Calming financial anxiety for your mental wellness
The UK is experiencing widespread levels of stress, anxiety and hopelessness in response to financial concerns. As a result, The Mental Health Foundation asks for government action on supporting people at higher risk and preventing mental health problems.
What is financial anxiety? Financial anxiety is a state of being reflecting a person’s ability to meet current and ongoing financial obligations, feel secure in their financial future, and make choices that allow enjoyment in life.
Looking at the months ahead, UK adults are most concerned about not being able to maintain their standard of living, heat their homes or pay general monthly household bills. In aid of Mental Health Awareness Week, TELUS Health hosted a webinar about calming financial anxiety for your mental wellness. The team explored practical tips and strategies to help you maintain mental wellbeing and financial stability during challenging times, as well as actionable steps for success in taking control of your finances.
Mitigating the impacts of financial anxiety
Ben Amponsah, psychotherapist and life-coach described the effects of financial stress and anxiety as seen by psychotherapists.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy found that 66% of therapists cite cost of living concerns as negatively impacting people’s mental health, and 61% say their clients are anxious about whether they can afford to pay their household bills.
The secondary effects of financial concerns are concerning, with 30% of adults in the UK reporting poorer sleep quality and 12% exercising less often. Alarmingly, 60% of therapists see clients cutting back on therapy sessions due to money worries, and almost half report clients cancelling or pausing sessions because they can no longer afford them.
Ben urges those struggling to consider his basic groundings that might help mitigate some impacts of financial anxiety.
Stay connected: connection is one of the best limiters of poor mental health so don’t be afraid to speak to friends, your partner, a GP or counsellor.
Avoid stigma: stigma is the creates silencer, and is particularly prevalent with money issues, so try not to succumb to isolation.
Practice the basics of resilience building: focus on your exercise, sleep, diet, breathing and challenging negative thinking.
Try new thinks like mindfulness: it’s easy to be close minded, but mindfulness isn’t a relaxation technique. It’s a way of being rather than doing. You can use apps like Headspace or Calm.
Seek help: arguably the most important, seek specialist help from a debt advisor, GP or counsellor. We work best when we work collaboratively and it’s okay not to be able to do everything yourself.
5 practical tips for financial wellbeing
Stacey Lowman, Head of Employee Wellbeing & Financial Coach at Claro Wellbeing shares her give practical tips for financial wellbeing. With 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, Stacey launched her own financial coaching business in 2018 with a focus on financial wellbeing and using our personal finances for the good of ourselves, others and the planet.
Stacey’s five tips are as follows:
Set a smart financial goal: think about what you’re worried about. Is it the present? The future? What’s important to you: freedom of choice or security? Then set a financial goal relevant to this concern.
Make conscious money comparisons: make it part of your spending routine to make more conscious comparisons.
Put friction in your system: it can be difficult to rely on will power so putting things into place that make it harder to do so can be beneficial. For example, find an accountability buddy, have a spending mantra, automate savings.
Give your finances a home: focus on your own plan and goals and find an organisational system or management solution that works for you. whether that’s an app, spreadsheet or notebook, choose an approach you enjpy.
Have effective money conversations: choose either a personal or professional person (partner, family member, employer, financial advisor, bank, bill provider) to go away and have a conversation with in the next two weeks. Be clear on the purpose of the conversation and remember it’s okay to be honest about your financial situation and stress.
Hopefully these toolkits provide some ease on your financial concerns, however, if your financial anxiety is interfering with your daily life, seeking help from an expert can provide relief.