Monitor, manage, and maintain for a better future
Everyone has some level of stress that they feel negatively affects their life. We feel stress from our jobs, romantic relationships, friends, social groups, and even from our own families. It varies in severity for each of us, but we all know that feeling of pressure that seems to build slowly over time or just crashes down on us, without any warning.
When that stress is financial, it can creep into all other areas of our life and create even larger problems by negatively affecting our physical and mental health.
So many of us are financially stressed from living paycheck to paycheck, having little or no retirement savings, being burdened by debt, and being increasingly asked to pay higher and higher prices for legitimate needs including food, housing, childcare, and healthcare. When trying to tackle all of these financial stressors at once, what can we do to protect our health?
Chronic financial stress affects 26% of Americans most or all the time, so please understand that you are not alone, especially if this type of stress is new to you. Recognize signs like lack of sleep, irritability, (misplaced) anger and lack of concentration.
Other troublesome signs can be poor coping mechanisms such as excessive drinking, drug use, overeating, lack of proper nutrition, and lack of exercise. Monitor how you are really feeling about your financial issues and realize that the financial stress you are under is likely to become detrimental to your health, especially if it becomes chronic.
Proper management of something this burdensome is crucial, so do everything you can to counter the negative aspects of your personal financial stress on your heath.
Prioritize making time to see a doctor to manage your risks of heart disease, ulcers, migraines, sleep disturbances, diabetes, and other physical health issues.
Additionally, those of us with debt and debt-related stress are 3 times more likely to have mental health issues, especially depression, anxiety, and psychotic disorders. These mental health issues were once swept under the rug and hardly discussed, but they are now at the forefront of health-related conversations. This really shows that the number of people dealing with such issues is vast and that there are more and more people who are actively seeking help in the area of mental health.
Actively seeking help is a key to both your mental and physical well-being.
Though it will cost you a little time and may cost you some money, visiting a doctor to manage your health is an absolute must. Otherwise, poor health will start causing you further financial woes if any illness causes you to miss work or if you become unable to proactively deal with financial issues due to deteriorating mental health.
Once you have consulted a physician, addressed any immediate medical concerns, and mapped out a comprehensive plan toward good health, you have a great foundation to build on and maintain.
Getting healthy will, no doubt, positively affect your life and allow you to better and more productively deal with your financial stress. However, it will not make that stress disappear. There will likely still be day to day financial stress that has to be dealt with in order to avoid any setbacks for your health.
Do your best to maintain positive habits to cope with financial stress like getting plenty of rest, eating as healthy as possible and exercising regularly. Try low cost or free methods of reducing stress like engaging in more quality time with family and friends, finding hobbies you enjoy, or simply re-charging with quiet time alone.
Financial stress affects us all in some way, but we can take control of how we deal with it and do our very best to not let it damage our health and well-being.
This blog was inspired by Brett Whysel’s Forbes article which noted the links between financial, physical, and mental health: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brettwhysel/2018/06/27/3-vicious-cycles/#5372fbd8540d