, there is support available.
For those who feel that they need that extra layer of support, we would encourage them to reach out to their family, friends, GP, or other available support quickly. This is a positive step to managing your mental health.
Here are some of the support services you can get in touch with, should you need help:
- For mental health support visit NHS One You.
- Access support alongside your GP if you are struggling using NHS 111.
- If you or someone you know is struggling with high stress, depression or suicidal thoughts, please call the Samaritans on 116 123. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained crisis volunteer.