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Money and mental health are often connected. Poor mental health can make managing money harder and worrying about money can make your mental health worse.
Identify your stress points. You can only eliminate or target a problem you know about, therefore the more you understand yourself and your triggers the better. Your anxiety may be caused by upcoming bills or debts. Examine your spending patterns to see why you overspend. Write down your biggest financial stress sources so you know what you’re targeting. (Try to keep the list short so you don’t feel overwhelmed.)
Having the right mindset is key to not only living with your financial realities but dealing with the problems. Instead of focusing on how many bills you have to pay, try to imagine the load decreasing as you pay them off. Give yourself a small goal, like saving £10 per week that will go towards reducing your stress. Having the sense that you are doing something to make yourself feel better by itself should have a positive affect on your mood. Treat your financial changes as a diet or a new workout routine, you might feel the burn but in the long run it will benefit you.
It’s also important to stay active. Keep your CV up to date and invest in self-development. It is also beneficial to do some exercise. We understand that in the face of financial issues this might seem redundant, but a healthy lifestyle really improves your well-being and mental clarity.
Remain realistic and set yourself achievable goals. Are your problems really that bad, or do they just mean less clothes shopping? Do you really need a new phone this month or can you wait a bit longer and save up? If you are experiencing serious money difficulties look for help. We understand that it might be a topic you would prefer not to share with your family or friends but their support, be it financial or emotional will benefit you. If you are an emotional spender you could ask your friend to keep your card for some time while you regain control. You can talk to friends and family about your triggers and warning signs so they can help you.
If you are unable to talk about your difficulties with your close ones you can seek advice online or over the phone. Services such as Money Advice and Turn 2 Us are great sources if you need financial guidance.
If you need help dealing with debt we would recommend contacting one of these charities:
The worst thing you can do is try to ignore your problems. It’s best to face your fears head on before they get any worse. For example, if it looks like you’re going into debt, get advice on how to prioritise your repayments. If you remain calm and ready to change your situation it will most likely turn out less bad to what you initially imagined.
It’s also beneficial to stay organised, not to miss any payments and make a good budget plan. Choose a regular time to look at your money and bills each week so that things don’t pile up. You will find putting all important records and documents (payslips, bills and receipts) in one place, very helpful.
We would also recommend not masking your problems by turning to popular coping mechanisms like alcohol. Not only will it further damage your financial situation it will also make it harder to solve your problems.
If you put every bit of money to good use you will receive the maximum benefits your pay can give you. The key is to spend wisely and control any emotional spending. However, it’s also important to forgive yourself if you slip up. If you find it hard to control yourself in the face of temptations, try to avoid these triggers. You can keep a diary of your spending and revise it frequently to see where you can cut down and understand your shopping habits.
If your financial situation is causing you anxiety and depression over a long period of time see your GP. They may refer you to a psychologist near you who can help you with your situation.
Seek help immediately if you feel like you can’t cope and are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Either see your GP or contact a helpline such as Samaritans (call free on 116 123) for confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.
Money problems and financial difficulties affect more than 68% of British adults. It is very common to experience anxiety or distress with regards to your budget and one of the best ways to cope is by understanding your spending, talking about your issues and being open to change. Every hard task becomes easier with the support of friends and family, so share your goals, be kind to yourself and seek further help if you feel like you need it.