Financial Stress And Your Mental Health

I recently lifted up the well stapled down carpet of my subconscious and swept out a small debt I had been avoiding. I knew it needed to be taken care of and until it was, I’d feel that niggle. The nights of grinding my teeth into oblivion because of the worry needed to stop and for sure, my sense of self, deserved better than something as trivial as money worries. One fine day, off I headed down to the credit union, cleared out a bunch of savings and paid the debt that had been bugging me. Such a feeling meant that I could function with ease and not have to wonder why I was getting ever so slightly irritated by those little silly things.

Our finances have a habit of being rather central to our lives. If something as unexpected as a surprise expense or bill pops up, it can cause unwanted stress and leave us feeling helpless. If we receive a random invite from a friend we haven’t seen in a while and we need to decline due to our bank balance then that can affect our self esteem and elicit a feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out). Meanwhile actually going along and spending the money we can’t afford, can stress us even more than staying in in the first place. Ideally, any worries in our day to day lives are probably not so well received so avoiding them at all costs is suggested.

Coming out of a recession in Ireland, we can be confident as a nation that things are getting better. We know for sure that there are more jobs around, banks are being less daft and we are generally being more careful with our cash. Perhaps it’s majorly due to my age (being in my early thirties) surrounded by people my age but this is how I perceive the case to be. Still though, finances will always play a major role in any part of adult-life.

Can we eliminate loans, budgeting or that feeling that we should be spending less?

Mostly no.

How then can we keep them under control, stay on track and maintain positive mental health when it comes to our cash?

There are a few ways that I’m personally trying at the moment. As for the rest, be sure to share your tips below.

* Be open and honest about how it’s going. I spent ages denying some of my spending until I sat down with a loved one for an objective view. After realising that a massive chunk of my wage was going to eating out and coffees on a particular month, I did the maths and figured out where it would be better served. This has incentivised me to be more mindful. An outside view over what we’re doing can never hurt. If it opens your eyes and saves you a few bob, well why not?

Disclaimer* Please don’t be surprised if you see me treat myself to a cappuccino a lot less often than before.

*Once you understand where the cash can be saved then it’s time to figure out some accounts. If you’re like me then seeing it piling up in your current account can lead you into temptation. Open a credit union account where you can’t access or a bank account that requires a request for notice should you wish to withdraw lots of saved cash.

*Stop using your card! Tapping away with contactless payments starts to add up quicker than you can imagine. Taking out cash and using that for day to day expenses has worked more effectively for me to stick to a budget. There are less little costs adding up.

*Checking in on internet banking, receipts and other available resources will mean you have a clear pulse on what’s happening. I’ve been guilty in the past of not checking my internet banking following a busy weekend for fear of seeing costs clocking up from those mad nights out.

*Give yourself a break if you go mad spending. I bought 7 dresses in one sale last week and justified it as I needed them for my new job. It was a totally valid reason plus it doesn’t happen super often. The main thing is to be wise with what you’re doing but give yourself a treat when you know you can afford it. Mind your mental health no matter what – nothing’s worth losing sleep over.

Now, take a deep breath and do the best with what you’ve got.