Financial concerns are one of the leading causes of stress

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Feeling low or anxious is a normal response when you’ve lost your job, been made redundant, or you’re struggling with debt. Whatever your circumstances, there are ways to get through these tough economic times, ease stress and anxiety and regain control of your finances.
Financial problems can have a huge impact on not just your mental and physical health, but also on those around you. It can also adversely impact your sleep, self-esteem and energy levels, leaving you feeling angry, ashamed, or fearful. Very often it can fuel tension and arguments with those closest to you as you experience mood swings. It can even increase your risk of depression and anxiety, with some people resorting to alcohol, drugs or gambling to escape the day-to-day worries. In the worst circumstances, financial stress can even prompt suicidal thoughts or actions.

Gain control

As a starting point, it is advisable to talk to someone – it can be someone close to you, a friend, relative or a professional who can advise you on how best to resolve the situation. Not only is talking face-to-face with someone a proven means of relieving the stress and anxiety, it can also help put things in perspective.

There are a number of free counselling services available to support you in dealing with financial problems, whether it’s managing debt, creating and sticking to a budget, finding work, communicating with creditors, or claiming benefits or financial assistance.

Taking a closer look at your finances

The first step to devising a plan to solve your money problems is to detail your income, debt and spending, over the course of at least one month. If you are struggling to make ends meet it is always good to devise a plan to solve your money worries. By detailing your monthly income versus your debt, you may start to find ways to save some money and set some goals.

Setting a goal can motivate you to make sacrifices in some areas and by keeping a record of your expenses you will be able to monitor your progress.

Making a plan

Making a plan is a great way to reduce the anxiety and stress. There are a wide range of possible solutions. The plan to address your specific problem could be to live within a tighter budget, lower the interest rate on your credit card debt, curb your online spending, seek additional benefits, declare bankruptcy, or to find alternative employment.

Whatever your plan to reduce your financial stress, setting and following a monthly budget will help keep you on the right path and regain your sense of control.

Managing your overall stress
Resolving financial problems doesn’t happen overnight. It may take some time, so it’s important to take additional steps to help ease your stress levels and find the best way forward to deal with the challenges in the long-term.

It’s also important that you look after yourself, by keeping active, practicing relaxation techniques, getting a good night’s sleep, eating and drinking healthily, and making time for yourself to appreciate the good things, people and places you have around you.

Clare Puplett