Written by Amanda Cassar
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Did you know that financial stress can cause adverse health conditions? We are certainly living in difficult times and being overwhelmed can cause stress and anxiety. But there is help to be had.
Living under the cloud of debt and money problems can leave some feeling down, hopeless and struggling. If you worry about money, believe me, you are not alone.
Some of the physical manifestations of stress can include insomnia or sleep difficulties; weight loss or gain with impact to appetite; depression and anxiety; difficulties with relationships and more.
Some withdraw socially or show physical symptoms such as headaches, tummy problems or even adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms such as turning to drugs and alcohol.
Although these symptoms could be due to a range of issues, it may be worth asking if financial stress is causing you physical distress. It is time to listen to your body.
We certainly do not want to be drawn into an unhealthy cycle of poor financial health meaning poor mental health. Not having a clear head can make it even hard to manage money or maintain or income due to being unwell.
So, if you have identified that things need to change for you, what can you do? And where can you turn?
What can I Do? (Listening To Your Body)
The first step is usually to reach out and talk to someone. It may feel better to hide our financial issues, but it is time to get over it. If domestic violence and coercive control issues are no longer taboo subjects, then neither is money.
So, reach out and have a chat with someone you trust. You may feel awkward about your debt levels, or lousy income or wretched housekeeping, but book in for the stress relief that comes from speaking openly about your problems. If there is no one that you personally admire who seems to have their life together financially, then speak with a professional. A financial counsellor may offer a free service if you are in desperate straits, or a financial adviser may be just what you need to get all your ducks in a row.
And do not neglect to let your family know where you are at. Confiding in your partner, parents, or siblings, where appropriate can be crucial to your success. If you have a loving family or great friends who celebrate your successes, enlist them as accountability buddies to cheer you along as you reach various goals.
Expressing our concerns can also make them concrete and put things into perspective. And remember, you do not need to ‘fix everything’ right now. Chances are you got into your current circumstances little by little, and you can get out of them the same way.
When people are not as emotionally invested in the situation as you are, they are likely to see options and alternatives more clearly than you.
How Do I Start? (Listening To Your Body)
But, if you are still feeling a bit precious about it all, and are not ready to unburden yourself just yet, here’s some ideas to be able to tackle things yourself first.
- List all sources of income;
- List all debts;
- Review your accounts and work out your spending.
If you don’t know where to start, the Moneysmart budget is a great place to begin.
Once you’ve got everything in black and white in front of you, you can look to start making some small changes.
- Is there a streaming service or subscription you do not use that you can cancel?
- Can you identify any impulse purchases that you did not really need?
- Can you cut back on the takeout or dining out or coffees? Even the cigarettes or alcohol?
- Can you go longer between grooming services?
- Can you swap a regular costly entertainment event for a movie night at home or games night in with friends?
Be Kind to Yourself (Listening To Your Body)
Sometimes, it is the small incremental changes over time that can add up to some big savings. And each time you choose to ‘save’ by not buying that $20 pizza, put it straight towards the credit card debt you want to smash first.
So, if your body is telling you that you need to get things together financially, take the time out to listen. Find some time to relax, listen to a financial podcast, read a book on finance, or brush up on your own financial literacy. But go easy on yourself. It is not about punishment. Focus on what you can control as you turn things around and move forward, financially, emotionally, and physically.