Money and mental wellbeing
There are many reasons why we may struggle with poor mental health throughout our lives. Things like loss, divorce, grief, physical health issues, traumatic experiences, financial concerns, loneliness, and relationship issues can cause us to feel stressed, sad, and isolated; and impact our day-to-day functioning. Sometimes there’s no clear reason why people sink into a period of depression or struggle with anxiety.
The most important thing to remember is that this is nothing to be ashamed of. Life can be beautiful, but it’s also hard, and sometimes the problems in our lives can become overwhelming. If you (or someone you love) are struggling with mental health issues, don’t hesitate to seek help. In fact, consider this a sign if you’ve been waiting for one. Talk to your doctor to find out how you can get the help you need.
When you’re struggling with mental wellbeing, it can impact so many areas of your life including the way you deal with money. You may feel that paying your bills is just too much of a chore—or forget to pay them altogether, you may find yourself spending more than you should on impulse items to make you feel better, you may avoid making important financial decisions because you just don’t have the mental energy, or you may find yourself totally overwhelmed by simple tasks like working on your family budget or going to the bank.
Obviously when it comes to financial matters, the sooner you can take care of them, the better. The Money Advice Service1 has the following suggestions that may be able to help you stay on top of things when you’re struggling:
- Ask for company. If opening bills or financial statements is too much for you to handle right now, ask a trusted friend or family member to do it for you so that you don’t have to see a growing stack of unopened mail staring you in the face every day. Sometimes just having someone else around can help regulate your mood and your reaction to difficult tasks. This trusted friend could also make sure that your financial situation doesn’t get too dire.
- Consider creditors your friend. Rather than avoiding them, talk to them and ask how they can help you right now before your situation becomes worse. You can also call service providers and credit card companies to let them know that you need more support, and to find out if you can negotiate payment terms. For more tips on coping with credit card debt, visit Nerd Wallet. Remember, there are usually several ways to reach out to service providers; you can call, email or sometimes even use web chat services if that’s easier for you right now.
- Get documentation. If it helps, talk to your doctor about getting written evidence of mental health issues that you can provide to creditors that require it.
- Talk to HR. If applicable, talk to your HR department to see if your company offers extra employee support to those dealing with mental health problems. This is particularly helpful if you need time off.
Remember, help is out there—and experienced professionals have seen it all. You may think that you’re a failure for not being able to keep up with daily tasks, but therapists understand that none of this your fault, and they can give you the tools you need to better cope with whatever it is you’re feeling and whatever you’ve experienced that’s causing your pain. They will not judge you.
Listen to your inner voice. You know when something just isn’t right, and ignoring your gut feeling and pretending you’re okay when you know you’ve reached a point where your stress levels and anxiety are impacting your finances, work, relationships, and your everyday life, is only harming you more. Be proactive about your mental health and do what you can to make sure that bright, beautiful mind is receiving the kind of care and attention it – and you – deserve.
For more information about the relationship between money worries and mental health, and suggestions on how to address them, visit Mind.
417410B CAN/US (11/19)