Money stress – it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. Not only does it have a horrible impact on your day-to-day life, but it can also damage your long-term health, your relationships, your spirit, and your job. Worrying about money can make everything less enjoyable and difficult to focus on. If you feel stressed about money, look out for these signs that it’s getting the better of you and take some steps to help yourself.
If you can’t sleep, are sleeping less, or are having recurring nightmares due to worries about money, you’re experiencing a common phenomenon that’s a sure-fire sign something is wrong. The impact of tossing and turning at night is bad for you anyway, but when it’s combined with a cortisol spike related to stressing about unpaid bills, it can be significantly worse.
The DSM-5 outlines several symptoms of depression including loss of enjoyment of things you used to enjoy, as well as a recurring low mood and feelings of worthlessness. If these are accompanying your money stress, you can be sure it’s taking a toll on your psychological well-being.
Anxiety is often comorbid with depression. Money is a safety net, so without it you can feel constantly vulnerable, which can then make you anxious. Does thinking about money give you a fast heartbeat, make you sweat or even shake? If that’s the case, you likely have anxiety brought-on by financial insecurity. Depression and anxiety are rife in modern Britain, with the COVID-19 pandemic significantly increasing their impacts, according to the University of Nottingham on BMJ.
4. Social Withdrawal
If you don’t have the money to go to the pub and catch up with friends over some drinks, that’s fair enough, but if your worries and anxiety are causing you to lose the desire to see friends and have a social life – if it’s making you retreat into your shell – you are socially withdrawing, which will make things worse as you lose your feeling of support.
5. Dangerous Coping Mechanisms
If thinking about money makes you want to drink, is causing you to abuse drugs (including prescription drugs), is making you gamble, or even just eat too much, you are coping with your stress in an unhealthy way.
How to Break the Cycle
Although money problems can feel all-encompassing, you can break the cycle. One of the best ways to do this is to create a budget so you have everything down on paper and know how much you need to spend each month to live within your means. If you consider getting a quick loan to deal with a single financial problem, make sure you have done the maths beforehand and have worked out how you are going to pay for that loan in a budget.
One of the best ways to break the cycle is to be honest about your money issues. Tell people – especially your family and friends. The more people that know about your issues, the more support you’ll have. Don’t feel like you can’t turn to anybody, either. It’s not shameful or embarrassing to have been hit hard by financial issues. Since the credit crunch, millions of people are in the same position. Your friends will understand.
If you have a lot of debt, being honest with your creditors will also take a lot of stress off. If you approach them, tell them you’ve been struggling but have a budget and feel you will be able to make the payments, they will often give you more lenient terms. Remember that because they suffer costs if they have to send debt collectors around, they will almost always prefer to sort things out with you directly.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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