You might live your everyday life with financial stress. Or it might be something you only experience once in a while. Either way, financial stress isn’t just an inconvenient burden; it can take a severe toll on your health if it’s not managed correctly.
Money matters, but so does your health, which means it’s essential to understand financial stress and how it affects your mental and physical health. In addition, knowing how to manage this type of stress better is critical to living a happy, healthy, and less stressful life.
What is Financial Stress?
Financial stress is relatively self-explanatory. It’s the stress you can experience or the emotional tension that transpires because of money-related matters. Those matters could be your finances, family, or business-related finances.
It’s more common for financial stress in households with lower incomes, whether trying to pay rent each month or putting food on the table for the family.
The Impact of Financial Stress on Health
So, how exactly is financial stress impacting your health?
If financial stress is causing problems in your everyday life or is something you think about constantly, then it’s a lot more likely to impact your health. Enjoying life to the fullest can become complicated, with financial stress lingering over every move you make.
The health impact could be either mental, physical, or both and can result in behavioral changes. Here are some of the ways that financial stress could be impacting your health.
Poor Mental Health
Your mental health can be significantly influenced by financial stress. Financial stress negatively impacts your mental health, leading to even more financial stress. The two have been linked and can become a vicious cycle if not dealt with properly. Anxiety and depression are two of the most prominent mental health problems arising from financial problems.
Some physical health problems that can arise from financial stress are migraines, headaches, heart disease, diabetes, stomach aches, and sleep problems. This type of stress can result in many different physical health problems and affect the immune system.
Financial stress could lead to flare-ups if you’re someone who experiences a chronic medical condition.
Financial stress could be the culprit when it comes to unhealthy behaviors. That could be anything from unhealthy relationships with food to alcohol problems or drug use.
These might not have been behaviors someone engaged in before dealing with financial stress and could be the trigger that leads to long-term problems.
Getting healthcare could be a lot more complicated if you have debt or less money. Or it could feel like something that isn’t a priority regarding spending.
Those who need healthcare then might go without, which only delays their need for help when it comes to medical issues. In addition, health conditions can worsen or lead to higher costs if they need to be dealt with in the future. This impacts health negatively and can lead to even more financial stress.
Tips for Managing Financial Stress
While you might not be able to change your financial situation instantly, there are things you can do immediately to manage your stress better and start to put yourself in a better place financially. Here are some of our best tips for dealing with financial stress and living a healthier life because of it!
Arrange an emergency fund
Having an emergency fund handy is a great way to relieve yourself from future financial stress. You can create a savings account that’s readily available for financial emergencies. That could be anything from a sudden leak in your home to a health problem that must be dealt with.
An emergency fund can be helpful when it comes to following your budget as well. You will have ease of mind knowing that you can use your everyday money as needed and won’t have to worry if the unexpected happens.
Make a budget
If you’re experiencing financial stress, then the first thing you should do is make a budget. Doing so can allow you to see where unnecessary spending may be taking place and how much you have to spend on the things you need. In addition, it’s the best way to gain control over the situation and not worry as much.
You’ll have more ease of knowing what you need to spend your money on and can make adjustments as needed. The more you stick to your budget, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
Pinpoint any issues
As you’re making your budget, you’re likely to face the issues causing you financial stress. This is where it will be essential to pinpoint them and then focus on what you can control.
Don’t you make enough money to support your current spending? It could be time to face that reality and make changes. Maybe you need to go back to school to get a higher-paying job. Or reduce spending in certain areas.
Seek outside help
If you make your budget and still have financial problems, it could be time to seek outside help. Whether it’s a class to learn more about managing your money and investing it or a financial planner who can help you create a long-term savings plan, there are plenty of options for getting help.
Don’t be shy when it comes to getting help, either! Professionals are there to help you each step of the way and share their expertise.
Track everything as you go
When it comes to lessening your stress on a day-to-day basis, it can be a good idea to track everything as you go. Take the proper steps each day to work towards your financial goals and find a way to track them accordingly. It’s better to keep an eye on things rather than checking in with yourself less often and not being able to adjust after the damage is done.
Practice stress management
There are lots you can do on paper when managing your financial stress. However, don’t forget about general stress management. Try to do things that help you relax. Whether reading before bed, taking a walk or practicing meditation, you should take at least a few minutes each day.
The benefits can be incredible!
Consider extra sources of income
While everyone’s situation is different, it could be a good idea to consider additional sources of income. Especially if more money is the central issue regarding your financial woes and decreasing spending isn’t a viable option.
Get professional advice
You might seek outside help to get assistance in controlling your finances. However, sometimes expert advice can go a long way when figuring things out for yourself.
Many different organizations can offer you free counseling regarding your financial issues. They are equipped to deal with people in similar situations to yours and can provide a judgment-free zone for getting things under control.
Make a plan and follow it
Do you have a clear plan in place? And if you do, are you following it closely?
It’s best first to identify your financial problem and then devise a solution for it either by speaking with a professional or seeking help from your family or friends. Once you’ve determined the best course of action, stick to your plan, whether that means getting rid of credit cards you tend to use a little too often or stepping out to look for a new job.
Be sure to monitor your progress as you go, and don’t let any obstacles get in your way.
Look at needs versus wants.
Is a new outfit every month something you need? Reducing wants and focusing on putting your finances towards needs could be just what you need to reduce your financial stress.
Even when it comes to needs, you might consider more inexpensive options. That way, you can get the things you need without over-exerting your bank account.
Be strategic when it comes to debt
If you’ve found yourself in debt, one of the best ways to get out of it is to understand it better. You might start by looking at your lowest debts and doing what you can to pay them off. Then, as your smaller debts are paid off, you can move to your more considerable debts and work towards paying them off one step at a time.
You might take another approach and start paying off the debt with a higher interest rate. But, again, a professional will be able to help you determine what the best course of action is.
We hope these tips are helpful as you navigate through your financial stress and are proactive in managing it better. Take things one step at a time and always put yourself first regarding your health.