Dealing with financial stress as we move into the New Year

Sally Tribe, PTS Corporate Clinical Lead at Vita Health Group, offers her top tips on dealing with financial stress as we move into the New Year.

A number of studies have demonstrated the cyclical link between financial worries and mental health problems. It really can be a vicious cycle.

  1. Financial problems could adversely impact mental health. The stress of debt or other financial issues can leave people feeling depressed or anxious.
  2. The decline in mental health makes it harder for people to manage money. People may find it harder to concentrate or lack the energy to tackle a mounting pile of bills. Or they may lose income by taking time off work due to anxiety or depression.
  3. These difficulties then lead to more financial problems and worsening mental health problems. People could become trapped in a downward spiral of increasing money problems and declining mental health.

Those people who are experiencing stress due to money worries should consider the following tips:

Get moving. 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.

Practice a relaxation technique. Take time to relax each day and give your mind a break from the constant worrying. Meditating, breathing exercises, 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.”