From a global pandemic to inflation across gas, housing, groceries, and more, the past couple of years have not been financially easy for many. Most people have been affected by these economic changes, and it can take a toll on a person’s mental well-being. In fact, according to a 2022 survey, 42% of adults said that money concerns have a negative impact on their mental health.
“Like any source of overwhelming stress, financial problems can take a huge toll on your mental and physical health, your relationships, and your overall quality of life… It can leave you feeling angry, ashamed, or fearful, fuel tension and arguments with those closest to you, exacerbate pain and mood swings, and even increase your risk of depression and anxiety (helpguide.org).”
At Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries, we work with individuals to help them better understand themselves so they can move forward in faith and overcome life’s challenges. If you are dealing with financial stress, we want to share ways to help you manage these feelings.
Be Honest with Yourself
Many people experiencing financial difficulties aim to ease the stress by leaving bills unopened, avoiding phone calls from creditors, or ignoring credit card statements. But denying the reality of your situation will only make things worse in the long run. The first step is to be honest with yourself about your financial situation.
“Obviously, some money difficulties are easier to solve than others, but by taking inventory of your finances you’ll have a much clearer idea of where you stand. And as daunting or painful as the process may seem, tracking your finances in detail can also help you start to regain a much-needed sense of control over your situation (helpguide.org).”
Make a Plan & Create a Budget
Regardless of the cause of your financial instability, once you’ve assessed your situation, you have three choices - increase your income, lower your spending, or both. It’s important to be realistic about your options. For example, food, clothing, shelter, transportation - we know there is only so much you can cut from your expenses before you’re only left with basic needs. And even then, many experience financial stress because they aren’t able to cover their basic expenses.
Brainstorm ideas that are appropriate to your situation. Some examples could include:
Requesting a lower interest rate with your credit cards companies
Restructuring a debt
Eliminate a car payment
Downsizing your living space
Exploring new employment opportunities, i.e., part-time work, etc.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:19
Practice Stress Management
Financial stress, like any other life stressor, can impact your mental and physical health. Without a proper outlet to manage these feelings, our overall well-being starts to decline. Find ways to manage feelings of stress.
Practice gratitude: While you shouldn’t ignore reality and pretend everything’s fine, you can focus on the positives in your life and give your mind a break from the constant worrying, help boost your mood, and ease your stress.
Get moving: Even 30 minutes a day can help ease stress, boost your mood, and improve your self-esteem. In addition, physical activity has been linked to improving sleep, which is also important for stress management.
Fortunately, some organizations can offer free counseling on managing financial problems; whether understanding your financial situation, creating and sticking to a budget, communicating with creditors, or claiming benefits or financial assistance.
At Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries, our Christian Counseling services offer a healthy outlet for individuals to talk through, release, and understand their feelings. While we cannot provide professional financial advice, we can help an individual understand and manage their feelings of stress. We invite you to contact us to learn more.