Managing your money and your mental health can feel like a juggling act. The state of both can influence your actions, physical health, and behaviour – and for many people, keeping these separate can be difficult.
General advice on debt and money is available online, but it’s important for individuals to know how to access the best resources for their situation. More often than not, this should be a learning process that involves proactive thinking, budgeting, and saving.
With so much financial pressure on families and young professionals in the UK, turning things around might feel impossible. But improvements come from understanding, so it’s always worth learning just how money might be affecting your mental health first.
Why does money cause so much stress?
In the height of the cost-of-living crisis and even through better times, money can determine the opportunities available. Stressors might include not being able to afford certain necessities, difficulty managing money, and not being able to provide for a family.
From private tenants facing sky-high rent prices to those awaiting the cost-of-living support payment, living from one month to the much revolves around affordability. On lower earnings, it can feel almost impossible to have a life outside of work. But it works the other way around, too: earning money and not knowing how to manage it can also impact mental wellbeing.
How can I build a better relationship with money and mental health?
Firstly, don’t try to fix all of your money issues at once. Take things one step at a time and make sure you’re familiar with some of the best ways to defuse a stressful financial situation:
1. Cut the impulsivity
Spending your pay straight away might feel liberating, but when you’re not keeping track of your outgoings it’s easy to lose control. What might start as a quick shopping trip could stop you from being able to pay your bills for the rest of the month, so it’s absolutely vital to take things slowly.
Start by setting aside the money you know you’ll need for each scheduled direct debit. Keep track of expected payments and make sure that you’re only spending money on things you can afford. After a while, you’ll gradually get used to cutting down and know when you can safely spend without worrying.
2. Save where you can
Now more than ever, saving money is absolutely vital to make plans for the future. In an uncertain economy, building your personal savings will be an essential part of feeling secure about the coming months and years.
You should consider opening a savings account to earn tax-free interest and make the most of your money. Whether you commit to a twelve-month option or something with a little bit more flexibility, keeping money aside in a separate account is one of the most certain ways to cover your own back and reduce stress.
3. Try to face your debts
Dealing with your debt issues head-on is the only way to start feeling more motivated about your money. Even though putting it off might bring you short-term relief, the longer you’re in debt the worse your personal finance situation might become.
If your mental health makes it too difficult to approach your financial responsibilities, you should seek support as soon as possible. Try to remember that there’s no shame in asking for help – and the sooner you do, the sooner you can start to get back on track.
Keeping yourself afloat financially and maintaining good mental health can be a delicate balance. But with the right measures in place, both you and your support network can help to improve and rebuild your situation. Try to stay motivated – and never be afraid to ask for help when you need it.