April is Stress Awareness Month, so our Money Advice Officer – Steven – is taking the opportunity to talk about how finances can be a huge source of stress – and what you can do to reduce finance-related stress in your life.
Stress Awareness Month has been held annually for the last 27 years. There are lots of resources, guides and solutions available to help you understand and tackle your stress, and know where to get help if you need it.
Financial stress is extremely widespread and can build up from issues such as not earning enough, being in debt, disagreeing about financial decisions and the cost of raising children. Everyone experiences stress differently, with a mixture of cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioural reactions.
The links between debt, stress and mental health are well documented – Martin Lewis has even put together a comprehensive guide about this.
So what can you do about it?
The best advice is to not suffer in silence – go and get some help. Steven’s recent blog with hints and tips for improving your finances is a good starting point. If you are in debt, there are lots of strategies you can use to turn things around, whether this is an affordable debt management plan or even something more drastic such as insolvency. Things are rarely as bad as they seem, and getting expert advice should take a big weight off your shoulders.
Taking time to look after yourself, prioritise your own health and do some stress-busting exercises should also help you to feel better. The Stress Management Society has a 10 Step Stress Solution with some great ideas.
Also, it’s a good idea to look out for your family, friends and neighbours. If you notice they are struggling with money or debts and if they are behaving differently than usual, ask them if they are OK. If they open up to you about their problems, you might be able to guide them to where they can find help.