Coping With the Stress of Money Problems
The novel coronavirus pandemic has altered every aspect of our lives, including our money problems.
The news references the state of the economy and the financial crisis every day. More people are filing for unemployment than ever before and many small business owners are struggling.
All of these hardships can lead to an increase in financial stress. Financial stress is when you feel anxiety or worry over financial problems in your life. It can impact many different aspects of your health, from the way you physically feel to the way you interact with loved ones.
Learn how to identify if you're experiencing financial stress over your money problems and how to cope.
Signs of Financial Stress
You may be financially stressed if you exhibit the following signs:
- Arguing with your spouse or family members more often. It doesn't matter if the conflicts are related to money or not.
- Hiding bills or receipts from your spouse or family members so you don't "get caught" spending money.
- Having difficulty falling and staying asleep at night.
- Eating to relieve stress or a dramatic change in your eating habits.
When Money Problems Affect Your Health
The link between psychological distress and physical health is still being studied, but there is undoubtedly a connection between the two. Stress can lead to changes in appetite, poor sleep patterns and increased risk for several chronic diseases.
This also extends to financial stress over money problems. One study even suggests that financial stress can lead to increased inflammation in the body.
During the coronavirus pandemic, maintaining your health should be your first priority. Keeping your stress levels low – including financial stress – can help you accomplish this.
How to Cope With Stress Over Financial Problems
Coping with financial stress isn't just about tackling your financial problems. Before you can address any issues, you must take several steps to ensure that you're ready to take on these challenges with a clear head.
Discover how to cope with money problems and financial stress with these tips.
Step 1: Reduce Physical Signs of Stress
Reducing the physical signs of stress lets you focus on resolving the money problems that contribute to financial stress. Here are some steps you can take:
- Eat healthy: Between the stress of living through a pandemic and the financial problems it has caused, it can be easy to turn to unhealthy foods for comfort. However, this can contribute to physical signs of stress. Make a commitment to stick to healthy eating habits.
- Stick to an exercise plan: Gyms may be closed, but there are many ways that you can blow off steam by exercising at home.
- Talk to your doctor: Let your doctor know if you are having physical signs of stress. They will be able to identify other ways that you can tackle these symptoms based on your specific medical situation and history.
Step 2: Address Your Feelings
Keeping your emotions in check is also essential before you address your money problems. Here are some of the steps you can take to manage the emotional strain that accompanies financial stress:
- Talk to someone: Staying connected is an important part of being mentally healthy. Talking to someone about your financial problems can be one of the most effective ways to relieve stress and start feeling better.
- Treat signs of addiction: Stressful times can bring back bad habits. If you struggle with addiction, take steps to address it.
- Take time to recharge: Even in the middle of a crisis, you need to put aside time to recharge and relax. Whether it's going outside or picking up a book you've been meaning to read, it's important take time to relax at least once each day.
Step 3: Look at Your Finances
Now that you have cleared your mind and are better able to focus, it's finally time to take an honest look at your actual financial problems.
Before you can start addressing these challenges, it's important to break them down into different categories. This will make your money problems seem less overwhelming and more approachable.
Finance professionals recommends breaking up your challenges into the following categories:
- Important and changeable: These challenges have a large impact on your financial stress levels and can be changed by taking action.
- Important and unchangeable: These challenges also have a large impact on your financial stress levels but can't be changed.
- Not Important and changeable: These changeable challenges are irritating and can increase your stress levels, they but don't truly contribute to your financial stress levels.
- Not Important and unchangeable: These are irritating challenges that can increase your stress levels and can't be changed, but they don't truly contribute to your financial stress levels.
Step 4: Seek Professional Support
Once you have acknowledged which challenges are unchangeable and have identified your most important challenges, you can seek professional support. Financial professionals will be able to connect you with methods and resources to effectively tackle your challenges.
Seeking out support to help address your money problems is important during the coronavirus pandemic. The federal and Maryland state governments have released new government assistance and relief programs, including stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, small business loans and more.
Financial and other professionals will be most up-to-date on these new programs related to the coronavirus pandemic, and can recommend government programs that are right for you.
Here are the resources you should seek out, depending on your specific financial challenges:
- Credit card debt or budget problems: Connect with a certified credit-counseling agency to get a free consultation. They will review your debt relief options and evaluate your budget.
- Mortgage challenges: Find a HUD-certified housing counselor that you can consult.
- Student loans: Visit StudentAid.gov to review your relief options or call your loan servicer directly to discuss your situation.
- Tax debt: Tax professionals or certified public accountants can help you set up a settlement plan with the IRS for relief options.
- Medical debt: Call your health care provider directly rather than the collector. They may be able to set up a payment plan for you.
Step 5: Stick to the Plan
After consulting with the appropriate professionals to develop a plan, now you just need to stay the course. Here are a few things to keep in mind during your financial recovery:
- Stick to the plan: You have taken the time to consult with professionals and find the solutions to your financial challenges. Now it's time to stick to the plan, no matter how difficult. You should begin to feel the financial stress lift.
- Remember that nothing lasts forever: Your credit can recover and will be able to get back to the financial state you want to be in. You have a path to move forward and that's the most important part!
- Accept change: Change can be uncomfortable, but it's often necessary for relieving financial stress. Try to see the changes you're making as new opportunities.
- Practice gratitude: Coping with money problems and financial stress can be overwhelming, but remember to take time to practice gratitude. Be thankful for each day. You are taking essential steps toward financial stability.