Dealing with financial stress during difficult times
For many of us, it has been a struggle to make ends meet. Some of us have faced layoffs, furloughs, or down-sizing. Others have dealt with reductions in pay, changing of work hours, or loss of retirement money.
Feeling stressed-out about money today is completely normal and understandable, especially if you are already stretched to meet the needs of your family. But it’s important that you do what you can to manage that stress, which could mean making changes in your life and asking for help. It’s also important to support others. We can make it through hard times by pulling together – using our strengths to do what we can for each other.
Healthy ways of dealing with stress
We can’t wish stress away. But there are many things we could do to keep it from ruining our happiness and our health. Try a few and see if they help.
- eating well
- listening to calming music
- taking a walk outside
- taking a yoga class
- using meditation or breathing techniques
Document feelings and solutions
Writing down what you are going through and what you’re feeling could help in several ways. First, it lets you get your emotions (anger, resentment, worry, sadness, confusion) out in a positive way. Second, it can help you make the turn from problem to solution. Letting yourself “think on paper” about money issues is a great way to brainstorm ideas for making more money, finding a job or cutting back on expenses. Chances are, you’ll feel better because by doing something you feel a little less helpless.
When to get help
If stress is seriously affecting your health or your ability to enjoy your life, or if you worry you’re choosing less healthy ways of coping, it might be time reach out to other people. A relative or trusted friend could help just by being a good listener. And sometimes they can offer ideas you might not have thought about yourself. If you feel your problem is more serious, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or a community help line. That’s what they’re there for.
Remember, the best way to take care of others is to take care of yourself, too. Here are a few free resources that could help:
- Manage Stress: The Basics
- Coping with Stress: Pandemics can be stressful
- Stress Affects Everyone: 5 things you should know about stress
Remember that stressful times will come to an end and better days will follow. The stress-beating skills you learn now might become new habits that will help improve those days, too.