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It’s Mental Health Awareness Week. How are you managing your financial stress?

It would be impossible to overstate the relationship between our mental and financial health.

Yet few of us will have escaped the scourge of money related stress.

Whether it’s worrying about paying the bills or living outside our means to impress others, there’s no denying the impact.

Here’s how it might be showing up in your body:

  1. Difficulty sleeping
  2. Depression
  3. Panic attacks
  4. Fatigue
  5. Loss of or increased appetite
  6. More chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure owing to increased stress

Can you relate?

We know there’s no magic bullet for this, but one of the things that might also be showing up for you is a lack of clarity around what to do next.

If you’ve been struggling, here are some tips that could help:

  • Take stock –   When did you last sit down, and go through your accounts with a fine tooth comb and make sure everything was clear? Do you understand the direct debits you have signed up to? Having  this clarity on your current position is an important part of your financial wellbeing.
  • Build your emergency fund – If you can afford to build one – please do! And set some clear parameters for when it’s ok to use it. Often this can tie us up in knots and make us feel that we’ve failed if need to draw down some funds. But that’s what it’s there for. Let’s do ourselves a favour by giving ourselves permission to dip into our rainy day fund when we need to.
  • Be flexible in the route but not the destination. Setbacks are a part of life. but by remaining focused on our goals instead of the chaos that may be unfolding around us, and being willing to adapt or tweak our targets, we can steer ourselves back on track. 
  • Prioritise what you can control. There’s not much we can do about interest rates or inflation. But we can control our response to them. Our mindset, our financial resilience, our financial IQ for starters. So focus on the things that you can improve and don’t get bogged down with things that are out of your hands.
  • Focus on the positives. We are often much harder on ourselves than we deserve. Instead think about what’s gone right. Did you manage to hit some savings goals? Are you investing regularly? Have you managed to cancel some unused subscriptions or shrink down your outgoings by even just 1%? Then that’s a win.
  • Don’t get distracted by others – Your financial journey is your own. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else no matter how picture perfect they appear. And don’t compound your stress levels by trying to keep up with the Jones’ – lifestyle creep is real and could end up costing you more than just your finances.
  • Ask for help. Whether it’s speaking to a financial adviser, debt counsellor or therapist, or even  picking up the phone to creditors, if your financial situation is impacting your mental health, ask for help. It could make all the difference to your wellbeing – financial and otherwise.

For additional support if you’re in the UK, useful resources include:

Money Helper:

Citizens Advice:

Step Change: