We are over a year into the pandemic and everyone is fatigued. Whether from physical illness, not being able to see family and friends, looking for work or even being at home more and all of these have impacted our mental health.
One of the biggest stressors that continues to impact our mental health is money. Much of our life depends on how we handle our finances. How we relate and handle our money can impact our mental health.
In this blog, I want to talk about money and mental health and how they are connected. I’ll focus on two main areas. First, how financial stress impacts mental health and second, positive ways to manage your finances/debt to boost your mental health.
It Can Sneak Up on You
With all the stress in our current lives, it’s easy to focus on one day at a time, even moment to moment just to get through the day. This may make it easier to focus for a moment as we are able to forget about everything that awaits us–this includes handling finances. Money and how we manage it can determine what we do and how we live our lives. Thus, in turn, a possible stressor. By neglecting it in hard times, it makes it harder for you to move forward and can have an impact on your mental health.
This is where financial stress sneaks up on you. The stress caused from money is very sly, it can hide from your view or be front and center. The first signs of stress may be lack of sleep or change in appetite. Maybe it’s more headaches or even more severe migraines. Financial stress can be vague in how it appears. You may no longer be able to focus or are overall mentally exhausted. All of these could be caused from other parts of our lives: work, family, and of course, the pandemic. Most people don’t connect that this stress is often linked to finances. When we don’t look at the root cause of your stress, we can also make ourselves more stressed. You may start to feel depressed, anxious even anger towards others. For some, stress can have a physical impact, high blood pressure or even a stroke.
Money stress is different for everyone. For some, it’s related to change in income while for others its debt payments that are no longer manageable. This includes mortgages, credit card balances, even student loans. When stress is linked to finances, it’s scary. It’s hard to talk about it with yourself and others. However, if not discussed, your stress can negatively impact your mental health and well-being. The impact can be severe and the cycle of how the stress impacts you both physically and mentally can continue until you find your finances are completely out of your control.
Managing Finances to Help Your Mental Health
When your mental health is impacted, managing your finances can be much harder. You may focus on other areas and try to forget your money troubles. This can cause overspending on things that aren’t necessities or paying bills late or not at all. These actions make it even more complicated to move forward on managing money.
A way to reduce money-related stress is taking the time to reach out to the creditor for assistance. It can be your mortgage lender, student loan provider and even credit card companies. By letting the creditor know your financial hardship they are more likely to help set up a temporary adjusted payment plan.
This can help decrease your money stress in a few ways. First, it can stop your bills from being unmanageable due to increased fees. Second, by being proactive in talking to creditors it gives you more options. And finally, by taking small steps to like, using your resources, it can help you feel more control of your money. Calling creditors for help can be overwhelming even intimating due to fear of judgment or what they may say. However, it provides more opportunities to start getting your finances back on track. This ultimately can make you feel better mentally.
Even as the pandemic continues, there is help to get you through it. Don’t forget to use community resources as well–i.e. your local United Way by dialing 2-1-1. If you find yourself overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or depressed there are many nonprofits and providers you can reach out to. For help organizing and managing your money, we at Apprisen, are here to help you with free financial analysis and a complimentary financial action via IRIS.